HeaL-I-0p-Tx Cards

“An ideal.  Ideal health.  I deal health.”

Eliza’s friends laid out the Heli0pTx cards and tried to make sense of them, like doctors at grand rounds, or an operating theater, or an autopsy.

Eliza asked, “Tell me what you think.  Are these cards the real deal?  Or I have been just been kidding myself about them all these years, and sliding by with placebo effect?”

Sean Asimov regarded the cards critically, contemplatively; his eyes lit up for a moment, then he said, “I don’t know…”

Grant Polo said, “I feel… something….  I can’t really describe what I think.  On principle, I’m opposed to using words when the whole story should be what’s shown by the pictures.”

Mia Mao chimed in, “Some kind of power, for me at least.”

Dean Cleaver shook his head.  “The power to heal, really, Eliza?”

“Truth be told, they kind of scare the shit out of me,” said Olivia Paris.

“Then stop looking at the enema card.”

“I think they’re just a bunch of pictures.  A random jumble, and you can make whatever you want out of them,” said Dean Cleaver. 

Olivia Paris turned her eyes away.  “I think they have real power in them, but don’t want to let it get a hold on me.”

“Why would you be scared of cards?  I mean, the only time you should actually pick up the cards, right, the only time you really need to engage them, right, is when you are ill, or injured…”

Eliza said, “Well let me tell you what I think, and I’ve been dealing with these things for something like ten years now…”

“Dealing with them.  You deal Ideal health.”

“Yeah.  I deal health cards.  They work.  For me, at least, they work.  So let me give you my take on them, and maybe it will stimulate your own thinking.  And then you can stimulate mine.”

“Or trick it.”

“I think of them as tools.  I look at the image, the picture, a represents some aspect of health. It is a capsule, an icon, a conceptualized simplification, and it triggers something in my brain.”

“I think you really believe this stuff, and you want us to validate it.”

“Something along those lines… yeah.”    

“So you start out needing something from the card, and knowing the card will not work unless you accept the fact that it has power.”  Dean Cleaver crossed his arms over his chest.  “What then?   You’d be giving up your own power to make decisions, giving that power to a piece of stiff paper… surrendering what you actually believe, ceding personal authority to a card, or an image.”   

Sean Asimov observed, “It depends on whether the power is real or not, doesn’t it?  You can’t have it both ways.  Or can you?”

“What happens to me, every time I consult the cards, I get the simultaneous experience of realities—the ordinary inert cardboard and the ink, and the transcendent experience of the design it pretends to portray.  

“If I don’t surrender disbelief, I am exiled from the experience and denied the power.  I have this sense my belief may be false.  In the present, I have a memory of both experiences.  The sense of falseness and delusion never leaves me, but likewise the sense of power endures.  They strobe back and forth, the tension between the contradictions being a source of energy in itself. 

“The trick is to perform a trick—to fool the brain’s expectation that health is a static norm, a dependable thing that happens in an unchanging present, when the reality is that health is dynamic, an ever-unstable series of fluctuations, a fragile thing, or a contest, a battle, a war inside and outside, a fragile armistice, disguised as a truce, but one that can’t be trusted.  Peace is fragile; stability an illusion.

“There are information nodes in the cards.  The nodes duplicate all the data that is in every other node, except the duplicates are all imperfect, and every node is different, but only slightly different.  The total information is preserved, but to duplicate the original requires sifting through all the imperfect copies, and sorting out the mistakes.  The redundancy ensures that nothing is lost, but the mass of repetitious information slows everything down.  Perfection is a slow process.  Truth is tedious and time consuming.  The more information I have in front of me, the harder it is to use.”

“What did you just say, Eliza?”

“There’s too much information in front of me right, and so it’s getting harder to use. 

“Each of my eyes is an instrument that takes a slice of the world and shrinks it to a single point, a glowing spark, shrunk by the cornea and the lens to prick the retina with light.  The spark (or sparks) not conveying real depth, but relative depth, useable depth.  There are two images fed into my brain, nearly identical, but not exactly.  The fusion of the two creates the experience of seeing depth.

“Think for a minute about the difference between the flat world of the Heli0ptx card and actual reality: the image seen with one eye closed, and the deep world where I live and die.”

“OK, Eliza.  Now you’ve scared the shit out of all of us.” 

“The design leads my vision to a place within the card, while escorting  the focus beyond the card, the reality of the single point of condensed light within each of my eyes, but also an imaginary point of focus in front of the card and beyond it into infinity, fusing it into paradoxical mathematic unity: the solitary 1 that can’t exist in isolation, and the unending vastness of the universe, too large to actually exist, uniting the two, internalizing the experience, and obliterating any sense of internality, shattering the visual field into a crazy quilt of contradictory segments fighting for dominance.  My mind struggles to cling to geometric trust in the swirl of dream induced chaos. Time stands still, or seems to, but here is what is actually happening:  constituent elements of time—past, present, and future—go to war with one another:  opponents sharing the experience between them, alternating between victory, defeat, armistice, surrender, domination.  I get presented with a problem of recurring, very similar, near identical, but still contradictory visual information, like what happens to the left and right eye as the images congeal into binocular vision.”

Mia Mao interrupted her.  “What’s really funny right now, is you’re trying to make a case for believing you’ve healed yourself with these cards, but what come across—mostly—is that you aren’t well.”

“Yeah, like I said, looking at the cards—there’s too much information in front of me right now, and what I’m spitting back isn’t particularly useful.  But I’m Okay.  Really, I’m Okay.”

“Let’s put the cards away, Eliza.”

“But the cards are the whole reason I wanted us all to get together.”

“Aw, this was long overdue.  Fuck the cards.”

“Don’t you realize how important the question is?  If the cards really work the way I think they work, they could change everything.  They could change the course of history.  And if they don’t really work, then, fuck it, it means I’m just nuts.  Bonkers, out of mind.  And I don’t know the answer.  I can’t find it alone.  You guys… I’m looking for answers, and there isn’t anyone else on Earth I trust more to help me on this.  Really, I’m Okay.  I just got a little carried away, and now I’m seeing things more clearly.”

“Just let it go, for now.”

“Let me simplify it.  Okay.  I can keep it simple.  The right eye and the left eye fuse near duplicate images into an apprehension of actual depth.  The way three-dimensional vision works—the whole binocular vision thing– spills over into the biological structures of Hemispheres of the brain.  It also translates into the political left and right.  The body of a man is a microcosm of the body of Man.”

“Hey, you lost me again.”

“You lost all of us.”

“Speak for yourself,” said… I couldn’t see who said it.

“Just let it go.  Put the fucking cards away for now, and we’ll take another look at them when the mushrooms have completely worn off.”

Eliza started to get dewy-eyed, so someone changed the subject.

–An except from “Eliza’s Old Pals from St. Astarte.”

The Card of Ideal Health