homo sapiens beta 8: reciprocity


Proteus, the Jurassic prototype human, speaks with luminous shapes, not sounds. The shapes melded to form two plasma creatures, Evita and Adamstown, who ran away together. His companion Archie, an ancient bird who now has the power of speech, knows how Proteus can be reunited with his beloved Evita. Part one is here.

There’s a way for you to join Evita,
who’s shockingly electric,
and would stop your heart
at the slightest touch.

Lightbulb, lightbulb.
Proteus spoke according to his agreement with Archie,
who snaffled up each luminous entrée created by that word.
And what is that?
Lightbulb, lightbulb.

You must construct a radiant clone,
you must speak your lonely name,
and your transcendental echo
will walk hand in hand with Evita.

Proteus prevaricated.
That other me … will not be me,
or if it’s me, I won’t be.¹

The ancient bird shrugged.²
Let’s not get metaphysical.
Something we have never known
we cannot long for.
It’s the best that you can do.

Proteus agreed, and began the recitation
of his name.


Proteus II, the luminous plasmoid version,
shook his head, and replied with sounds.

Get real, dude, this is the new Jurassic.
I won’t be skipping across the ocean
chasing some enigmatic stranger.
The salt water might short-circuit
my internal fluxes.

The two versions of Proteus debated for a time,
contradictory light and sound,
until Archie interceded.


The words of Proteus II had produced
their own creations:
solid protozoan shapes that crawled
and wriggled on the ironsand.

So what?

The Proteus duo agreed on the insignificance
of the observation, equally incorrectly.

to continue

¹Further lightbulbs omitted for convenience.

²Although I haven’t seen an archaeopteryx shrug, in terms of relative probability, shrugging has to be more likely than speaking English.

the yellow explanation (part above). Image made by VEE, the visual evolution engine.

NB: For the yellow explanation to make sense, you need the full image and a synergistic glass of wine.


31 thoughts on “homo sapiens beta 8: reciprocity

  1. body language speaks more than words and intonation hides the deepest meaning we try to conceal, these creatures are highly developed though seem so rudimentary. i love these lines Steve,
    “Something we have never known
    we cannot long for.
    It’s the best that you can do.”

    The paradox of human nature explained succinctly. it is the what if’s we long for isn’t it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Gina. Yes, I agree completely, human sense contact has so many dimensions, and I think we can form opinions without even really knowing where they came from.

      And again yes, the what ifs are wonderful questions, whether we find answers or not, we continually seek what is beyond us, near and far and in between.

      Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a very good question, and it was something I thought about. There are grey areas of knowing, but here it’s a pretty extreme lack of knowledge. But admittedly, in general, it does seem that we have objects of desire that we know almost nothing about.

      I think it is our wonderful imaginations that do the work and create that desire, whatever it might be, for example, to grow wings and fly to the moon (I’m still optimistic). But I would say, in agreement with Archie, that it isn’t a longing for the thing itself. In fact, it is a desire for something else, something that we have imagined.

      Thank you, Sobhana. You might not actually need the artwork. I find that sometimes wine is an explanation all by itself. 😸

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Something we have never known we cannot long for is profoundly poetic. Taking in shapes conjures up imaginary visions. I love this Steve. You really make us think. Your work is enjoyable. It’s amazing how you sustain the story. I hope you will continue to do so. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My pleasure, Margaret. Having spiralled through most of the end of the year events, I’ll be rounding off the Proteus story. I knew I wouldn’t have much time, so I roughed it out in advance. The future is always uncertain, but a bit more poetry perhaps. 😸

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some deep biblical stuff hinted at here methinks. Adam & Eve? God speaking creation into being? Longing for that which we’ve known (but don’t remember)? Having trouble connecting the dots. Probably trying to be too rational. The graphic reminds me of two entities trying to connect, but there’s a gap between. And the contrast between dark and light is lovely. The light is very luminous, but the dark has a loveliness of its own. Neither would be as beautiful without the other.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Feel free to connect the dots however you will, BG, with a hint of the Garden, with the power words of deities. I think logic is fine in fantasy, it just doesn’t work too well in the real world.

      Yes, there might be a little growth and seeking going on in the Yellow Explanation, and I love your thoughts on the light and dark. I was pleased with it myself, without really knowing why, and you’ve expressed it clearly, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the image of Archie “snaffling up each luminous entrée”. 🙂
    Proteus isn’t a complete dummy after all… he knows perfectly well that clones of himself are not really him.
    Happy New Year, Steve. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Magarisa. Yes, Proteus is right, but it’s pretty easy with these luminous clones that are rather different. Lots of interesting philosophical questions if they’re identical though. I’m hoping my clone can write poetry.

      I’m joking of course, I’m the clone. He’s off enjoying wine and dinner somewhere, and he wishes you a Happy New Year as well.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Clones that are easy to distinguish from the original aren’t really clones, are they? 😉

        You can’t trick me that easily. If you WERE a clone, you wouldn’t know you were one, and would insist you were the original.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, I agree about clones, and when we first woke up after the procedure, we were identical except for being in slightly different places.

          We both insisted that we were the original, and agreed to disagree. After that, as everyone does, we changed. For example, he successfully repaired the washing machine, I set the microwave on fire.

          It may have been chance, but in the end he convinced me I was the inferior copy, and now he swans around the place giving instructions, while I do all the work.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jim. Leaving aside the Proteus duplex, I’ve always found duplicity to be a complicated topic, depending on the intentions of the creator and the perception of the recipient, and further confused by Marisa Monte: “The truth is the heart’s illusion.”


    • I agree, “knowing” is tied in with so many things, and I’m coming to think that the arrow of time is at the basis of almost everything.

      Answers lead to more questions: is the present moment, instant sense impressions, all we can truly know? Possibly not, I’m pretty sure about my PIN number. 😸 Thank you, Lona.

      Liked by 1 person

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