- By Ambrose Wolfinger
“Man ceased to be an ape and overcame the ape the day the first book was published. The ape had never forgotten this humiliation: just try to give him a book, and he will immediately spoil it, soil it, and tear it to pieces.”
– Eugene Zamiatin
Would you call this a Utopian story? An anit-Utopian story? Immediately upon beginning to read this unbelievable piece of prose, I was reminded of Brave New World, 1984 and We. The narrators of these novels, whether accepting or struggling against the world in which they live; whether imparting their tales to denounce the world or submitting it with honor to posterity, each of these characters question themselves and all around them. One is very much like these three stories, yet not like any of them at all.
A story about a solitary being, possibly human, possibly not. A being of its time, existing as it only knows how: by questioning its place in the world, by observing its impact upon things, and the influence of things upon it. “Any movement with the pool caused a ripple… all action and reaction was caused by all ripples.” One, is its name, or One is all things. One has lived and experienced it all. One is you and me.
This is not so much a story as it is the final evolutionary step of the prose form. Huxley, Orwell & Zamiatin, me-others like all others, took the first step out of the pool. Steeped with thoughts threatening to drag them down under the sea of existence, these me-others found their voice, found their souls, found their purpose and sought their creator. They left us deeply moving soliloquies exposing themselves, by first exposing us. When listening to their words, we are held fast by their level of thought and the depth of experience and consciousness that is poured into each word, each phrase, each idea. We-Others can only hope to grasp the depth Mr. Wolfinger has brought us to the edge of. Mr. Wolfinger, like the first step onshore, like the first waggle of communication, like the opposable thumb, has opened up for us our Cowardly Old Existence, not one year but all of Time, not We, but We-Others.
As I read One, my astonishment with the power of life and existence inspired me. My feelings for the solitude and detachment One felt moved me tremendously. One did not know it felt. One knew only logic. Although like Winston Smith who rebelled against Big Brother, the masses of Brave New World and D-503 of We, One falls back into that which it knows, back into comfort and safety among the ship of fools.
Yet One knew enough to swim upstream. Let all us me-others have the courage to follow.