There’s a planet in a solar system not far from home where the seas are pure mercury, the atmosphere is heavy and the winds are fierce. I go there to watch the waves and meditate. The sun is white and small, a billion miles away, so it’s not much brighter than Earth’s moon on full tilt.
When mercury waves break, each is perfect in its own way. The shoulder runs from left to right on most northern beaches, and the sun moves on the shoulder like a silver laser in the hand of a steady artist.
Sometimes, don’t tell my parents, when I’m done meditating and want adrenaline, I phase shift and take The Ganga surfing on the mercury waves of Ury. I drop the hull’s visibility, stand on her carpet like a surfer and hang ten if I’m feeling silly. The Ganga usually laughs, especially if I make a face.
The field of consciousness is like the electromagnetic field that brings visible light, radio waves and cell phones signals. All the fundamental fields bring their treasures in waves that crash upon the shores of consciousness.
Our brains are a hybrid device, you know, part generators (of current waves) and part receivers of signals from the field of consciousness (mind waves), the most fundamental of the fields we study in physics. My species was late to this truth and paid heavily for the ignorant reductionism we pursued in what we thought was a completely material universe.
Storm waves on Ury crash with a thunder that vibrates your stomach and soul. The sets of swells roll in patiently from the horizon, mount up gradually and then break in sudden fury, in some places crashing against blue diamond boulders that send myriads of tiny sparkling mercury spheres into the air as fireworks against the black Ury sky with its subtle haze of distant stars.
The crashed waves’ silver froth climbs the beach with unbridled enthusiasm, taking on rocky obstacles with an appetite for challenge. Finally, each advancing front bows its head without fear to the sloped diamond sand and recedes into silver oblivion to someday rise again.
The waves are not the sea. The sea is not the waves. They are close friends like the mind and the brain.
The wave’s goal is the far height of the beach. The wave’s joy is the marathon journey and final sprint toward the shore, not the achievement of its final arrival high on the sand.
This is the nature of all waves including the field waves that crash on the shores of human consciousness. It’s the process toward a high goal that brings enthusiasm, joy, and purpose. Our goals need only be rational enough to support our belief that we can achieve them. Achieving them is not the source of lasting satisfaction and peace. Pursuing them is.
Reaching a high goal can be a horrible downer if you haven’t enjoyed the journey there. Trust me.
Surf the field of purpose. Hang ten and laugh at nihilism with a close friend who gets it.
Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD
I rewrote this (the third draft) as the first chapter of a short story over here: https://medium.com/@morrillmoorehead/mercury-waves-of-ury-768b43c4bc63
The photo above is by Steve Wall. Please check out his brilliant work and writing at https://fstoppers.com/originals/how-shoot-surfing-night-110238#comment-thread.
And maybe share this story with a friend if you enjoyed it?
If you’re curious about my process, below is the intermediate (second) draft.
Mercury Waves (Second Draft)
There’s a planet called Ury in a solar system not far from my home where the seas are pure mercury, the atmosphere is heavy and the winds are fierce. I go there in The Ganga, my little ship, an AI nonlocal jumper who totally loves me.
We watch the waves and meditate.
The sun on Ury is white and small, far away and not much brighter than a full moon on Earth.
When mercury waves break, each is perfect in its own way. The shoulders run from left to right on most northern beaches, and the evening sun reflects from the advancing curl like a laser point in the hand of a seasoned artist. The steep wavefronts collapse so fast your eyes can barely follow the sparkle across the beach.
Don’t tell my mom about this, but sometimes when I’m done meditating and need an adrenaline rush, I phase-adjust The Ganga and she takes me out surfing…
The mercury waves of Ury.
Sounds poetic, but it’s nuts, I know. Still, it’s incredibly fun.
To do it right, I drop the hull’s visibility, stand on The Ganga’s carpet like a surfer, and let her take me out to the curl. If we’re feeling brave we’ll drop back into the white room where the sparks fly. Just to be silly, sometimes I’ll hang ten off the front edge of her carpet. She laughs when I wiggle my toes.
The new AI’s are conscious, you know.
The field of consciousness is like the electromagnetic field that brings us visible light, radio waves and those ancient cell phones signals (deadly, it turned out).
All the fundamental fields of physics bring us their treasures in waves that crash on the shores of consciousness. But the age-old mystery of collapsing quantum wave functions is still beyond comprehension unless maybe an AI somewhere secretly gets it.
Conscious brains are a hybrid device, part generators of squiggly electric current waves and part receivers of mind waves from the field of consciousness, the most fundamental of the quantum fields that fill the universe.
My species was late to this understanding and paid heavily for the ignorant reductionism they pursued in a universe they thought to be completely material.
Rookie mistake. We humans made them all.
Storm waves on Ury crash with a thunder that vibrates your stomach to the soul. On big days like today, sets of giant storm swells roll patiently in from the horizon, mount up gradually, then break with flashes of static discharge that look like lightning bolts shooting orange and blue from the hollow cylinder of the curl. The white room, I call it.
On some beaches, the waves crash against diamond boulders and send myriads of tiny sparkling spheres like fireworks into the black Ury sky, eclipsing the faint haze of distant stars.
Extremely distant stars. I live near the edge of the universe where there’s relatively little matter. The time dilation (relative to Earth) from this area’s low aggregate gravity gave ancient Earthlings the impression that dark energy filled space and pushed distant galaxies away at an ever-increasing rate.
Not so. There may be a sort of dark energy out there, but it’s cognitive, not physical.
The silver froth of a crashed wave climbs the beach with unbridled enthusiasm, taking on rocky obstacles with an appetite for challenge, rushing over and around everything in the way.
Finally, each advancing wavefront bows its head without fear to the steep slope of diamond beach sand and flows back down into the silver oblivion of the mercury sea to rise again in due time.
Waves are not the sea. The sea is not a wave. But the two are close friends like the mind and the brain.
Like The Ganga and me.
The wave’s goal is to reach a great and yet realistic height on the beach. The wave’s joy is the marathon journey with its final sprint to the shore, not its arrival on the high sands.
This is also the experience of mind-field waves that travel to us from outside the universe, roll through the zero-point ether of space, then crash on the shores of our brains bringing our conscious awareness to us from beyond space and time. Mind waves create us each moment.
It’s built into the nature of consciousness that progress toward a worthy goal brings joy, enthusiasm, and purpose.
Though we need to believe that our dreams are rational with hard work, achieving them doesn’t bring lasting satisfaction or peace.
The pursuit is peace. The long trip to something meaningful.
Reaching your dreams can be horrible if you haven’t enjoyed the journey. This is because dreams are, by definition, dead on arrival.
You keep your dreams alive by chasing them. This is the source of lasting joy.
Think about it if you like, but don’t get stuck in your head. I’m young, but I’ve wasted eons achieving other people’s dreams. Sounds impossible, but life, like time, is not merely relative, it’s privately cyclic.
The upside of which is, if you’ve spent your life accomplishing someone else’s dream and then find it dead, you feel relief. Starting over won’t mean leaving a path you loved.
Surf a purpose of your own, derived from the quantum field of believable goals that your heart sets before you. Hang five or ten and laugh at nihilism the way The Ganga laughs at my toes.
The waves are enormous tonight. The lightning from the collapsing hollows is purple-blue and stretches beyond ultraviolet. We’ve never surfed storm waves.
If we survive, don’t tell my mom. She worries about things that might have been. Rookie mistake.