He had no secrets left. No defenses. He had nothing, except that same vast, dark, empty, infinite ache that had resided in him for as long as he could remember. An endless flight of stairs, leading down and down into the cold, dark pit of his soul. Now, at long last, he’d reached the absolute rock bottom. And there she was, just standing there. She’d been there all along.

The problem with making a virtual world of oneself is akin to the problem with projecting ourselves onto a cyberworld: there’s no end of virtual spaces in which to seek stimulation, but their very endlessness, the perpetual stimulation without satisfaction, becomes imprisoning.

I put back my head, looking up at the deep black sky swimming with hot stars. If you knew they were really balls of flaming gas, you could imagine them as Van Gogh saw them, without difficulty . . . and looking into that illuminated void, you understood why people have always looked up into the sky when talking to God. You need to feel the immensity of something very much bigger than yourself, and there it is – immeasurably vast, and always near at hand. Covering you.

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