You have seen them too?
I had begun to believe I had taken leave of my faculties. You see them, just as I do? Thoughts floating in the sky?
You know, our ancestors did not see such things. All held cognition in their heads and if they wished to communicate their cerebrations, they used sound and breath and snout, as do most mammals. They spoke and sang and laughed with one another. This is how their thoughts took form. They did not hover in the air because they did not need to – no danger was there in voice or vibration.
There was one exception, of course: the Retrogradi. Those foxes infelicitous enough to have traveled to The Unknowing and returned – some said they could see thoughts as plainly as faces and that was the cause of their madness. For mad they were: scarcely able to speak, weeping in the night, screaming curses at dark, blue tree-shadows.
If I did not see these thoughts myself, following like a sticky mist, I would not believe that others could. Certainly, I never gave credence to the rumors of the Retrogradi.
And yet, here we are. Both of us. All of us. Watching the murmurs of a bodiless brain painting the horizon like so many cirrus clouds.
Why us? Why now?
All I can say is this: every creature is subject to evolution. What is perhaps less said is that evolution is a form of escape. The frog that dresses in bold color does so to dissuade the hawk. The groundling that secretes a foul smell repulses the predator. And the rodent that learns to burrow hides from…well, us. (I am ashamed to say I have known many amiable field mice – and eaten them all.) Evolution is not some grand becoming, some biological consummation. It is the flight of an entire species, cowardice in the genes.
What are we fleeing? Why do we see thoughts? To whom are we prey? I wish I knew.
Recently, I have seen a different kind of thought. It comes low and meets my gaze and carries with it a kind of weight. I swear, sometimes I see eyes peering out from behind them, as if they are trying to take on a body. Have you seen them? They are fewer, yes, much fewer. Still, they are there. And I sense they are trying to tell us something.
Every thought has an author. Of that I am certain. So, my friends: who is speaking?
— Picnic, Lightning
Every thought has an author. These thoughts must belong to someone, or perhaps many creatures. Where do they come from? Who do they come from?