Author : Q. B. Fox

Subject: No man is an island.


Dear Robert,

I know that’s not your name.

They call me Jane. That’s not my name.

Does that remind you of something?

If you’d rather, you can call me Maria; because some things we can’t help, they happen on a completely subconscious level.

And all this week I’ve been sending you a message.

You listen to rock music, don’t you? Do you remember hearing Metallica? Perhaps it was on the TV, or the radio, or the internet.

In the 1960s, Stanley Milgram ran some experiments at Yale University. He showed that a significant minority of us are so socially conditioned so that we will just do as we’re told, no matter how outrageous the consequences. And it’s not necessarily the people you think.

I know you don’t think of yourself as a rebel, or even disaffected, but you don’t really fit in, do you? You weren’t one of the cool-crowd at school, right?

Have you ever seen Donnie Darko? It was on TV this week. Do you remember that haunting music? How does it make you feel? Not quite real, right?

If you think about it, you can see yourself sat at your computer now, reading this e-mail. Go on, imagine it; looking down on yourself, like you’re watching yourself in a film. You’re just a character in a film.

In that film, this e-mail is a virus, exactly like a computer virus. Except this virus is for people; it’s for reprogramming people.

You’re a creative person. You have a good imagination. And you remember things. Not always useful things, but trivia, random facts. You make good use of your subconscious.

Not everyone remembers where they’ve come across Hemingway. Perhaps they read the book at school, or saw the film with Gary Cooper; perhaps they just read the synopsis on Wikipedia, or in those encyclopaedias you had when you were a kid. Perhaps they don’t know how they know, or even remember that they do, but some people will remember it all, subconsciously.

I think you’re one of those people; in fact I’m counting on it. Not everyone will respond to this e-mail, and we’ve sent it to millions of people.

But you will.

Tomorrow, you’ll wake up; you’ll know were to go; where to collect a van. And you’ll drive the van to a bridge, you’ll know which one. Then you’ll detonate a bomb that’s inside.

Today you don’t think you’ll do that.

And I appreciate your scepticism. But you are still reading this, aren’t you? Ask yourself: why am I still reading this?

If you concentrate, inside your head, you can hear the repeated clang of a single church bell.

You can, can’t you, if you concentrate?

Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it’s for you, sweetie, it’s for you.

Isabel Sowending.

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