The Sentience

Even the most devout follower of that new religion we shall call scientific method is sure to admit that the chances, perhaps, of the universe coming into creation in the first place, let alone the conditions being met to form life on a rock careening wildly around a blazing nuclear explosion, are infinitesimal.

That is not, of course, to infer the existence in any way of a Creator, but rather to say that the terms of probability are useful exactly up until that point that they are not—and that uncertainty is implicit in the inverse ratio of even the most probable of events.

Which brings me to my point, being: unlikely events do happen and, indeed, in a universe are large and complex as ours they actually happen quite a lot and furthermore at unlikely times—which is to say not when we expect. Very often those events were set in motion long ago by that great unknowable random-number-generator, which I tend to call the Universe, but you may call God, if you prefer.

In a Universe that’s infinite—or even large enough to seem so—unlikely events are, in fact, guaranteed to occur, sometime and somewhere and somehow (as I have mentioned, the existence of the very selves serves as living testament to this fact) and I would have you know that extremely unlikely events are actually occurring right now upon our oceans.

There is a place amongst the waves where the detritus of human civilisation has amalgamated into one enormous mass: an island comprised of plastic straws and cups and plates and bags. And beneath the surface, a hideous tentacled tangle, a voracious net-like maw gorges itself on more and more of our waste, our plastics and pollutants: our poisons.

As unlikely as it may seem—as impossible—the plastic is beginning to reassemble itself in such a way that none would have guessed: the multitudinous membranes of plastic expand and collapse, like lungs.

The toxins we leeched into our oceans dissolve and reconfigure the very atomic structures of that which we have discarded and those constituent pieces, unforming and reforming, over and over again, began to grow. And then: began to know.

Out there in the vast, unchecked ocean, that grotesque, chaotic mass—created by us but soon forgotten—continues to resolve itself into an ever-increasing complexity of shapes and structures until it, at last, it becomes…