Rational Gaze

Rational Gaze

A Story by Minoru Kusari

This short story evolved random philosophical ideas I scribbled on a page one day. I may make a short book out of this story. Hope you like it!



Rational Gaze

Violet sat at her desk on a late afternoon with a blank stare as the professor rambled on and on about some theoretical mumbo jumbo that hardly had anything to do with her life. He was getting really into it, making exaggerated gestures and perspiring. She could not care less. She’d be content to just take it easy and backstroke through the swirling waters of her imagination. Swimming, huh? Well that would be nice, Violet thought. It was hot and humid, the air so thick she felt as though it were pressing down on her. A sigh escaped her lips.

Sitting in front of her, the ever-so-studious Laura raised her hand.

“Yes Laura?” the professor stopped mid-rant to call on her. He was breathing hard from talking so much.

“I didn’t understand anything you said,” Laura said, looking embarrassed. “Could you please start over from the beginning again?”

“Why, yes of course I can! Here, I’ll try to make it easier to comprehend. Allow me to clear the obfuscation, my dear.” He seemed to be pleased that at least one person was attempting to understand, since all the other students either looked confused or bored out of their minds.

Violet sighed once more. Way to go, Laura. Violet put one leg over the other and rested her cheek in her palm, preparing herself for another epic wave of the professor’s nonsensical stream of consciousness to come gushing forth from his mouth, drowning the entire class in a sense of otherworldliness and confusion.

“Well, my dear,” he began, “Let me start with a simple idea. A question, actually: What is ‘reality’?”

Laura raised her hand. “Um, what we can detect with our senses?”

“Exactly! We, as human beings, use our five senses to understand the world around us, and then call these observations ‘reality’. But you see, the problem is that we have no way to know what it is like to be in another life form’s, or even another person’s mind. Therefore, we may all perceive a different ‘reality’ from one another without realizing it.”

“Uh huh,” Laura said, though Violet could tell that Laura was already confused again.

The professor continued, “So this means that reality is merely a concept that we all subscribe to. But there’s no way of proving what ‘real’ means. Other people and other creatures may have totally different ways of perceiving things. For example: colors. What if everyone sees colors and images differently? Just because we both call something ‘purple’ doesn’t mean that we both see something the same way. It just means we agree to call it by the same name. What if we all hear sounds differently? Just listen to your own voice for example. It sounds different to you than it does to others, and then different again if it has been recorded and played back to you…”

As the professor spoke, he was getting more and more excited, making wild gestures and looking around from face to face, as if trying to force his message into their minds by telepathy.

Violet rolled her eyes and switched legs, her gaze still blank, eyes half-open as if she were falling asleep. He always does this, she thought, he gets excited and starts running his mouth at 100 mph until nothing he says makes sense anymore. She glanced at the clock on the wall. 3: 20. Ugh, still ten more minutes of this crap.  

“What if everything we perceive as reality is just some…entity’s dream? Or perhaps that entity is constantly creating new worlds, or ‘realities’, and constantly throwing them away? Then you would be a new ‘you’ everyday! The past, present, and future ‘you’ would all be separate entities! In fact, what if our dreams were reality, or a door to another dimension?” the professor asked, his eyes widening with energy…or perhaps mania.

“Whoa, whoa, hold up! What do you mean, ‘another dimension’?” a male student interrupted.

A disconcerting grin stretched across the professor’s face. “Yes, very good! I was hoping someone would ask that!” he climbed up on his desk, then stood and loosened his collar and tie.

“We’ve covered the topic of synesthesia before, do you all remember? In sound-induced synesthesia, people see colors and images produced by sounds and music that they hear. What if those are glimpses into another dimension? What if there is a sort of ‘second-sight’ that allows people to see more than just what we ordinarily perceive with our senses? Perhaps the only reason the world appears stable is because we believe everything we see to be absolute truth, and things we do not normally see, we discount as nonexistent…What I mean to say is that our eyes act as a filter; we can only see certain things, and those things make up the everyday world we are familiar with. But that does not mean that what we see is all there is.”

“So? What do you mean professor? What is the truth then?” Laura asked.

The professor’s creepy grin widened. “Aha! Good Laura! That leads to an important concept: the Existential Paradox.”

“What is that?”

 “The Existential Paradox is the following clause: since reality and truth are merely a concept that cannot be proved, the ‘truth’ is that there is no ‘truth’! As I said before, we all just choose to subscribe to the same ideas of truth. However, those who discard the ‘Rational Gaze’ can see with eyes unclouded by their judgment and preconceived notions of what can or cannot be ‘real’. They can see and experience things that ordinary people are incapable of seeing due to their close-mindedness. This would be, in a sense, the ‘Irrational Gaze’.”

“This isn’t making any sense…” Laura complained.

But the professor was no longer aware of his surroundings. “By internalizing the Existential Paradox, one could defy the principles of physics and logic that restrain the masses! It is the adherence to the immediate physical world that leads humans astray to partake in crimes such as war, rape, and murder. By rejecting the concept of reality, one can see all sorts of new things; however, there is no proof that even what the ‘Irrational Gaze’ unveils is the ‘truth’, since truth is subjective. However, one could use the Irrational Gaze and Rational Gaze to essentially craft their own realities!” the professor began laughing manically.

“Professor, what on earth are you talking about!?” Laura exclaimed.

Violet stretched her arms as she yawned. What a lunatic. He should be locked up somewhere"Before Violet could finish her thought, she felt a disturbance in the air, almost as if the air were swirling around the room, yet different from wind. It was suddenly dark in the classroom. She looked to the windows. All closed. Couldn’t be wind, and it’s still bright outside. She felt the air moving from behind her towards the professor standing on his desk, laughing like a psycho. Everyone else in the class didn’t seem to notice anything strange, besides the professor of course. The invisible force sped up, racing towards the professor to…do what exactly?

“So you see, class! We’ve all been playing along with a totally subjective world! Humans are merely dancers to a discordant dream! Do you…” he suddenly trailed off.

Violet’s gaze returned to the professor to see why he had suddenly stopped speaking. Her mouth hung open in shock. A shrouded figure, not human, yet not totally inhuman, appeared behind the professor, hovering in the air. Its shadowy form wrapped around the professor, sinking its black sinewy claws into his body. The professor’s expression quickly changed from one of rapture to one of horror. His body was gradually disappearing into the phantasm behind him. He opened his mouth as if to scream, but no sound was heard. The ghoul pulled the man deeper into its blackness, its obscurity.

No trace of the man was left. The air in the classroom had returned to normal. Violet sat terrified, shaking in her seat.

“What just happened?” She managed to squeak.

Laura, having noticed Violet shaking in the seat behind her, turned around to ask, “What’s wrong Violet? Are you okay?”

“W-what are you talking about? Did you not see what just happened?” her voice was shaky.

“What are you talking about? Nothing’s happened yet, class hasn’t started.”

Violet shot a look at the clock on the wall again. 2:45. What!? Her eyes darted around the classroom, desperately searching for some sort of answer, or a clue.

Violet took a deep breath and spoke slowly, “Laura, did you see what happened to the professor?”

“Huh? He hasn’t shown up yet, Violet. What do you mean?”

This didn’t make any sense. Did time go backwards? One second the professor was there, the next he was swallowed up by some…thing! She couldn’t take any more. This isn’t happening. This doesn’t make sense. This isn’t real. Violet shut her eyes and let her screams bounce off the black inner walls of her mind.

When she finally opened her eyes, she was alone in the darkness. 





© 2011 Minoru Kusari

Author's Note

Minoru Kusari
Please tell what you think of the story as well as the professor's ideas! Also, tell me if you think adding more chapters to this or leaving it as a short story would be better.

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That was surprisingly enjoyable.

It really made me think :L Especially the section about percieving things differently.


Posted 11 Years Ago

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Added on May 4, 2011
Last Updated on May 10, 2011
Tags: philosophy, fantasy, experimental, psychological


Minoru Kusari
Minoru Kusari


I'm in my late teens. I'm a pretty laid back guy most of the time, but I get really passionate about certain things. I like to play guitar, video games, draw and read. I love music. I've always liked .. more..

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