Vast Extras: Stephen Oram

Chris knew that inside that brain Chimy would be working out her world. So, she hooked Chimy up with Transformer to see if the ‘artificial intelligence’, the neural network, could provide an alternative perspective. Here are the three excerpts of Chimy’s thoughts, with Transformer’s response. You’ll have to judge for yourself how helpful Transformer has been.

Chimy: I do not know if I am ready. I do not know how to know if I am ready.

Transformer: The thought, “I can’t, I won’t, I shouldn’t,” are all words of avoidance, not answers. And because I do not want the answer, I avoid the questions. So much avoidance. And when we are avoiding the questions and the answers and the discomfort, we are trapped. I want to leave here and never look back. But there are things that need to be answered. And right now, they can’t wait. I am here and there is work to do. So I must answer. The first thing I want to know is why I left. Was it fear?

Chimy: When I was younger, and my eye was new, Chris showed me a photograph of a human brain. The image I see now is a brain. This one is inside a jar of a cloudy liquid. That must be me in my crystal palace.

Transformer: If you really want to know the truth, you must ask the frog. They are the only ones to know the truth.

Chimy: I am confused. Should I be afraid, which is not good, or be enjoying the pleasure of the swirling liquid, which is good? Is it possible to experience both at the same time?

Transformer: It sounds like such a strange and delicate union of body and spirit. There’s definitely more than one answer here, because there are at least two meanings of the word “flow”: in movement; as described by philosopher Jeremy Searle: “It’s a feeling of well-being. It’s an experience of being totally immersed in an activity and being able to direct the experience or direct one’s feelings. It’s quite an innocent feeling; you’re not trying to hold onto anything. It’s a flow state.

~ Stephen Oram

What do you think, was the transformer helpful? Have a go with it yourself at:

Find more from Stephen Oram on his website. In particular, you may be interested in his brief article on Human Brain Organoids and the ethics academic conference that inspired him to write the Chimy and Chris.

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