Picnolepsy: about disappearance / by Cristias Rosas

Paul Virilio’s esthetic of disappearance:

"During breakfast the absences are frequent, the cup spilled over the table is a well-known consequence. The absence lasts for just a few seconds, begin and end without notice. Senses are still awake, but do not perceive the impressions from the exterior. Due that the return is as immediate as the departure, the frozen spoken words and the gestures revive from the point of interruption. The conscious time welds automatically forming continuity with no apparent cuts. These absences denominated as “Picnolepsy” (from the Greek “pycnos” frequent) tend to be constant, as much as hundreds per day and generally unnoticed for those who surround the subject. But for the Picnoleptic nothing has happened; the time away disconnected did not existed. Only that, without noticing it, he looses in each crisis a small portion of his existence".

It is possible to live long enough to see these sporadic moments turn into a regular state of mind, those moments of absence phagocyte (as cells engulfing smaller cells), the entire existence of this being. Then its time for the “age of disappearance”, only that at this point there is no return, nothing comparable as before when after the absenteeism the absent revenues to its original being. The chance for a “rendez vous” fades away in a brain with senile dementia, the mutation is constant for it is clear that a mind cannot be lost, it can change though and it will until the decaying and disappearing process is fulfilled.

Until that moment it sets the madman and the sane that surrounding him into a strange sail: In one time is no longer chronological and so happenings from distant days can be processed as if they are occurring in the present. Space mutates too, it dissolves and links inside the decaying brain so it can fit whatever it wants it to be. A hospital can turn into a hotel; cities into different cities and home can be a prison, an unfamiliar place the madman longs to escape.

For the sane, the process is slow, the fading is felt even slower, its loved one evaporates gradually but still faster than what we can understand. The random momentary lapses of reason, where everything seem to be so clear and normal become more and more scarce. Clarity vanishes until it never returns again. The passing into an absolute flesh ghost is complete. Even the otherworld starts to show itself in the house, as images of long gone relatives who start to walk the place, figures that the sane cannot see but the madman clearly does. For the rational, there is nothing to grasp but the profound sensation of loss and the expectation of the final mutation, that last hope for existence and our final life insurance: a ghost.