Fish Stocks Limited by Michael Summers - HTML preview
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Chapter 30 – Asymptotic Freedom
The fish stayed on the horizon for two more days and nights, and Fishmael had no sleep for all this time. He would stand by the foremast shrouds, looking out at his nemesis as it bled into the hated Smug, these two symbols of light and life being one in their antithesis to the tenebrous captain's deathly, black, bubonic loathing. At long last the fish sounded, and so did the captain, muttering acerbic curses as he descended into his own underworld beneath the quarterdeck.
If ever in this life you find yourself spending a lot of time below, so to speak, think of Fishmael. He shuns the light, he fights against it, rages against it and dedicates his life to extinguishing it; yet in all this fury, beneath the grime of his iniquity, he himself becomes an albino – as white as snow, as white as starlight. Hunt the thing you hate too much, and the hated thing becomes you; in the end, you will hate yourself.
Fishmael has decided to stub his toe (in the process of kicking, but stub it nonetheless) against the infinite, the ineffable. In what ways has Fishmael become like the fish? Well, they are both now muses. Fishmael the hunter, fish the hunted. Fishmael evil, fish good. Fishmael corruption, fish innocence. Fishmael hatred, fish joy. They are polar opposites, granted, but they are alike as poles. Indeed, in the same way that the asymptote could be said to be both infinitely positive and infinitely negative at the same time, and neither, so could these two agents. Because, in fact, there are not two asymptotes but one – the utmost positivity and the utmost negativity are actually a singularity, where one is nothing without the other. So too Fishmael would be nothing without the fish. And the fish nothing without Fishmael? Is this really true? It is a painful thing to conceive, but is the fish completed by its aggressor?
All those billions of years ago, when the fish first swam, perhaps there was something that followed it across space to its new home. Perhaps that thing was the essence of Fishmael, conceived in the great mind of the universe from the start. And this dark conception, made all the darker by the spark of free-will inside him, was not made to hunt the fish, but chose to.