All of the other Boxes deal with Light. The getting of it, the making of it the manipulation of it. Wrestling it into art or code, or just getting enough of it in to shed onto other things.
The Black Box is about the Dark, what to do with the Empty, how to admit that there is no such thing as Empty, to use, code, and manipulate the things we pretend are Empty to make art. Or light.
The Black Box will invite the light in, but only on it's terms. Light is just another thing in the fullness of Empty.
In the Black Box we are expected to build things out of the Dark.
Now we are building Universes. Out of art.
It's a big thing. As a friend of mine says it's almost unfair - I have been worrying at the problem for a good deal longer than my boxmates. In the room where I turn light into art, I have also been asked to make a world out of someone else's art. All my rooms ask me to make Universes. All my rooms lead back to art.
But the Black Box is different – even time travel changes there . It is dual place. I have been here before and yet somehow it's new. I thought it would fill up the Empty places, it would shine the dark in the places I worked to only see light, so I could get back to the whole.
Here's the trick about my Universe in the Black Box - I'm building it to put other people in it.
They each have Universes of their own:
- an ancient storyteller's circle,
- a religion where the all knowing priest reveals the power of relationships and venerates the matriarch with blown glass and colored light,
- the warmth of an eternal eve of Christmas, fellowship and eggnog,
- a Universe of kindergartners with sparkly stuffed snakes, hungry caterpillars and vicious jars of playdough.
In each of their Universes I am somewhat me, but mostly I become who they think I might be. It's my job to fit in their Universe, their job to create a Universe where I can see what they want me to be. We have to experience it for each other to make it real. It's their Universe but they made it for me. When I make my Universe, I will make it for them.
Their Universes are all based on art that made them happy or whole. Mine is based on art that made me break.
I do not know how that will work for them. I will build it anyway. In the Black Box I am a tiny lonely god.
In between Universes, we do two things - explore who we are and learn how to be everyone else. It's hard to see this happen, so we also learn how to watch and how to evaluate the becoming of others. How to help others see the choices they would not make themselves.
When becoming others - it is easy to see how you might find the things living in your own Empty. It is not so apparent that you find those things when watching the others Become.
I don't know what it's like to have always had a Black Box nearby, to have experienced the sliding between action/observation. absorbing/becoming, experiencing/remembering while doing all of the things one does to exist. But the gap in time fills the Black Box Dark. I watch my boxmates struggle because sometimes there are places and choices and things that fill the Empty and they can't see them. It stops them from Becoming.
When we Watchers see them, its our job to share them. In the sharing we give them our own things that live in the Empty and I wonder if we become just a little less material ourselves.
The Black Box has coughed up some reality; caught in someone else's words, in someone else's worlds.
Warriors know where each of their scars came from. In some cultures we circle and tell the stories of those scars, our lives written on our bodies. The stories tell the warriors of things to know - not just to avoid - but to know.
Some battles are long won, it's rude to mention scars now. Our culture is about the perfect presentation, healing, moving forward. So maybe we are surprised when we tell about a long healed wound to find the time travel.
Maybe we are surprised to find out we were Warriors.
The pain is fresh in the telling, you use the pain in the Becoming, it's new again, but you leave the Box and it's just a scar.
There are two things here - surprise at the real time pain and surprise that you can still go there. But to share it outside the Box, people will label it - say things like " you're not really over it" insist that you "admit it" or "deal with it". Everything outside the Box is Present Tense, but only in the Now.
Inside the Box everything is in the Present Tense too, but it’s in the Always.
We are the engines that build the Universes, but we can also get lost between them.
And I'm beginning to think that maybe outside the Black Box we're just somewhat ourselves, but mostly we're what we need to be to fit into someone else's Universe too. And that sometimes that pain we carry around in the Empty is when we realize that sometimes we don't make that Universe better, because we can't.
I was prepared for that in the doing, I wasn't prepared to find it in the watching.
I'll build it into my Universe.
When the Universe is built I’ll put my boxmates in it.
Then they will be in my Universe, I’ll be in the Empty before and after that Universe.
I wonder if it’s like this for all the things that build Universes.