Short Story: The Pigeon Problem

It was the damnedest thing when it first began happening. To say no-one expected it was an understatement, but neither was there much surprise involved.

Understand the state of the world at the time: the whole damned place was on fire. Humans weren’t sure they’d live out the day, let alone a century or millennia. Of course, that led to a lot of short-sighted mistakes, but every reaction bears an equal and inverse action.

It only made sense that something had happened to all of those old fucks ruining things. Gender politics muddied the waters, but it was obvious who the problem was, male or female. It was even more obvious they were all fucking stup–

There goes my own prejudice again… hugghhhhh.

We knew they weren’t the smartest bunch. It had to be genetics. The average person is neither burdened nor emboldened by their Humanity. They exist in a state of existence, subsistence, and occasional resistance. Mixed and matched in various forms, this is what concocts the Human-everything. Enough that it has managed all of Human greatness thus far.

Who’d have thought it could go away? Like, really… away. Or not be there in the first place?

Meanwhile, the utter lack of surprise is self-explanatory. Hundreds of thousands– then millions of Humans were suddenly the equivalent to walking vegetables, nothing out of the ordinary. Now however, they seemed incapable of doing little more than occasionally putting hand to mouth.

Apart from being utterly unhelpful, it was mystifying. Grown adults who’d spent their whole lives working in office blocks, commuting to and from marbled-staircased homes with large families, now incapable of little more than feeding themselves.

They could stand about, move if prompted, and often were seen flocked on street-corners as if pigeons. So, that’s what they became: Pigeons. Save with eerily less motion. It was as if the groups of once-besuited, rag-tattered creatures had become a hive-mind no-longer coherent of its imitated species.

But how? How could it be possible for any creature to suddenly shift so intensely, let alone a group so immense and varied as they?

In the studies conducted since the First Occurrence, of which there are three, enough has been concluded to confirm the cause as Genetic. It is, along with other factors, much of the similarity that binds the hive-minded groups to one another. Hive-minded though, is misleading. A hive-mind may have a goal or objective, whereas these creatures are more empty-minded.

Had they existed in the time of Siddhartha Gautama, they might have been termed to the effect of Śūnya-Buddha, orvoid-enlightened one.

In essence, they’re Human hardware running no software. Perfectly functional in every way, but uninhabited by anything resembling the Godhead or Soul, Consciousness or Humanity. They’re Human blanks, reactive but never active, like a PC at POST– spooling hardware-test on ingrained command, instinct.

Buddhists themselves have postulated Śūnya might mean more Consciousnesses are achieving the Godly realms, and these creatures are the byproduct. Mostly though, they’re just empty. They have no software, no operating system. Merely functional components functioning until they can’t any longer. A sort of natural phenomenon from closed-sentience tracts of evolution, as in the case of some primates.

Occasionally too, like pigeons, one is found in the gutter. Dying or dead doesn’t matter, little can be done then save to show mercy.Such extremes are rare, though, and their idle time is spent flocking from place-to-place, picking scraps. They are more an occasional nuisancethan the plague carriers they once were.

Given the alternatives, it’s a relief really.

The irony is lost on no-one save the Pigeons themselves, but faulting something like that for not understanding its world fundamentally misunderstands its nature.

So, what is their nature?

Officially classified as Pseudo-Sapiens Homo-Śūnya after someone thought the name fitting, its mythology therein spawned itself. Regardless of academics, they are the empty-people. Incapable of retaining memories or planning beyond moment-to-moment flashes, these creatures suffer from newly-termed Zero-Oneness Disorder: unable to feel or function as is clinically normal for Humans.

The First Occurrence revealed it, astounding the world.

Random people suddenly brain-dead on the streets, driving their cars, sitting or moving about in their homes. Powerful, prominent, or aspiring, anyone was effected.

But there was no chaos. Just confusion.

In everything since, one thing’s known: the presence of a select few was wholly ignored by the majority. Or in some cases, entirety. The effect, rather than outrage, was nothingness. It seemed counter to Human-Psychology– the first clue to the then-termed “illness” and its origins.

Hospitals overflowed. General Practitioners, some seeing a patient or less a week, were suddenly overflowing. Short staffed E-Ds and Psych-wards led to public panic over the growing dangers to overall public health.

However, the Second Occurrence disproved the idea as an illness, reinforcing it as a genetic indication of Human and non-Human separation. Coming shortly after news that a common gene-trait had be found in all of the “sufferers,” it was learned this and other traits were tied to known genetically-guided pathological-personality types.

It was thereafter obvious how to identify Pigeons in the wild, avoid them if desired.

By the Third Occurrence any hints of panic and chaos had subsided. The issue was tempered. Enough that now focus could shift to prevention, treatment. Doctor-patient tidings were at an all time low, but the establishment of specific health-centers for those wishing not to let their Pigeons live abroad. Neither was a terrible diagnosis, really.

Unfortunate? Certainly. Not life-threatening though. The Pigeon Problem It could be handled, and there was help: that alone made things infinitely easier.

Yet hard decisions were, and often still are, made.

The whole sequence of events engendered only a little more restraint in the Human Ego. Never a bad thing given its history and propensity for violence. In keeping with its methods, too, Pigeons reaffirmed what Science strived to remind: thateach action incurred an equal and inverse reaction.

Pigeons were Humanity’s anti-particle, the negative to their positive– but for the species, Humanity, as a whole. Nothing really surprising, just unexpected. And lucky, in a way.

The Pigeons turned out to, every single one of them, down to the very last, have the same corruptible personality flaws making them easily identifiable. Many theories on their origins in the greater scheme argue genetics, personality-reflection, andnature’s serendipitous reality are equally at fault. Yet all agree on the most telling, and thus defining of Pigeon traits– the one that, during the Second Occurrence became so clear and allowed for the Śūnya child-testing:

Every damned Pigeon was a fucking politician.

We should’ve known!

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.

VIN 21- Self-Mold

Stop telling others what you believe is good for them. Unless they are utterly lost and alone, nothing one can say or do to another in said situation, is going to turn out anything like you desire.

For instance, telling someone how to be a writer– or what makes them one, is not your job. In most cases, Humans self-define. Most often, as a result of the trial and error in understanding one’s self, environment, or society. Certainly, some things are defined for us, but those definitions are most often limited and circumstantial. That is, the result of uncontrollable mechanisms like genetics, socio-economics, or geography, even world events and abridged, rather than comprehensive.

None of that changes the aforementioned: people decide for themselves whom and what they are, and in most cases, how to go about making the most of that. None of that is anymore another’s business than the color of your underwear– or indeed, if you’re wearing any.

And that goes doubly for you as well: Do unto others…

However, if you feel the need to help someone you still can. The best way to do so is by listening, reflecting, being for another how you would wish them to be for you, were your positions reversed.

No pushing. No bludgeoning. No perceived realities. Rather, in your mind simulate as near to their reality as possible so as to understand the differences, changes, and how best to help or avoid them. Because otherwise, it is your reality, a result of your trials and experiences, not theirs. While it can be helpful, often it is detrimental.

Let others define themselves, or stay away from them. Otherwise, you may be doing more harm then good. And the same goes for you: let not others mold you, but rather help you to understand how best to mold yourself.

But then again, who am I to tell anyone what to do?

VIN 16- Musky Smells

The thing about Musk is: he could be genuine. Or, equally, yet another flunkie. More or less, an Antichrist for the postdigital liberties movements, coming at a time most detrimental and damaging. Why? Simple: Elon Musk is of the age, position, and personality type to affect great change. Many have been. The difference is his field of play.

He’s a postdigital child.

Whether he realizes it, lives it, accepts it, even wants it or not, he is a perfect example of a multi-faceted, system-oriented thinker, in a position of true power in economic, global, scientific, and innovative communities.

He is the elite, and appears to be playing for Sense, if little else.

But to do what needs be done for Humanity, truly, requires setting events in motion that would eventually destroy his own legacy through his effects– even those he as an admitted digital-child, cannot begin to foresee.

The problem inherent in this issue inevitably becomes foreseeing one’s own legacy and its demise, committing regardless.

But it is no different than accepting one’s memory, like oneself, will die out. Will it have been worthy of living, as one’s life should be, thus becomes the sole question. At the heart of this, like most things, is the binary issue of selfishness or not. In combination: Human behavior further dictates one cannot always be counted on to check one’s own greed.

At the helm of a mega-corp, that greed, can be astronomical. Literally. Musk wishes to capture the minds of Humanity and point them at Mars, but whose priorities are these? Are they his: the man of new-blooded money new to a game and ready to change it? Or are they the Corporations’: age-old ideals of what can be, for the moment aligned because of potential greed.

Leaving Earth for Mars is not to be taken lightly. We cannot begin to expand, to Mars or elsewhere, if we’ve not yet finished our foundational building, here. Death among the stars is no less death. Attempting otherwise will forever alter our history, our so-termed destiny or fate. Therein history will cease to write of Humanity’s story and instead begin to write of its demise.

All from the loss of a crucial moment of opportunity and understanding. That moment, one of decades and seconds, generally sensed by our species, told that only by growing closer could we understand this Universe. It cannot be done by individuals alone. Science and history dictate as much. Are the products of it.

Therefore, it is imperative it be carried out by a, if not unified, symbiotic society. Preferably, one seeking to establish its legacy and secure itself as a force in the Universe– as any multi-cellular organism is driven to.

Corporations, though also multi-cellular, are not organisms. This is a common misconception both perpetuated and ignored by those involved in their workings. Mostly, from fear of recognition that the great evil– Corporations– are really only bureaucratic systems. Not societies. Their utter lack of feeling, empathy, or sympathy, makes them such.

It is not a failing. Rather, a byproduct of a system’s design. It is not a character flaw or a personality trait: however seemingly alive, it cannot feel. It cannot think. It can only run. In most cases, only run toward output of money.

To further muddy the image, evolution implied through long-term PR and Ad department schemes of re-branding have become akin to cell-regeneration. Beginning with single-cells and dividing, replicating, and successively revising their internal structure, Corporations like societies and organisms too, ultimately appear to be evolving.

However, they remain unliving. Their own actions well-documented by themselves but maintaining the ignorance through ritzy glamours that hide their every, hideous deformity. Each one only so grotesque as is made by oneself when allowing it to fester.

Yet these are systems.

Countless generations of growth-fracture cycles have formed them. Rhythmic, steady, but always producing errors, detrimental or not. Those anomalies, better known as Mutation, form the basis for all adaptation and survival of known organisms. The same can be seen in Corporate consolidation, Dark-horse industries and leaders, and flash in pan billion-dollar ideas.

But Corporations are not ruled by these rules: they imitate them.

A Corporation has no fixed head. No fixed owner. It exists to exist. Not because nature intended it, but because it was willed into power by (mostly) intelligent beings. Yet, there is no-one behind the curtain. Not even for those involved. Certainly, predecessors and successors have come and gone, but there is no “heir” to a corporation. Heirs may inherit corporations, but Corporations whom inherit requires intangibility to be otherwise.

Corporations are systems. Socio-economic thought-systems. Series of processes for doing business, as software running transactions in an OS: a system within a system, but one nonetheless.

Now wrapped up in the face of a postdigital child, whose inheritance neither exists nor does-not exist. Like many things of the time Musk’s as likely a product of as he is of hope. Worse, postdigital child or not, not one of us is incorruptible. Humans have demonstrated this time and again.

Humans live only within comfort zones, or surrounded by familiar things, or supportive out of habit. So deep does this fear of unknown corruption go, we’ve created whole spheres of public, private, and provincial health and governance laws. All of it to combat corruption we’ve termed– through rational dark ages– evil, hate, badness.

But many things of their time, like Evil and Musk himself, are the manifestations of simple realities incapable of being ignored. Regardless of best way, his may be little more than a flag to show communication on matters (his, chiefly,) are now open. After all, it is only from fear of loss that watchers cry out.

Musk’s opportunity here will make him a place in history. Even if, as a passing memory of Humanity’s folly. Whether from reverence or regret, there’s no telling. Not yet. All any watcher can do is remain vigilant, make their call, hope they’re heard so tragedy can be avoided.

But being a postdigital child myself, I’m neither holding my breath nor putting all my eggs in one basket. Especially in space, that feels prudent.