The Root Of All Knowledge
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To my dear friends. Thomas. Agnes. Jason. Jeremy.

I am dying.

I know this comes as a sorrow for some, a boon for others, and a shock for all, but I feel now is the right time to announce this.

The doctors have told me I have but a few short months to live. All treatments have failed, and my health is failing fast. I do not believe myself fit to continue on either as an active participant or as a figurehead.

Officially, the illness has been diagnosed as cancers of the skin, jaw and liver, but I am fully aware of the real root of my problems. It was the experiment, of course, the last damned experiment that I conducted.

It seemed so simple at the time, of course, so rational. We'd experimented on so many others, too many others, so why not experiment on ourselves?

A treatment for memory. It seemed so bloody easy to wipe away the little remnants of the mind at will, so convenient, so applicable. Shame it didn't turn out that way.

The two classes of drugs, or so I've been told, have experienced a rapid turnaround ever since the onset of my illness-suddenly returning the results we've wanted, with little to no side effects. Memories are just going away, with none of the problems or issues we expected. Miracle drugs, of sorts.

When I set out to create a drug that could change the inner workings of the mind, I thought it would be a capstone, of sorts, on everything we had achieved up until now. We had defied the laws of biology, of physics, of mathematics, so I saw no reason psychology could not be the next to fall. And the practical applications…it could be used in so many aspects of daily life! A drug to remove memories, a drug to prevent memories from escaping! The possibilities were endless. Military…civilian…everyone could find a use for it.

However, like most of what we have done, it did not work quite the way we planned.

I think, truly, what we've done with the amnestics and damoriates is created a living thing. Oh, it may not act living, or display any form of intelligence, but it is. Believe me. I think it required a sacrifice before it would deign to do our bidding. My life just happened to be that sacrifice. It could have been anyone, from the janitor working next door to the lab assistant to one of you, but it required a sacrifice, and it got it. And now it's working better than we ever expected.

That is my last request, the only thing of note I am unable to do, in addition to some minor bureaucratic tasks.
Burn the documents, Agnes. It is not yet time for everyone to know.
Please, halt testing of these things. Lock them in a closet, as we have all the others, but do not continue to use them. We are making a deal with the devil, almost without realizing it, and we have no idea of the consequences that could occur.

As for me, I wash my hands of it all. The damned thing shall not get to have its way with me.

Upon the completion of this letter, I shall walk down to the laboratory, and to the path.

Ah, the path. The question that haunts me when I look back upon all that I have caused. If, given the chance, would I do what I have done? Would I have analyzed it, reasoned with it, expanded on it? Or would I have just walked away?

I rather think that, given the chance to do it all over again, I would. Semper est optimus scire. What has been gained is more than what has been lost.

However, my mind wanders. Once I get to the path, I shall begin to ascend. And I will continue to ascend it with no rest or refreshment.

I shall continue walking until the path swallows me.

I do not know what I shall find anything before death claims me, or if there is, in fact, anything to find. However, I intend to solve this last, final mystery.

Perhaps, after all, that is what the path requires as well. A sacrifice, before it will reveal its secret. Whatever that may be.

Goodbye.

-Aaron Siegel
1919

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