For as long as I have known, the Garden has been my life. I mean this in a more concrete way than you might think: I have known nothing except the Garden, and all I’ve experienced has been intimately related to its existence and profound being.
Even saying this gives me pause for thought, since to talk of something as existing is to imply that it, conceivably, could not exist, and that idea disturbs me no end since, as I have said, I have known nothing except the Garden.
I do not mean to say that the Garden is all there is; I know there is an area outside it, but it is not a very pleasant place, as far as I can see – structured formations of big, grey buildings, rows and columns of streets, laid out like some cosmic table of numbers used for solving equations. The outside is mechanistic and dull; the Garden is vibrant, changeable, and therefore it is my life.
I should add that both the Garden and the outside are empty. Not of things in principle, obviously, but of those like me – humans, beings with two arms and two legs and a head with ears and eyes and a nose and a mouth and hair. There are birds and foxes and fish – lower animals, which fly and run and swim in the environs of the Garden – but for humans I have not seen any other except for Miranda.
I know that other humans can, or maybe even do, exist. I’ve read of them in the books that lie in the libraries of knowledge that are scattered throughout the verdancy and hills of the Garden. In this way the Garden has educated me to the things that can exist. I know of the kinds of life that may procreate and spread, of the modes of thought that lead to the formalisms of logic, and then of mathematics. Of ways to think about thinking of things, and their inconsequence to me. And the names of humans who accomplish deeds of all sorts through time and space.
This last is how I know that the Garden does not tell me the truth. To be sure, it does not intend to mislead, but its books certainly display this attribute, and wisdom dictates that I perceive it accordingly: that their words describe a world distinct from this one, possibly an imaginary one, which has been devised to the minutest detail and described in the texts of the Garden. For how could these words be true of my world, if I see no evidence of them?
But they are useful. Through their knowledge I plan on the few open fields of the Garden and eat from the produce of its trees. And examining tales and exercises in logic shows me there are consistencies between the Garden’s world and the world the Garden describes.
But despite all knowledge, the Garden continues.