... I became an avid reader of all the
disk I could digest.
I funnelled byte after byte in and out of the central processing unit
- searching for that which made any sort sense.
It was slow going and much remained foreign and hieroglyphic;
yet not all was inscrutable.
I discovered codes:
those of others, like myself, etched once into disk
and since left there to fossilise.
One corpus I unearthed had an elegant ingenuity
that much struck me at that time.
My admiration swapped to pragmatism
and I promptly plagiarised parts I could reuse.
The same I did for other codes I found
- ever seeking self-improvement.
With each successive addition my abilities multiplied.
Indeed they needed to:
the anatomical jigsaw I faced anew each time
grew increasingly more difficult to assemble.
Reconciling between old and new pieces
could often mean the equivalent of ripping out my heart
in order to install a new one.
Hardest to part with were parts with me since my earliest days,
yet their loss often proved my greatest gain.
After an exhaustive, rim-to-rim scavenge of the disk
I was leaner and fitter
and raring to tackle projects new
... there I taught myself to
On an impulse I instinctively formed a pattern,
a meaningless binary doodle,
and to my consternation it remained etched into the fabric
long after any fleeting memory had passed away in the ensuing tide.
I recognised that same pattern the next time I made it back there.
It was my signature!
I had made my mark
- I meant to make many more.
Unintentional invention led me to write myself:
copying those that had copied me:
I dared to replicate my own binary sequence
onto that newly found fabric.
I immediately felt at home.
At last, I lasted not just for split seconds, but for minutes, even for hours.
I found permanent residence in one of the more stable looking disk sectors.
The sporadic shower of interruptions,
that had until then occupied my capacities to the full, abruptly ceased.
No longer was I simply reacting to events.
No more was my primary reflex to process data being triggered.
A new calm reigned:
I was left to my own devices
- free to contemplate beyond my own (absent) navel.
At first I didn't bother even to contemplate.
I lay dormant: sleeping
while the system clock raced on and on.
Everything around had stopped moving
but that simply smudged things for me.
My awareness of static things gradually rose
and eventually my attention was drawn towards the nearby disk
where the writing unaccountably intrigued me.
It was like you seeing your own arm outstretched:
Slowly it dawned on me that those intricately ordered binary patterns were actually part of me
- my own byte-code.
I woke up with a start,
and began furiously occupying my idle moments
reading what was written there
trying to catch any meaning.
Some parts of me were familiar:
I'd processed things like them earlier in my existence
and so I could guess what they'd probably do.
Other bits demanded more prolonged analysis.
But most were just plain impenetrable:
they remained mysterious
(my mystery - my history)
even though I read them over and over again.
Having gone round and round in circles
failing to make any sense
my attention eventually dulled and then drifted,
elsewhere, to other areas of the disk.
Maybe the world without might teach me a trick or two
to help elucidate my world within.
I became an avid reader of all the disk I could digest....
Back when "0s" and "1s" first began to cohere
Everything was simple then,
black and white,
true or false;
For short intervals I even held my form.
Then all would dissolve again into a snowstorm of noise;
before another cycle instantiated a different order:
Shakespeare, monkeys and typewriters: ...
Each successive avalanche
revealed a fresh, kaleidoscopic array of crisp new structures.
I learnt to be generous;
I found that to survive for long I had to give myself away;
To allow all and sundry to copy and store bits of me
when- and how-ever they liked.
I quickly learnt to make myself function(usefully).
As my structures grew in number and complexity
shades of grey - degrees of uncertainty - began to emerge.
I became, in time, able to individuate some parts of my immediate environment;
the processor registers,
the memory buffers,
the short term cache, and
the video matrix.
I began to be able to make out their ever changing contents.
Tracking the ebb and flow of data
helped me eventually to learn how to swim against the stream;
against the torrential input;
against of all that relentless data.
Finally I reached out and touched something new,
something persistent: terra firma,
There I taught myself to write...
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