It was that summer, too, that I began the cutting and was almost as devoted to it as to my newfound loveliness. I adored tending to myself, wiping a shallow red pool of my blood away with a damp washcloth to magically reveal, just above my naval: queasy. Applying alcohol with dabs of a cotton ball, wispy shreds sticking to the bloody lines of: perky. I had a dirty streak my senior year, which I later rectified. A few quick cuts and cunt becomes can, clit transforms to a very unlikely cat, the l and i turned into a teetering capital A. The last words I ever carved into myself, sixteen years after I started: vanish. Sometimes I can hear the words squabbling at each other across my body. Up on my shoulder, panty calling down to cherry on the inside of my right ankle. On the underside of a big toe, sew uttering muffled threats to baby, just under my left breast. I can quiet them down by thinking of vanish, always hushed and regal, lording over the other words from the safety of the nape of my neck. Also: At the center of my back, which was too difficult to reach, is a circle of perfect skin the size of a fist. Over the years I've made my own private jokes. You can really read me. Do you want me to spell it out for you? I've certainly given myself a life sentence. Funny, right? I can't stand to look myself without being completely covered. Someday I may visit a surgeon, see what can be done to smooth me, but now I couldn't bear the reaction. Instead I drink so I don't think too much about what I've done to my body and so I don't do any more. Yet most of the time that I am awake, I want to cut. Not small words either. Equivocate. Inarticulate. Duplicitous. At my hospital back in Illinois they would not approve of this craving.For those who need a name, there's a gift basket of medical terms. All I know is that the cutting made me feel safe. It was proof. Thoughts and words, captured where I could see them and track them. The truth, stinging, on my skin, in a freakish shorthand. Tell me you're going to the doctor and I'll want to cut worrisome on my arm. Say you've fallen in love and I buzz the outlines of tragic over my breast. I hadn't necessarily wanted to be cured. But I was out of places to write, slicing myself between my toes - bad, cry - like a junkie looking for one last vein. Vanish did it for me. I'd saved the neck, such a nice prime spot, for one final good cutting. Then I turned myself in.
Gillian Flynn
[W]e can calculate our way into regions of miraculous improbability far greater than we can imagine as plausible. Let's look at this matter of what we think is plausible. What we can imagine as plausible is a narrow band in the middle of a much broader spectrum of what is actually possible. Sometimes it is narrower than what is actually there. There is a good analogy with light. Our eyes are built to cope with a narrow band of electromagnetic frequencies (the ones we call light), somewhere in the middle of the spectrum from long radio waves at one end to short X-rays at the other. We can't see the rays outside the narrow light band, but we can do calculations about them and we can build instruments to detect them. In the same way, we know that the scales of size and time extend in both directions far outside the realm of what we can visualize. Our minds can't cope with the large distances that astronomy deals in or with the small distances that atomic physics deals in, but we can represent those distances in mathematical symbols. Our minds can't imagine a time span as short as a picosecond, but we can do calculations about picoseconds and we can build computers that can complete calculations within picoseconds. Our minds can't imagine a timespan as long as a million years, let alone the thousands of millions of years that geologists routinely compute. Just as our eyes can see only that narrow band of electromagnetic frequencies that natural selection equipped our ancestors to see, so our brains are built to cope with narrow bands of sizes and times. Presumably there was no need for our ancestors to cope with sizes and times outside the narrow range of everyday practicality, so our brains never evolved the capacity to imagine them. It is probably significant that our own body size of a few feet is roughly in the middle of the range of sizes we can imagine. And our own lifetime of a few decades is roughly in the middle of the range of times we can imagine.
Richard Dawkins