Short Story: Natural Forces

Culture killed the corps. Lack of it, really.

Culture never fit with the rest of the Corporation as an entity. In retrospect, it was the tell-tale sign of their self-awareness. Culture’s a byproduct of collective, self-aware entities and their existence. Corporate culture though was bland and cold. Real culture was far too vibrant to be mistaken for the non-entity that was Corp culture.

It was night and day.

And in the minds of most people, that’s what it became. The cold, bland, workaday world for wage-slaves and sell-outs. The rest was night. And because of light pollution the corps sold us with bullshit lies, the nights were getting brighter and longer.

It wasn’t ’til Web 2.0 fractured that any change really became apparent though:

Digitally, Humanity had always looked like one, prosperous group formed of a melange of diversity. Fractured though, the two groups didn’t fit. Simply, one was much smaller– far too small to be doing what was being done. That defied visible reality.

Then came the black-market and the bit-currency boon. In the corporate world, the biggest fish ate first. For once though, the corps weren’t it.

Cameron Mobility sold the world its first Augment, but it was people that designed and built it. Specifically, black-marketpeople. In the same way open-source software was designed; in revision-states to rapidly hone designs through the dual forces of need and skill.

It was that same market, firmly ensconced in shadow and belonging to the palaces of thieves, hackers, fixers, their nets of scum and villainy, that finally did the world good.

Yes, the other bazaar. The digital one. Of blacks and whites. Ones and zeros. Where only desire and money existed. And only to serve one another. The same market that once pilfered tea, ran moonshine, hired out hitmen, and sold illicit goods globally.

It was the all-encompassing culture of need/want/payment. One of a new age going nowhere but forward and regardless of its supposed amorality. Nothing would stop it.

The why was simply; the culture really killing the corps was their own. Or rather, the veneer of one they’d formulated from the requirements for complicit employees. Corporate culture had no personability to it. At the end of a long day of number crunching, between work and dinner, no corporate occupier remained to cling to. No external influence for those few times it was needed.

Living without that inspired no security or comfort, and Humans rejected the unfamiliar.

The inherent flaw in the corporations’ system was that their sole concern was only and forever profit. It wasn’t profitable to be clung to; to keep the lights on after 5. To man the sails for the few nights that weren’t calm for the people temporarily below-decks.

After all, profits can’t be maximized with skeleton-crews costing the ship hazard-pay. Those were premium rate-times! Electricity was worth more then. Keeping lights on and people working thinned the margin. No matter how little the consumer needed them. That wasn’t the corporate way. Corporatism was living and dying by the dime, being always and forever in the black.

People didn’t get that guarantee, because they couldn’t give it.There was no corporate-prayer service for when baby’s diaper exploded across the kitchen, and parents need a solvent to clean with. There was no corporate-barricade barring the front door against their own, unwanted intruders. There wasn’t even a corporate-identity. The thing simply existing as part of an individual’s designation. Their actual titles were designed as reflowable to adjust to ever-shifting political-correctness.

But people were all of those things and more.

The mistake was moulding people to an existence between 9AM and 5PM. That world’s totality at your voluntary request, but nonexistent otherwise. And when it did not exist, you did not exist. It was no different than being released from chain-gang to pass time, too tired and battered to do more than daydream, intentionally.

And why wouldn’t people be so battered? Two generations of corporate formation and overt political-correctness had dulled even the sharpest wits. People needed only accept the bargain was good enough for slaves. Since slaves were good and slavery bad, it was good for you, right?

Most people swallowed it without resistance. The chains came later; after compliance but before realization.

The manipulation was obvious. More-so from the outside. Unfortunately few were heard through the din. General insanity had filled the world, post digital-age. Sheer-will oozed enough through to the more enlightened among them. Those few, also broken and damaged, saw no peaceful strategy remaining.

The message for them was clear; run.

The few whom did eventually became the Resistance’s spine and the nerves along its central column. They were more fortunate than most. No more or less intelligent, just aware and better-positioned. They saw enough of the barrel aimed at them to know to duck.

They jumped ship right up ‘til the war, ensuring the survival of the culture they defected to. Their own immortality assured therein. Living as they did ensured they remained important symbols, even if it was all they knew of how, why, what for.

Nowhere was this more obvious than the Aug movement, whose champions themselves formed the very leadership of Corp-Resistance. The results of those champions eventually led to the Fall. They’d begun the right way, simply shifted their focus after circumstances allowed– or rather forced, them to.

That base strategy was straight from the Corp-playbook; re-branding. It had another name too, one far more powerful to a disenfranchised group seeking something more; Evolution. The one the corps had used time and again to validate their actions. The difference was, the scale would allow change in totality, and with utterly no chance or path of reversion.

Of course rallying around Lemaire’s death was convenient; the Paris Incident and its ignition of the Two-Week War forced the few undecided to finally choose sides. The unfortunate side-effect was untold deaths from Corps bombing civilians and rioters alike. Basically, a tantrum of epic portion.

A toll that might’ve been entirely avoided was laid at the feet of every person, man, woman, and child for seeing the injustices and not fighting back. No matter the side of the fence, Lemaire’s death signaled people were no different to Corps than any other expendable resource.

Between rumored brain-hacks, the car-bomb, and the scapegoating of Aug aggression as its cause, it was a wonder the fuse burned so long between times. That it did was a testament to the kind of change people needed, hoped for. It was hesitation that admitted they didn’t want to fuck things up, were damned well working not to, but that peaceful routes were running their course.

And they did.

The fuse burned down, sparking a global implosion that resulted in total collapse of Corporate existence. Culture did that. Or the attempt at one. People were objects; materials, resources. That wasn’t right. Ethics aside, it held no logic.

People weren’t meant to be resources bought, sold, traded, or exploited– they weren’t supposed to be consumed; they were supposed to consume.

But they weren’t consuming and only a few others were. A very select few. So few, in fact, even fewer could overthrow them en-masse no matter their own power. If played right, they needed only tease the promise of what Corps had yet never offered; personalized personability.

The tailoring of anything to one’s desires and without judgment or restriction formed the true foundation of the Resistance. The cultural renaissance that followed saw the futility in things like market-power over-regulation and censorship, because markets regulated power naturally once large enough.

The only barrier to accepting it at the broadest level was feeling outside of it. One could refuse improving a systemic culture more easily if they were part of it themselves. Especially if that culture needed no foundational improvements.

Later, of course, the truth of the illusion was revealed and people had no reason not to accept the new culture, but the totality of the corporate collapse by then, had little to do with the war itself.

It was the people fighting that mattered. Each had their own ideas and visions of a place in this potentially open and globally-connected world. Whether that was through innovations in tech or philosophy, there was no reason people couldn’t negotiate compromise, save competition.

Competition though, no longer needed to exist. In the postdigital age, everyone was equal. The resources were all there; scattered, certainly, but there and only in need of re-distribution. Competition wasn’t necessary anymore, only intelligent planning.

The former was a remnant of the Pre-Human era that survived because of its robustness and ubiquity in a fear-driven world. No longer required, competition could be officially relegated to an exercise in adrenaline, or for conflicts on scales larger than yet-Humanly possible. Those involved in it were glad to have it, while the rest were glad to be rid of it.

Competition could survive as little more than a new-age art-form and thus had no reason not to.

It was simple physics; paths of least resistance. The more a thing clamored to fulfill its role, the more energy it expended and the less effective it was at survival, if only rhetorically.

In short; Evolution was the process of honing biological life to perfection through the mechanism of adaptation. The same went for revision with software, and could go for change with Society.

In other words, constant, minor adjustments and refinements ensured survival. Whether from intent or will, nothing need be handled differently anymore because everything could be quantified, somehow. Quantity itself then became an art; of machined numbers and datum, but an art nonetheless.

Most importantly, if input into the right system, such principles of postdigital progress could do anything, anybody wanted.

In that way, Lemaire’s Resistance wasn’t a resistance at all. It was simply a majority overthrowing a former minority. The newly-dethroned disseminated power gained and lost by the likes of snake-oil salesman, brill-creamed con-men, and dark-spectaled suits. They’d formed pacts to better position their marks to buy and sell them back and forth en-masse, and panicked to death when people finally realized it was happening and ended it.

It took time though– and because of the severity of the grievances, blood.

Yet the foresighted once more led the way to light. It just so happened, that light was also the Resistance, thereby bringing to the fight many whom might have chosen pacifism for sake of family or obligation. That same devotion however, then allowed those lost to become paragons to those that remained.

As if through sheer need of people, the remembered became symbols to rallyboth groups and individuals. It was in this way Lemaire’s death had caused the Paris Incident.

The truly egregious trigger-point for outrage was the volatile mixture of changing culture meeting the bombings that followed.Lemaire was corporate, but human. Used and discarded. She was, like all peoplenow; just a resource, a statistic. One who’d outlived her time in the black, was now in the red from the media-risk inherent in her. Therefore, corporate culture dictated she be zeroed-out as quickly, quietly, and cleanly as possible.

The cheapest, most effective way required exploiting her death at larger scalesto maximize effectiveness. The corporate way dictated a car-bomb to suittheir desires. In one move, they could placetheir currently-manufactured scapegoats– Augs– from the news of the week (Aug aggression) in bed with long-running narratives against conventional fuels and private transport.

That idea secure, they buried reality beneath vague reports, inconsistent datum, late retractions, and less-publicized revisions– for clarifications no less vague but masked as natural fog.

And it backfired. In Totalilty.

People had been at odds with the cultural-divide too long. Nothing remained to cling to of the corporate entity. Money was killing everyone. Any residual effects and influence of corporate veneer too weak to distract from that. Rose-colored glasses could no longer be any less-jaded. More than, that they could now take off the glasses, see the vibrant world beyond.

Ultimately, what killed corps was a simple reality: Corporate culture was a construct. Culture was a natural force.

VIN 11: Postdigital Unity

As you age, you begin to see trends. Not the fads you saw in youth, but actual trends. They’re like fads but over long spans and incorporating them as well. They’re longer-form gravitations toward ideals. Cyclical recurrences of formerly-existent-but-now-refined ideas.

And the fact is, the vast majority of the first-gen postdigital kids (millennials?) are a bunch of weird creatures.

That’s not to say bad. Never mistake weird for bad. Gates was weird. Think he had it easy before he was making money? No way, man. He was fucking weird. Jobs was weird until he died. It was why he died; rejecting medical treatment in place of home-remedies and warm thoughts.

Fucking weird.

And it doesn’t just extend to intelligence types– though some call Jobs a con-artist before an innovator. That he was likely both is neither here nor there, as everyone’s the same in most ways. It’s merely context that changes. Humans have to be to survive. That’s Humanity. It’s adaptation. It’s Evolution; finding ways to thrive despite extreme, organic adversity.

Do not deny it’s truth. Rather, revel in it; first-gen postdigital kids, (millennials) are the weird generation.

Probably ‘cause we’re all prototypes raised dyslexic on television-frames and text flashing by at light-speed. By the time we’d finally taken our Ritalin and calmed down, it was lunch time and recess. After that, we came in exhausted, completely unaware of the world we were actually experiencing.

Once we came of age, we decided to slow down. Entirely.

Our generation has come to a screeching halt. Not only because of the economy, and external factors, which press in at us with each moment; but because of the sheer want to finally experience something without being forced through it.

This will hit deeper for some than others, but all of you know what I mean:

I recall being educated, but I do not recall my education.

A simple, yet resonant sentiment.

Thousands of years ago, when humans were first socializing into groups more complex than tribes, education was imparted through the same trial-error-observation platform used by all of science today. It was interpersonal in nature, but it was the same, conceptual idea.

Science as it is known today did not exist then. It could not. Not enough reference of civilization– or history– existed yet to be acted on by the call-function.

But now, times have changed. Technology has hurled us headlong. At speeds even we can’t comprehend. The issue is one of grasp; having any on the matters at-hand. As a civilization, Humanity is completely unprepared for the social requirements of a next-level society.

This is bad. Potentially, catastrophically so.

Historically, the less socially-prepared a civilization is to endure a change, the more likely it is to utterly collapse. Ultimately, Rome’s collapse was seeded by its inability to get anything done. Its politics and civics, until then its greatest strengths, began to collapse under the weight of their maintainers’ ignorance.

An innocent ignorance, to be certain, but one all the same. Worse, one no less harmful for it.

Likewise, the same is evident in Central and South Americas cultures whose great achievements rival that of the Pyramids. Ultimately, their culture died from failing to accept the very people they bled for the gods were the ones building their temples.

Eventually, something had to give. So it did. Simple as that.

Unfortunately, it also took with it much collected knowledge in the crossfire. Of all ancient cultures only the Egyptian knowledge is best kept, but notice their name absent above. Though the aforementioned are hardly the extent of cases, they are ideologically different. Egypt did not fall. It ceded its cultural prowess to Rome.

True, it did so largely as a result of decline, one culture’s decline is eternally another’s rise. A sentient species cannot exist culture-less. As postdigital humans can no longer exist information-less. Thus, culture moves always. And like all things, along paths of least resistance– and much too fast for any pre-digital age record-keeping methods.

It is only the postdigital world that can reconcile this; by becoming one culture, unified and constantly changing together.

Poetry-Thing Thursday: Merely Human

Close your mind,
and shut out life.
A beautiful thought.
No pain, no strife.

But no love. No Growth.
All darkness and an abyss.
A death of the spirit–
fate of the heartless.

All good things,
come from an open mind;
art, music, literature
the roots of our kind.

Imagine if the world,
closed down its doors,
turned out its lights,
cast off its moors.

Life as we know it would cease.
All our great progress,
turned to dust,
in the shadow of duress.

So keep it open,
and widen it if you can,
for the universe is larger,
and we are merely human.

Poetry-Thing Thursday: Distraction

Yellow. Orange. Black. White.
A rubber ducky in my sight.
I promise to speak of only right.
But I’m sure you’d like to fight.
Sorry, I don’t. Go fly a kite.
And while you’re at it, don’t be so uptight.

Smoke. Mirrors. Lights. Action.
You only go where you can gain traction.
With those whom form but a minuscule fraction,
of that which we call the “sub-human” faction.
The same kinds of folks that would caption.
Michelangelo’s David “distraction.”

What. Why. Who. Where.
That. ‘Cause. Them. There.
A fat man. A small man. An Au-paire.
A bald man. A shaved man. A man with long hair.
If only. If only. A blind-man could stare,
more men would take a lover, not a brood mare.

But tick. But Tock. But money. But mock.
I jest with the best whom can take a knock.
As meant to be, for even thee, must sometimes feel stock,
and believe in life as naught but a clock,
that’s ticking and flicking for a lone moment of shock,
but you know what I think– it’s all a crock.