She loved him. But he didn’t know how to love.He could talk about love. He could see love and feel love. But he couldn’t give love.He could make love. But he couldn’t make promises.She had desperately wanted his promises.She wanted his heart, knew she couldn’t have it so she took what she could get.Temporary bliss. Passionate highs and lows. Withdrawal and manipulation.He only stayed long enough to take what he needed and keep moving.If he stopped moving, he would self-destruct.If he stopped wandering, he would have to face himself.He chose to stay in the dark where he couldn’t see.If he exposed himself and the sun came out, he’d see his shadow.He was deathly afraid of his shadow.She saw his shadow, loved it, understood it. Saw potential in it.She thought her love would change him.He pushed and he pulled, tested boundaries, thinking she would never leave.He knew he was hurting her, but didn’t know how to share anything but pain.He was only comfortable in chaos. Claiming souls before they could claim him.Her love, her body, she had given to him and he’d taken with such feigned sincerity, absorbing every drop of her.His dark heart concealed.She’d let him enter her spirit and stroke her soul where everything is love and sensation and surrender.Wide open, exposed to deception.It had never occurred to her that this desire was not love.It was blinding the way she wanted him.She couldn’t see what was really happening, only what she wanted to happen.She suspected that he would always seek to minimize the risk of being split open, his secrets revealed.He valued his soul’s privacy far more than he valued the intimacy of sincere connection so he kept his distance at any and all costs.Intimacy would lead to his undoing—in his mind, an irrational and indulgent mistake.When she discovered his indiscretions, she threw love in his face and beat him with it.Somewhere deep down, in her labyrinth, her intricacy, the darkest part of her soul, she relished the mayhem.She felt a sense of privilege for having such passion in her life.He stirred her core.The place she dared not enter.The place she could not stir for herself.But something wasn’t right.His eyes were cold and dark.His energy, unaffected.He laughed at her and her antics, told her she was a mess.Frantic, she looked for love hiding in his eyes, in his face, in his stance, and she found nothing but disdain.And her heart stopped.

~ G.g. Renee Hill

If you want to see philosophy in action, pay a visit to a robo-rat laboratory. A robo-rat is a run-ofthe-mill rat with a twist: scientists have implanted electrodes into the sensory and reward areas in the rat’s brain. This enables the scientists to manoeuvre the rat by remote control. After short training sessions, researchers have managed not only to make the rats turn left or right, but also to climb ladders, sniff around garbage piles, and do things that rats normally dislike, such as jumping from great heights. Armies and corporations show keen interest in the robo-rats, hoping they could prove useful in many tasks and situations. For example, robo-rats could help detect survivors trapped under collapsed buildings, locate bombs and booby traps, and map underground tunnels and caves. Animal-welfare activists have voiced concern about the suffering such experiments inflict on the rats. Professor Sanjiv Talwar of the State University of New York, one of the leading robo-rat researchers, has dismissed these concerns, arguing that the rats actually enjoy the experiments. After all, explains Talwar, the rats ‘work for pleasure’ and when the electrodes stimulate the reward centre in their brain, ‘the rat feels Nirvana’.To the best of our understanding, the rat doesn’t feel that somebody else controls her, and she doesn’t feel that she is being coerced to do something against her will. When Professor Talwar presses the remote control, the rat wants to move to the left, which is why she moves to the left. When the professor presses another switch, the rat wants to climb a ladder, which is why she climbs the ladder. After all, the rat’s desires are nothing but a pattern of firing neurons. What does it matter whether the neurons are firing because they are stimulated by other neurons, or because they are stimulated by transplanted electrodes connected to Professor Talwar’s remote control? If you asked the rat about it, she might well have told you, ‘Sure I have free will! Look, I want to turn left – and I turn left. I want to climb a ladder – and I climb a ladder. Doesn’t that prove that I have free will?

~ Yuval Noah Harari

Casting a curious gaze down on planet Earth, extra-terrestrial beings could well be forgiven for assuming that we humans are programmed in every move we make, by a palm-sized, oblong, slab of glass. More perplexing than that, who on earth could convince them otherwise ?

~ Alex Morritt