VIN 23- Bullshit Without Context

Here’s my problem with the so-called light-net we use everyday: it’s full of bullshit.

Not the kind you think of first. Not ads, spam, morons– the elegantly meaningless bullshit spewn by people and organizations with no scruples and even lower intellect.

Rather, the deeper bullshit, after the moments of clarity from laughing, when you recognize the source. It’s the kind of bullshit where everyone needs to feel big sometimes, so they belittle, but its something more than bullying or memes can touch.

The net’s revealed one, crucial reality Humans have known but never faced before: Bullshit without context brings out our worst instincts.

Human History is rife with social catastrophes borne of crucial-yet-missed context. Nowadays most seeking to ridicule deliberately remove or ignore that context to a point of impotence. Doing so, they ridicule whole swaths of their species, whole disciplines of study, entire milennia of recorded history.

Rightfully or not, and just-so from circumstance rather than desire, makes no difference if it is devalued to impotence

Putting this more simply: it is foolish and unacceptable for any one of our species to isolate itself, let alone groups of us to– especially to other groups of our species.

No advanced society, awareness of status aside, would deliberately drive people to ignorance without ulterior motive. Ours does so, demonizing those its sees as peaceful, loving, accepting of change. In the meantime, and via others playing on fears or egos of their would-be-wards, are driven away from true knowledge and enlightenment.

Shame and fear turn people away from experiences. Often, based on others’ perceived reactions. Which they’ve no control over. That is therein turned to ignorance by circumstance, want of peace.

These are the effects of an aging system producing output errors visible only in its finest details. It is Chaos incarnate. Learning to spot the flaws in a system, social or otherwise, is what is required to prevent total collapse or decay.

It used to be that such ignorance was excusable due to Humaity’s isolated nature. Geography isolated culture, and culture insulated the individual against their neighbor.The Human-Mind, though capable of it, was not so thoroughly engaged as it now is.

Until recently, too much of life and time were spent in back-breaking labor and the simple assurance of survival. No mass-planning or growth could ever take place on the individual scale, let alone the social scale. The Civil Rights and Anti-War movements, Women’s suffrage, the French Revolution: all effects of Humans pressure-cooked to explosion.

Things are different now. Technology is at-play here. Television was big, but it didn’t fit in one’s pocket. It didn’t cast during storms. It couldn’t intercommunicate.

Predigital, Humans were auto-pilot only configurations. Technology has since reformed them into auto-pilot and operator configurations. Our ancestors’ ways will soon be lost to their efforts and those of their descendants. Very soon. Yet with so much change, so closely abound, Humans are forgoing all connection to sanity.

How? Allowing their species to repeat its own delinquently juvenile-mistakes. Overwhelmed or blind-sided, it must be overcome. The Human Condition is that Humans must thrive despite their flaws, always seeking the unattainable: perfection, because it is the ideal and ideals last longer.

Humans can overcome, yet our flaw is that we must when we should not have to. One need not touch a hot coal to be certain of its heat if history assures it. Rome fell because of simple problems people believed nonexistent, or at the very least, inexplicable.

This current madness is yet another “Gods Must be Crazy” of civilization. A culture shock to be sure, but so long as we keep our heads, survivable.

Until then, we are willingly complicit in the tainted pipe-lines, the civic laziness, their existence; whether by allowing others to drink or forcing them to. We may only change this if we, as a species, come to recognize it as only an extension of the Human Condition. We, as a species, must recognize Humanity is not ordered, but that order can and may exist. Chiefly; by Humanity, to aid its sustenance and growth– as a whole, as well as individuals.

If we do not come to recognize this, Insanity will take over. Chaos in the system will lead once more to its fall. And due to the datum– the contexts and subjects involved, possibly the Human species altogether. Whether that is through an evolution or extinction seems the only question.

Our species suffers when any one of us is disparaged in intelligence and opportunity. The sooner we realize this, the better off we’ll be.

A century ago, when governments controlled everything, they feared that. Who wouldn’t? Information, the right kind, could tip the balance of power in instants. The individual had no power, not as it was. They did however, have the ability to rally others. Which meant keeping dissent down for fear of being overthrown.

Especially then, it was a legitimate fear. Governments were relatively new. Monarchys, Tsardoms, empires– all the norm until too recently, and with a bad habit of rallying themselves like Napoleon after Elba. Often, they came back and retook more ground than before, destroying any new, systemic improvements to society for the sake of their own power.

Until society at-large, and those in places of power and control, recognize the pointless futility of attempting to flex authority over natural, systemic, societal evolution, our species can go no further. Worse, we might meanwhile go extinct as a result of the aforementioned few, their choices or lack thereof, and their effects.

A politician denying a factual report opens the door for others to do the same. When these same individuals form groups, their power heightens exponentially. They know this. Allowing for it is dangerous through the sheer fact that humans, no matter their ideology, are often wrong.

Beginning to understand my concerns better?

Guardians of Liberty: Part 14

14.

Planning Glory

N1T3 sat in the control room before a secure terminal rigged for access to the station’s servers but with no direct, external net-access. Riter would’ve set it up that way, forcing any extra-net-connections to be temporary, masked via dynamic, random, one-time addresses and connections.

Merely another level of security: a temporarily enabled function to ensure against intruders. Data rather than the machines, were what mattered. Machines could be replaced. Data could not. It could however, be backed-up. Infinitely.

Masking made sense for a static location. Dynamic addresses carried inherently more security. On one, digital-level, the servers always stayed put. On another, they never had a fixed address. Physically, of course, they were locable, but only accessible or identifiable to the properly skilled. Even then, there were no links, digital or otherwise, that one belonged in any way to the other.

Riter may have owned servers, but $trydr was an entity elsewhere. Living in a different world.

For now at least. Soon enough someone would track Martin Black here. Whether it was a simple conclusion, or a wafer-thin trail, something would lead corp-sec here to question, intimidate. Riter would tell the whole truth and nothing but….

For precisely as long as it suited him.

Like the rest of them, $trydr was a hacker. His status visible via his servers. True, you had to know the address, but if you did, you always knew where to find them, and thus him. Likewise, he needed to remain largely hidden through casual obscurity. The kind in a phone book; there, but gone in an instant, save to those seeking him.

Obscurity had first brought Martin Black and Terry Riter together as friends. That kind of youthful obscurity shrouded in the same, chaotic unknowns invisible to all but those momentarily living them. The friendship that endured two lifetimes, now looking to come to a close, would only do so in a way neither could avert nor regret.

N1T3 was being hunted. Likely due to his stubborn, fool-headedness, he’d be caught. Corp-sec’s trial-by-bullet would proclaim him guilty and sentence him to death in one squeeze. Whatever remained afterward was what he built until then.

The only way anyone could move past Martin Black’s failings to see the true moral of his life, they needed to see what N1T3 had done. Few could have helped him more than those few closest. $trydr’s honor-bound obligation ensured he helped. Not just because he was needed for it, but because everyone needed it; the concept of honor.

Digital honor. That was the importance of N1T3’s mission. The importance of the difference between Martin Black’s past and N1T3’s present: Humanity had changed, evolved, and could continue to. Change was finally possible, for the betterment of one and all, or not at all. Nothing between was allowable.

Like Ket, $trydr was committed, however currently indisposed. He’d let N1T3 have run of the control room. Somewhere Dru was sitting, dispatching calls relayed through from patient for doctor before ever seeing scrubs.

N1T3 took the opportunity to prep her proof for the net. He couldn’t release it yet, unwilling as he was to risk her or $trydr more of a target. By the end of the file, he wished he’d hadn’t bothered–however glad he was for his empty stomach.

The photos were captured with various changes in scenery and style, but formed the long, sordid details of a murder so gruesome and personal N1T3 wasn’t sure how anyone had survived it, let alone a whole world. He’d known Dru’s strength could be tenfold his, but never so viscerally. With it, was the reality of the world necessary for it to exist.

N1T3’s death, his life, mattered more to everyone else than to him. They felt what he could not. Not from incapability, but lack of opportunity that now looked never to come.

I loved Martin Black. I do not love N1T3.

N1T3 was a blank slate. He knew no-one and no-one knew him. The few that sensed the phoenix beneath the ash would help it rise, but the rest would wait. It was necessary. Eternally, the issue was time. Worse was the caveat of having no ideas to its remainder, save it was short and growing shorter. Time was the pulsing beat of a dying heart. Each rest longer and longer. Each pump slower. Until finally, those last breaths. Then, no more come.

The likelihood of those breaths being amid violence grew larger by the moment. Hope was making it worth every second until then. Only two paths remained available to that, but N1T3 would ensure he did all he could to allow for both. Both were important together. Duality was the core concept of binary systems, the shaft upon which the gear of the postdigital revolution would turn.

Embedding the knowledge that multiple solutions to problems always existed, into the social conscience, kept people from ever thinking they couldn’t exist. Ultimately, that was the point of the vision. The dream. The model society.

It would never be achieved.

That was also the point; have a goal to strive for, allow for healthy competition, level-fields, even dirty tricks, without also destroying the basis of all Human freedom: Unity. Such nuance kept a social society from devolving into a cannibalistic one.

Modern society was nothing if not cannibalistic. Corporations were a manifestation of the very necessity to safe-guard against it. Regulation had become so impossible though, that even the economies bidding off one another couldn’t see the next-level capability they weren’t utilizing.

Society had become global the instant wires spanning it interlinked. Up to then, geography had dictated cultures, but the utter lack of any, unified them all. Human-kind went with it.

The problem N1T3 and his ilk had encountered with it was greed. Manifesting unequaled fervor, it gorged itself on a new type of power. One that, by virtue of its own place before the power’s inception, allowed its individual components to obtain greater priority in its interior food-chain.

Businessmen become magnates and barons of resource. That money, gone by the fifth generation was now renewed on a new gold-rush: identity-theft. That, in itself, was the very darkness at the heart of all evil. The same, in fact, of someone willing to sell enchained relatives and rationalize it as skin-color.

But magnates were old-money types; didn’t give a shit about anyone but themselves. Why should they? No-one ever gave a shit about them. They had what they wanted and came when summoned until others stop noticing if they didn’t. That alone was the story of their entire generation, their father’s, and grandfather’s generations.

Tycoons, so far distant from Earth they knew only clouds. They’d built fortunes now squandered until Titans no longer. By then the generation’s lazy complacency made them fine with the idea. By then, all survival required was fucking over the rest of Humanity, but what did they care? They weren’t human anymore. They were more.

Now, so was Humanity.

Old-money thinking had collided with reality, the result was a postdigital epitaph being written in gibberish. Not exactly a fitting start for an advanced species.

So, N1T3 would change things. With his digital plumbing. His postdigital aquifers. Built with the few, meager resources at his disposal the only way he knew how: through the indifferent necessity of the binary system. The True and False. 0 and 1.

Perhaps, if he lived long enough, one day the world would carry more color again. He doubted it would come to pass. No matter how much he embraced the idea, prepared for it, he wasn’t likely to see its reality. That was okay though. He knew from the beginning it was a possibility, had never begun to envision himself as anything more than the first reference level.

Which he wasn’t. Not really. N1T3 was just another freedom fighter. A guardian of Liberty. One whom watered its tree, whether with blood or water, but only his own. That which he himself would take or shed, but only as he saw fit.

For this, he would give the last drop to succeed.

He found himself at his safe-house later in the afternoon, uncertain how he’d gotten there. Sleep was needed, Riter’s hospitality notwithstanding.

First, he needed to get Dru’s intel out. No-one would know it was her, but they’d know the information’s importance. Even if it were linked back to her, $trydr had every intention and instruction to blame N1T3.

He would. What difference did it make, save maintaining his own cover or not?

The world was growing more dangerous by the moment. N1T3’s vision needed more allies than him. If that meant sacrificing himself for them, he would. It was that important. Already guaranteed to live beyond him, as all things digital, this could earn something more– immortality in an already postdigital world.

Humans weren’t quite there yet, but it would happen. One day. How and why were yet to be determined. So long as they continued to exist, they would one day reach it whatever the compromises along the way. N1T3 was merely doing his part to ensure their survival until that point.

Unfortunately those opposing him had numbers. Infinitely more, too.

Then again, N1T3 knew systems, that it was next to useless to attempt understanding any one component without fully knowing the whole’s purpose. In other words, the Human element was never predictable, could only be accounted for in so far as could any unpredictability. It still didn’t prepare him.

The post went live 23:00, +96 hours after Clockwork and An33$a’s deaths.

N1T3 couldn’t handle his exhaustion any longer. He collapsed into bed, completely unaware of the chaos he’d awake to.

VIN 22- Halls of The Universe, pt. 1

I started writing when I was about six. Doesn’t everyone?

As soon as I could pick up a pen, I began writing. My mother, an oldschool reader, subscribed to volumes of collections of fairy-tales as a child and filled the house with books until the shelves sagged. My father, though not traditionally “literate,” held true the written word enough to have learned most skill through self-teaching manuals.

Thus, the vein of story is pure and deep within me. It’s no surprise I became a writer. Though spending life attempting to please others is not the way to go, it does not devalue what you learn of yourself along the way. For me, that was fiction. Stories. Information. Then later, technology and science, truth and justice. Text. Words.

For words are power: true, eternal power.

What separates us from the so-called inferior boils down to language. One need only look to history books to see as much. Especially with regard to North American and European history, the barrier between “civilized” and “savage” was based upon whether one spoke specific languages– usually, those of whites, Caucasians, Europeans, and later, North Americans.

This extreme and prejudicial example is no less repeated in regard to anthropocentric– that is, Human-centered, views on Death, the Multiverse, and Nothing. The problem is, these views are subject to mob mentality as a result of their manifest by the group. Simply: Death, the Multiverse, and Nothing, are concepts too big for one person alone to understand and thus require the effort of the group.

Big jobs need more people. Simple enough, right? Right.

The catch, as always: this reality means the mob-mentality– or that state of chaos roused by inexplicable rage, fear, or inner turmoil, can also exist.

This is not seen in other animals. However, the reason’s likely a result of Human intellectuality placing them as ecologically dominant. It is quite possible, given enough Evolution, any remaining lineage of Earth-animal surviving alongside Humanity long enough would inherit its traits. Intelligence being its defining trait, would only increase the likelihood of that trait being made manifest.

Evolution would need only, as a result of the same naturally-selective processes, on social-scales, eliminate those traits. To do otherwise would avoid evolutionary paths-of-least-resistance, which is counter to nature’s tendencies.

In essence, if dogs or cats could live in large, intelligent enough groups, for long enough, they might too become as complex socially as Humans. Canids and Felidae alongside Homo sapiens in the halls of the Universe isn’t the worst idea, but it does require compromise on the largest scales of Human Ego.

Then again, maybe that’s the point.

Guardians of Liberty: Part 12

12.

Decentralized Conscience

The vision came in flashes. Impressions overlapping of historical and fictional realities. As if a digital image composed of multiple others, each flash was a reality to come. Each one, the minute breath of wind slowly forming a word stretched too far in space and time.

Darkness. Fires burning. People marching. Tattered Flags. Bodies. Ruins. It was coming. Nothing could change it. Only between here and there could anything be done. And only after, an outcome decided. Nothing beyond or otherwise would change.

The system was set. Through-put was in motion. Output was inevitable– whatever the cost or damage. In the middle would be N1T3’s postdigital, social spine. His aquifers, fountains, their idea; gathering places tuned by their most frequent users and owners. Joy. Civilization. Mental and social stimulation. Freedom.

Any purpose to tailor the system to, socially, would come by way of organic need. Like Rome and its pipes. N1T3’s pipes were digital, true, but pipes nonetheless. Postdigital children– like N1T3, Ket, Riter, Dru– were conquering with them, gaining authority, but the system was decentralized and thus so was any power they might have had through that authority.

It was a collective Human-conscience made manifest. Rather than from within however, it was being piped-in and through all of civilization in as high a volume as its source allowed. Its delivery was digital, rather than analog; bits in place of water. Its purpose and point were need and solution. It was both miner and ore. Centrally accessible and yet universal. Adaptable, yet rigid. Flowing, yet fixed.

Like Dru, N1T3 knew.

Dru1d was a special case. Almost hadn’t been. She’d gradually evolved into more, proving not only her resilience but character therein. Like Ket, she was more than human, but unlike her not quite a force or direct fount of nature’s power.

Rather, Dru was a reactant. The type to respond, rebuild, heal if necessary. In a way, it was N1T3 she thanked for that blossoming into a person: adult and woman. In another way, she absolutely detested him for Martin Black’s part in her past, wounds that would never heal, scars that could never be forgotten.

Martin Black had betrayed her. Deeper than even Ket. Dru and Martin had known each other too long. Their relationship began in a day of fluttered lashes and butterflies. Childhood tingles of delight disguising deep, true love. Impossible as it seemed, such was the way of children. It would pass–unless recurring.

Especially in wake of unfulfilled promises, those recurrences added up. Their embittering effects,as all postdigital children knew, were inevitable. But their catalysts were not. For Dru, those catalysts were most painful to bear. N1T3 was one; if not in cause, then subject.

Forgiveness of any kind was doubly hard for Dru. N1T3 had burned her not just personally, but through others. Notably, $trydr. The baggage of Martin’s friendship burdened her even now. Whether she cared for her own, aged wounds or not, she’d still have to care for those caused by Martin.

N1T3 reconsidered Riter’s assessment and in spite of everything, sensed him correct. Dru would forgive him one day. Beyond Riter’s own knowledge of her, its proof was evident in her help. It was the defiance of one hating another’s guts whilst still stitching them back in place.

It was the mentality of a healer– a true healer.

One, above all, who’d made it her personal mission to prove Martin Black wrong: that she was more, a means of support, and there to stay. In his case, a friend whether he liked it or not. When confrontation came, as N1T3 knew it would, he’d freeze for a moment. That slight hesitation would confirm everything he’d been forced to recalculate.

She’d know then that she was right. He’d know, too. His actions thereafter would determine their future– if there was one.

In the end, N1T3 knew it was Dru’s way, knew her path to forgiving him as he knew her heart: from knowing his own. They had shared something, long ago. What, neither knew, but Martin had forever damaged it.

N1T3 could never forget that.

Now, Martin was gone and N1T3 remained. Probably, only for now. Corp-sec was still hunting him. They’d still kill him. The die had been cast. The future foretold. He, like Clockwork, and An33$a would die against corporations in open war; in opposition to a stranglehold over information, freedom.

I loved Martin Black. I do not love N1T3.

Like Ket, Dru did not know N1T3. She knew only someone wearing the mask of Martin Black and all he was to her, the world. Yet N1T3 knew her, but not in the ways now mattering most. Worst, he might never get the chance to.

Flashes of the logic-vision were still indecipherable. Too muddied in grays. Colors. Absolutes. The knowing of something terrible and precise, yet cryptic and vague. The knowing of Death; its presence on the horizon.

Dru hadn’t seen those visions. Not yet. Not until $trydr re-encrypted and passed them off.

“She shouldn’t know,” N1T3 said, finally breaking the silence.

“I can’t keep it from her.”

“She won’t ask.”

“She’ll know.”

“Terry,” he said, with deeply serious eyes. “I do not deserve the easy forgiveness of pity. If she’s to forgive me, she must do it her own way.”

“I will not keep secrets from her,” he vowed.

“I wouldn’t ask you to,” N1T3 assured, equally grave. “I’d only ask you not volunteer anything. If she should ask, by all means explain. Fill in anything she might miss. Only then can she understand and see it too, but help her. Don’t force her.”

“You’re asking a lot.”

“I only ask that you love your wife.”

He grit his teeth. It was a cheap-shot. They both knew it. Riter took it. Cheap or not, N1T3 was right. $trydr gave a heaving sigh, then a fading growl.

“Very well.” He recovered, cleared his throat. “Then we begin now. Time is running short.”

For me, especially.

N1T3 refused the thought further leverage, even to acknowledge Riter’s passive sensing of it. N1T3 needn’t go further on the thought anyhow. Riter was the call-check. N1T3 had passed it long-before it was ever made: a working system didn’t need revision until it was to be improved.

Then, all that mattered was whether output improved.

For now, the vision was most important, N1T3’s communication of it. A clear one. N1T3 was wanted; slated to be made an example of. He could be dead from one moment or the next. In a way, it was usual. In another, it was worse than nuclear. The vision couldn’t be allowed to go with him. It needed transference, back-up. As many levels of redundancy built in as possible, and as fast as possible.

Ket was one level, but only one level. And the more the better.

Between Ket, $trydr, and N1T3, they could do enough to make the idea take hold on their own; give its existence its own redundancies by exhibiting its very utility, but only if the idea were completely and properly relayed.

$trydr and N1T3 sat across from one another at a small, foldout table in one corner of the room. The former sat upright spryly, lighting a long-stem pipe with a wood match. He looked dangerously fantastical. N1T3 had never seen such greatness manifest in a postdigital child.

Yet there it was.

“Begin simply,” $trydr instructed.

In a postdigital world, whether the object of discussion was a system, person, event, feeling, or something other, didn’t matter. Properly conveying which it was, did. Only then could true exchange and understanding begin. The rest was done by feel. If a feeling was off, the transfer-rate or method was off. Change it. It was a self-correcting system, self-limiting via its variables. A basis of knowledge– the Human one at least.

N1T3 had been through it once, more or less, with Ket. She felt things more than $trydr, but he needed no less understanding. It was only Martin Black’s posthumously-recognized talent of trafficking in both psyches that allowed N1T3 to convey to both worlds at once. That duality meant he could speak to anyone.

If Christ had been so good, there’d be less doubt in the world.

“Knowledge. The net. Liberty.” N1T3 began.

$trydr gave a tired breath beneath his throat. It might’ve been a groan were he not so certain of the conversation’s importance. N1T3 wasn’t likely to waste his time with this as an amateur might.

He continue unabated, “It’s information. It needs to be protected and secured.”

“Crypto evolves, N1T3. Always.”

“Not just the machines,” he corrected. “The idea. Information is not the type of resource capable of mismanagement. It is not a consumable. We cannot cope without it. We cannot exist without it. It is us– as much as water, blood, or carbon.”

$trydr’s hand rose, “You’ve no need to rush here. So long as you’re within this building you’re protected. That will not last should they come to call, but until then, you needn’t speak with more speed than necessary.”

N1T3 heaved a tired sigh. “I’m running out of time and have even less of it each moment.”

$trydr’s wood-bark face, eternally carved to wisdom, lifted a brow. “Even for old friends?”

N1T3 relaxed, taking $trydr’s pipe as it was graciously offered. He lit a wood match on his boot, let it flare, then began to puff. The scent and taste of something lemon and honey lit his sinuses beneath cool, mellow smoke. He let it swirl about his airways and tongue, savoring it.

Then, he began. “The Human race’s future is indivisibly linked to information, Riter. Our species’ very existence demands that, with one, comes the other. History has shown this–“

“Thus far,” $trydr reminded.

N1T3 gave a slight nod with another long draw of smoke. “We are now in an age where technology presents the possibility for true equality among all peoples.”

“Through the delivery of information,” he surmised. “Its anonymity or not.”

N1T3 nodded. He sat forward, deliberately setting the pipe on the table’s edge. Riter watched with equal deliberateness. It teetered on the edge, its contents still fresh.

A moment of mental anguish gripped $trydr. The pipe teetered, ready to spill. $trydr verged on panic. N1T3 read it in his eyes– that distant, internal willing to keep things from going wrong.

“Yet, the status quo remains unchanged,” N1T3 said, lifting the pipe again and setting it in the center of the table, his point made.

Riter’s eyes followed.

In that instant, $trydr saw hints of what N1T3 was getting at: it wasn’t that authority was safe in their or anothers’ hands, but rather it was only safe in all of their hands. Or more succinctly, information was never safe in any one person’s hands. It had to be so pervasive as to be obscure, relevant only to the Seeker, so abundant as to be benign.

And it wasn’t.

Information was being monetized, milked, stolen, hoarded– even by the very people trying to safeguard it. Forcing them to change tactics to truly preserve it was the goal. Making those same forces of resistance flexible was needed to maintain order.

N1T3’s Aquifers. His fountains. His Roman-era monuments: more than just an idea, they were a statement. Humanity had been here before. It could be here again. Most of all, it was here now. And it was teetering.

Rome fell from the top-down from laziness and bad piping. Science, having not been advanced at the time, and yet to contend with the dark ages, remained in its infancy.

What was the postdigital world’s excuse, N1T3 asked.

$trydr saw then, it wasn’t just a question, but a demonstration of his detractors’ wrongness. Those detractors, in this case, were the system; corporations masquerading as independents but buying lawmakers by the truckful.

The problem was, as any could see, this was a rather profitable way of doing things. Dirty or not. In revealing and pinpointing how they were doing it, why, those like N1T3 had made themselves targets.

It change nothing, $trydr argued. They were aiming for N1T3, but they’d cut down his allies all the same. It was simply that no-one wanted to be the first to do it. Yet. Once it started, it wouldn’t end.

It wasn’t just N1T3. It was all postdigital children. The watchers. The ones stuck between permanent adolescence and the encroaching, utter oblivion of old-age. Of course they were frightened, $trydr knew. They had every right to be. Few were anywhere near as insulated as he himself, Dru, or their own through them– and that insulation was paper-thin, worst of all. All it did was isolate them for those that might’ve otherwise sympathized.

Once, Martin Black might have been part of that circle. N1T3 was not. It was then $trydr was forced to confront his own part in things. N1T3 watched it rise with dread in his heart and tears in his eyes.

He spoke softly, “No feeling creature blames another for forgetting its name in fright. It does remain however, that fear or the bearer must pass, so that others might know or learn it.”

Another cheap shot. This one at himself, to his own feelings. $trydr’s chest tightened and his face soured with pain. N1T3 put his head down, hands cupped around the pipe, and pressed it forward across the table.

From his place, $trydr saw N1T3; the formless, faceless lump, bowing before him for forgiveness. Not only for Martin Black, but the burden N1T3 now forced him to bear. If N1T3 should fall, those he knew well would not be far behind. Either they would be forced to take flight, live on the run or underground, or die for what they knew had begun.

As binary as the world it came from. The one of hunter or hunted, powered or not, 0 or 1. Nothing $trydr or anyone else could do could change that. Sooner or later, his friend would be dead, a martyr for his– everyone’s cause.

$trydr leaned forward, eyes only hinting wetness. He clasped his hand atop N1T3’s, “We will make it glorious, my friend.”

VIN 20- Thus, We Resist

The only problem with America is that it has always been acceptable for large portions of it to be uneducated.

After the fall of Southern Slavery, that divide became smaller and smaller, resulting in less educational inequality. The seeming Broca-Divide between those diseased with poverty, and those with eloquence and refinement, was nearly erased. At least so far as history had yet recorded. Then came the re-institution of racism in the national-jingoist’s mind, the rise of the Civil Rights movement.

These were effects of the disturbing changes in modern-day comforts. Suddenly, instead of seeing a local newsman lazily predicting weather, people were seeing whole swaths of others being brutalized or disruptive.

Regardless of sides of the fence, fires were stoked. Indeliberately, but undeniably.

These realities though still existent, seemed to subside with the growing pace of the Vietnam war’s end, and the sleek fast-moneyed cocaine-lifestyle of the 80s. However, that lifestyle had a seedy underbelly that millions were suffering from the cost of fueling it. In context, Cocaine was black market. Black market was bad. Not because it is, inherently– it is only a concept for the market of that which is prohibited but needed, and thus, unregulated– but because it was perceived to be and treated as such. (Whether it’s worth long term stability to remain so is a matter unto itself.)

However, those suffering from that underbelly were those so recently disenfranchised– whatever the effect, because they, as components of the system of society, were yet in the final stages of their own turbulence.

In essence, civil-rights and peace movements weren’t done moving, but they were slowing– if only to come to a stop at having yet nowhere to go next.

That was exacerbated later, by those other-but-corrupt elements of the system (society) that had struck back at those slowing, causing them to speed up, swerve, and nearly lose control. It was like a retributive game of rural-road chicken.

The crack and heroin epidemics of the 80s and 90s gave way to such current nuisances as the Drug-war and Opioid epidemics– whose pre-digital mindsets are entirely products of their time. Psychology dictates prohibition is doomed to fail. Human curiosity, that which is relied upon for us to survive and thrive, does not allow for prohibition except when used to challenge oneself.

While these aforementioned epidemics are of the worst kinds, in that they harm those involved more greatly than they could ever help, it remains that it is not in the prohibition nor prosecution of these behaviors, Human efforts should be focused. Rather, evidence best indicates its focus should be on treating their underlying causes.

Escapism will never be entirely voluntarily. It is, if only partially, a compulsion for Humans that comes from their need of, and connection to, imagination. It is why, despite the existence of videography, pure type still exists. There is a want, need even, for the Human mind to capably escape its reality in as many ways as possible.

The reason is simple: Stress is a killer.

Medical science knows this now. Society knows it, too. Likewise through Medical-Science, it is known as unavoidable, useful even: as much a part of the Human condition as water, oxygen, excretion, or death. An equal imperative in life to keep itself living. As well, through Physics, we know each action has an equal and inverse reaction.

These principles, reversely applied to escapism, reveal its engineering as a mechanism of action for coping as much as needed or desired. The problem with the aforementioned epidemics, and their connection, means they’re byproducts of the same underlying issues.

Simply: No pure-escapist, uninfluenced by external sources, wishes escapism badly enough to rot their teeth and smell like bleach and cat-piss from crack. Such a person would be like a connoisseur of animal shit: probably necessary, but limited in number for sake of natural process rather than want.

To simplify even further, the extremes one may go to in their escapism may correlate the depths of their damage. Speaking generally, the higher you wish to soar, the deeper you live– unless you’re Tolkien’s Dwarves.

But education, its seeming lack of pervasiveness in a so-called “educated society,” dictates we are anything but. Mostly, because en-masse Humans have failed to grasp the simple concept that to learn, one must be willing to do so.

With that comes a harsh reality: Humans don’t care to learn. They care to be led. To change the people, they must understand why they must change. It is why the addict seeks help only after admitting their addiction.

Thus Humans must wish to learn, so that they might see the beauty inherent in what it grants– why it is crucial to existence as a whole, as a “next-level” species to do so.Because otherwise Humanity is built on a foundation of animals shit, rather than something lasting.

To resist that, guide the change properly, allows all involved to be apart of something grand. It makes each participant like a kind of royalty.

Until that is recognized, treated as such, Humanity cannot hope to even begin grasping the challenges before us. When such challenges threaten our existence as a whole, it is dangerous to ignore them– Climate change. War. Nuclear anything. Planetary catastrophe. Extra-solar catastrophe…

We must remain focused on our individual goals, the healing ones– for ourselves and those around us. Otherwise, the systems needed to be in place to prevent catastrophe– for us and our progeny– will not do so.

Thus, we resist.

Guardians of Liberty: Part 11

11.

$trydr

A face emergedlike the Cheshire cat appearing from darkness. N1T3 was Alice. In place of glowing bulb-eyes were others much more keen and calculating. The scruff-jawed face, aged as N1T3’s, held a wisdom many years beyond even the eldest of those N1T3 knew.

One, fluid motion, propelled $trydr forward. A fist collided with N1T3’s jaw, as the opposite pulled him into a hug. N1T3 recovered immediately, finding himself led forward as if nothing had happened.

He rubbed his left jaw, “Could’ve warned me, Riter.”

They passed into a stairwell, ascending toward the station-proper. “I was glad to hear you weren’t dead,” $trydr said, leading him past a formerbunk-room and toilets,now altered in purpose.

“Never would’ve expected to hear that,” N1T3 admitted. “Appreciate it though.”

N1T3 rubbernecked; the station was largely unchanged since youth.In a way, so wholly different it could never be anything near the same. Mostly, it was missing the people. The ones that made it okay to be a burnout, so long as you contributed.

Usually, that’d meant keeping the place from the scrap heap. Other times, it was stockingit with food and other essentials. He and Riter were gophers then. Kids taught right and wrong from sweat on their browand goodness in their hearts. Not arbitrary rules, to be bent with the right social status.

Riter’s father was an old man even before he was born; he’dremarried late,during a 20-year career firefighting. After Riter, hewent on to be Chief another 20 years– well-past normal retirement.But Riter’s old man had done few things right. He gambled and owed money, fought, occasionally drank too much, and often ended up riding the station’s couch from it.

All the same, none would’ve spoken ill of him. He knew right and wrong, if only because he toed and crossed that line too often himself.

When he finally died, Riter was forced to leave the station– the place he’d spent his whole life. That is, until he’d somehow occupied and fortified it. If $trydr was stayinghere, as he was beginning to suspect, N1T3 knew where he’d set up. Knew it… like he knew he’d find him here.

Fact was, it only made sense for a former Chief’s son to buy his father’s old station-house after it was salable. Only a fool wouldn’t have seen its value. So long as one could afford it, why not? Like N1T3, Riter had plenty stashed in assets and currencies. In the end, the how made sense but thewhy perplexed him.

$trydr glanced over his shoulder as he ascended a pair of steps.He hesitated with a warm nod, then ushered N1T3 into the office. A memory of the dispatch desks, half-empty, superimposed onto their new reality of total-occupation of tech.

The windows were low-lit, covered by cloth to let just enough light in to show day, but not betray a light or two being on low at night. At that, the room was low-lit. The glow of monitors supplementing cool light from a few dozen clusters here and there; in corners, along walls, and scattered about a central section of former desk-consoles.

Servers. Cheap. But liquid cooled. Silent. Powerful. Riter shut the door behind N1T3 and began to lead him around. Each cluster was running open software– and given Riter’s paranoia, secured by nonsensical alpha-numerics and heavy encryption.Perfect.

“I still don’t understand what you’re doing here.”

“Waiting for you.”

N1T3 hesitated, eying a monitor, “All this…. it’s legitimate?

“Nothing but.”

If N1T3 was surprised before, he was utterly stupefied now.

He suddenly understood; like Ket, Riter had been waiting for him. Over the decade since Martin Black’s demise, his former comrades had been building a shrine to his ideals. Not to him per-se, nor even his words, but his ideals nonetheless.The same ones he’d helped spread in the time-before, was helping to secure the future of now.

Except, they weren’t his ideals. Not really. He knew that now. They never had been, for that matter. He simply knew and spoke of them first, before the masses caught on. When the others were still struggling to find their words. Not from malice, but immaturity.

Martin Black had been forced to live lifetimes before his time. In that, he gained a wisdom that made N1T3 the force he was. The problem was, that blinded him to certain, other aspects of himself that were immature. Again, not from malice, but simple lack of contextual maturation.

Because of that, too, N1T3 had learned how indelible the ink of life was. Was determined to find a way to make the most his, by ensuring no-one ever had to fear nor experience that indelibility early.

He began to nod, “You want me to link them.”

$trydr smiled, “Still sharp. Good. You’ll need it.”

N1T3 stopped at a server running an open file-browser. He knew $trydr’d left it open for him, like he knew everything else. He knew too what he’d find in it. He didn’t really care to look, but did for the sake of respect. The effort Riter would’ve gone through to collect the data was worthy of gratitude, if nothing else.

N1T3 began sifting the open directory. Thousands of image files appeared as just-discdernible thumbnails. With them came thousands, then millions of moments. They hit N1T3 in the gut harder than Riter had in the face. He doubled over, having preferred a repeat of that instead.

A series of pained moments. Flashes of light. Darkness. Shadows moving.

He found himself on his hands and knees, the weight of Riter’s hands on him. A third-person’s presence; slender-boned fingers at his neck. Dru1d. Of all things, N1T3 never expected to find $trydr’s wife tending to him.

N1T3 was braced on the floor, hands holding him up. The gut punch had winded, staggered, and rattled him. If he’d been in a boxing ring, it would’ve been a two-hit, one-round fight. A disappointment, in a way.

His viscera returned as she lilted, “… normal for something like this.”

“Psychological?”

“One triggers the other.”

Her voice rubbed his ears like silken woodwinds. His rumbled like a floor-tom. N1T3’s world focused. “I’m fine now.” He rose slowly. “Better anyhow.” They spotted him upward. “What the hell happened?”

“Memory recall,” she said firmly, already on-guard. “It’s painful.”

“That was intense.”

“You repressed a lot, Martin,” $trydr said. “It’s going to take time for it to decompress.”

“But it will. Soon,” she warned, about-facing to storm out. “I’d suggest you have something for his head then.”

N1T3 supported himself on a nearby console while $trydr brought chairs, “Angrier than you now.”

“You blame ‘er?”

N1T3 remained silent, waiting for Riter to stop and sit himself, and deeply considering the question. Close as the three had once been, Martin Black’s wounding carelessness affected healers worst of all. At that, N1T3 was certain Dru was. Not a false healer either, but a true healer; one whose essence aligned with her polarity.

Not only had she been directly wounded by Martin, she’d spent the better part of the time between tending to wounds he’d had a hand in creating. From her perspective, how was he not to blame?

N1T3 finally sighed, “Not in the least, Riter. Never.”

He managed a small smile, a wise-glint conveying a depth of gratitude. “Then in time, she’ll heal. That’s what she does.”

He thought to inquire further, but knew her time would come. Even if it was only a parting word, she would have her say. He only hoped she’d be gracious enough to allow him an apology– maybe one day, forgiveness.

He hoped, then remembered he might not live long enough to see it.

With all the weight of the world crushing into him, N1T3’s reality manifested on his features. In that moment, time ceased to exist for $trydr. He saw his old friend now as pale, shadowy husk of his former self. Worse, he saw now the madness that had begun in earnest. Not only N1T3’s, but his own part in it.

As N1T3’s part in Ket’s play.

$trydr had always known he had a part to play, how to prepare for it. Only until the play was in motion would they know if he’d done enough. Now, he understood and saw N1T3’s reality better than any before, and it was bleak. Bleaker than even his own reality, by virtue of their differing statuses.

In that moment too, N1T3 saw the look he’d had himself when he’d seen the vision of the future. Not through supernatural or precognizant power, but logical deduction. That moment of lip-parted terror-eyed recognition.

The one that ended in seemingly one, credible way: with N1T3 as martyr.

VIN 15- Isolation is Bad, Mmkay?

Isolating one’s self, at base form, means making oneself more alone. A person may do this themselves, with no-one else around or in a small group. Historically, large groups do it too: religious ones. Conservative, racial, and prejudicial ones. Even whole countries can become isolated through politics, geography, or economics. Through-out human history, the delineations of most of these groups were more or less the result of fear, necessity.

People walled themselves behind castles first as protection.

Long before fiefdoms played much part in society however– and conquest proved itself so fruitful, did the idea of nation-states as border-lands come to be. Now, countries and groups expand most often with economics: reserved military might, threats, intimidation, the like. All bullshit tactics to feed the bigger-stick persona of fuck-you-got-mine.

But ultimately, Human society lives now in a postdigital world. One where, by its very nature, virtuosity or purity matters not. Humans have learned to see existence as 0s and 1s: the pure manifestation of every universal truth summed up therein. There is no gray, because we are the gray. There is only input/output, systems of it fractalized and scaled to every possible level of reality, infinity, and not. Information– datum, is infinite and finite. All and nothing. Both black and white, but also neither.

We are everything else. The color spectrum between. And because of that, our existence dictates that black and white are, in fact, different from color: from gray. From us. Yet somehow, Humans still allow ourselves– force even, to believe we’ve utterly no say over these facts, no effect on them. We believe they they’re otherwise divine instruments, not structures formed of tools by the very logical and dominating forces that comprise us.

Nature made us. Nature is us. We are animals. Primates. Human. That is our taxonomy. Moreover, we are comprised of all the same recycled matter and energy as the cows, their grass, its sunlight, the particles and waves that form it.

And we are fucking that system up for everyone, ourselves included.

The essence of a system is through-put. A system takes an object, applies its purpose-built methods, and refines it. In theory. In reality, the refinements may not always be such. Such is true for all systems. From evolution’s vestigial Appendix to the codec corruptions of modern conversion software.

Once extended to the enormity of the universe, its mechanics, its methods of action, the truth of that merely becomes greater, larger. More tangible. Especially in the face of a special history such as ours.

In a reality where people can stand on one side of the world and effectively see, hear, and touch someone on the other side, how is isolationism good?