The Door To Null.
Roderick, found the leaflet pushed through the wooden gap between his front door and the step, one day – although he had a perfectly usable letter box (of the European sort, in the door itself), as if the fly-poster had been unable to reach up to it, weighed down by some infinite and impossible gravity, or had slivered it in from flat-land or another two dimensional world.
The leaflet resembled the ads for pizza which were the most common of the things, other than bills, to come through the letter box rather that the gap, more than it resembled the things that most commonly came through the gap, which were dead leaves and pill bugs. But it had a certain resemblance to dead leaves, which was that its colours were autumnal and muted as if it had been lying somewhere slightly damp and dusty for a long time before being dragged around in a pile and pushed through the gap.
The leaflet showed a man – probably a man, for though his head was stylised and he was looking away from the viewer he seemed to be wearing a brownish business suit – gazing at something, and then a second picture in which the back of the man’s head (if it was a man’s head) became even more a smudged fingerprint blur of a thing, as if it was smeared out into the picture so that the man – if it was a man – wasn’t a man any longer with a head that was distinct from his suit or the air, or the thing whatever it was that he was so diligently looking at, but a suit that ended in a kind of fungal bloom of spreading until it was part this, whatever this was, and part that, whatever that was.
Roderick read, the title of the leaflet, as he turned on his coffee maker. It’s title was The Door To Null. It began:-
Anyone can construct this mechanism, in the privacy of their own home, or their own brain, if they have a home of their own or a brain of their own. It is a sequence of thoughts or a collection of wood and iron that forms a pattern which is like a sequence of thoughts insofar as such a pattern can be. It is the pattern which destroys patterns, so to look at it is to, cease. You may say - Well I have a television already. Thank you very much! - but even the most bland and asinine television schedule is tainted with the spore of life, with the lie of action, with the unceasing illusion of movement as accomplishment, whereas to cease is to know true nirvana, and to step for a moment off the great circle of the wheel, whose motion is the endless nausea and vertigo of life and its tawdry whirligig of illusionary progress. Or you may say – Well I can have a sleep, Mr Leafletter – and this is so, but even the best sleep is troubled by the simulacrum, of a simulacrum, which is the swirl of dreams which are fragments of fragments and make only the sense which might be expected of things which are, not and never can be real, and are only copies of things which are not and never can be real also. Sleep therefore does not heal – so far as anything can be healed – rather it strains the subject in a different way, but that strain is not in itself good even though it can sometimes act against the strains that the false motion of the wheel imparts in the daylight hours, assuming the subject is sleeping at night and moving and being moved by the wheel by day. Further you may say – Well I’m quite happy as I am – but this is a thing you can say, only as you might say – Well I’m a grey elephant – if you believe you are a grey elephant. For without the chance to cease for a time from the wheel, you can not know what it is to be happy nor unhappy, nor what it is to be a person and not a grey elephant, nor a grey elephant and not a person. You should ask yourself instead, what do I have to do that is better than taking the opportunity to cease? You deserve the chance to gaze upon the nothingness that is the unpattern and to see that everything only matters to other clumps of matter to whom it matters only while they are in the false orbit of the motion of the wheel. To cease is to cease to fear. To cease is to cease to decay. To cease is to be, that which is not being.
Roderick, rested his coffee cup on the leaflet while he watched the news on the television. The news was about some people somewhere else firing rockets at some other people, and the other people shelling the first people. The coffee cup made a halo of damp coffee around the head of the second man – the one whose head was part of everything else and like everything else, while also being quite unlike itself.
After he’d watched some more of the news, which was now about a famous comedian having committed suicide, and a famous singer being suspected of child abuse, and a famous duck that could roller-skate being given a chance to immortalise its webbed footprints outside a theatre: Roderick decided to build the Door to Null. He decided to build it in his garage. He opted to build the physical shape, rather than to think the thoughts that would make the shape in his mind, although the right inner fold of the leaflet set out the thoughts he would need to think, because although he wasn’t a very good builder, the physical shape seemed simple, and the thoughts seemed complicated – being almost a set of equations and almost a poem - so far as he could tell, having just glanced at them long enough to decide that the carpentry on the left inner fold of the leaflet looked less complicated.
His neighbours told the police they had heard hammering. But neither they nor the police ever discovered where Roderick’s head had gone. And since it is not possible to hammer off one’s own head, even if you have a hammer and a leaflet, and since the leaflet seemed to have disappeared when the police found the body, after the neighbours had called the police after the smell had got so strong from the garage, no one ever knew exactly what had occurred.
But those of us who push the leaflet under your doors, want to make it clear, that the two methods are of equal difficulty and effectiveness and if you are not certain you can master the right inner fold of the leaflet, it does not suffice to run at the left inner fold for there is no difference. As it happens Roderick was successful in ceasing, and to be applauded, but he might not have been, and that would have been dreadful.