CyberPunk


Page Created: 7/31/2014   Last Modified: 11/27/2017   Last Generated: 12/11/2017

"All men dream: but not equally, Those who dream by night in the dusty
recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but
the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream
with open eyes, to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence

My disillusionment with academica led me to discover it↗ by the mid 1990's, but elements of it had formed from my various interests over the years.

My little scientist childhood gave me a love of science fiction for the rest of my life, and my skills in computers, electronics, and robots came out of that love. There was a room on the other side of that lonely doorway that I spent so much of my life in that was beckoning me to enter, like a siren in the dark.

My grandparents taught me literacy and language, and I developed these skills more quickly than my peers. As much as I wanted to show off my writing, I had nothing to write about. When I was around 6 or 7 years of age, I wrote my auto-biography, as my tiny life was all that I knew, and my grandmother helped me bind them into booklets stapled with covers of construction paper. I placed them into a red wagon and pulled them over to the neighbor's house to sell for a dime.

But even at that age, I knew that I didn't have much to write about, that my neighbor had gotten ripped off. I could see that other people's stories were grand constructions, full of immense complexity, detail, and adventure. One time I wrote about how much I liked snow.

By my late teens, I was writing about computers and running, and then I found Isaac Asimov and discovered that the powerful voice of first person was an accepted writing style, which later led to my interest in philosophy. I was finally given permission to openly expose my internal monologue, my thinking. Finally, I thought, I no longer have to encode my thoughts into elaborate fictional stories.

And so, by my twenties, I had enough material to keep me preoccupied for the rest of my life. There was not enough time to tell all of my stories. No wonder Mr. Asimov was so prolific.

But it took me until my thirties to discover that I didn't have to go out looking for a story. The story is already there. Like how a good photographer can take a photo of any mundane subject and turn it in a masterpiece, it was not my lack of material at all, but my lack of perception. In 1940's/1950's American film noir, many of the characters use slang phrases like "What's your angle?" or "He's working an angle". This phrase is mostly out of use today, but it is a literal expression, as in "From what angle of view are you approaching the subject?" a type of perspective, as if the subject had a geometric shape. And film noir itself made heavy use of lighting angle, known today as low-key lighting, where the subject is lit from a key light in such a way to create high-contrast shadows, called chiaroscuro. These key lights can be manipulated to change the angles of shadows on a person's face to create different feelings for the viewer.

This represented the fractal, multidimensional nature of the world where the subject itself is shape-shifting, part of a closed-loop, dynamical system, appearing differently depending on the angles by which it is approached, like how almost any animal can be represented by just our hands, if placed in front of a beam of light to form shadow puppets on a cave wall.

But if the wall of the cave is not smooth, depending on the angle of the viewer, this can also change the shape of the object projected.

Our lives form multidimensional geometric shapes, but we must choose a way to project them onto a "flatter" surface to communicate them (art, writing, music, philosophy, etc).

This can be thus be reduced to two "angles": The angle that the sender chooses to project, and the angle the receiver chooses to view. Both sender and receiver have choice.

But as a child, we are not skilled with operating the projector, and we are sitting at a low angle where we can't see the projection clearly.

When I set out to make a film in 1998, I ran into a similar problem. I had developed the technical and artistic skills, but I had no story. And I refused to use someone else's story.

But as I put a clump of clay in front of that beam of light, I began shaping it, and sat and looked at the forms, shaped it further, and the shape unfolded. To my surprise, even though I contained immense creativity, I could not form shapes that were not part of someone else's story. By being human and using human language, I was inside a cave that civilization had carved out of the rock, and the stories in our cave echoed and reverberated.

I now saw the world as dystopic. I lived a life InTheDoorway. I had the most wonderful childhood, and then slowly witnessed the age discrimination of my grandparents, WWII veterans and teachers who sacrificed themselves for the common good. I saw my father's import-export business get crushed by the Iranian revolution, saw him discriminated upon, and saw profane anti-Iran graffiti in our neighborhood. I saw lack of health insurance and greed-driven compound interest keep my family poor. I saw our house, my elementary school, and my neighborhood vanish underneath an airport runway.

From 1988 to 1998, my favorite music was female vocalists and new age, but by 1999, the movie Strange Days was still in our memory, and new movies like Dark City and TheMatrix were fresh on our minds. On the horizon, End of Days was there to take us to the Omega Point. At certain venues, I could now hear them combined into a celtic, gothic style, reminiscent of the middle-eastern mantras, or Persian style music my father would play. It was a dark, future version of the cabaret, where the feminine voice was like a trapped songbird, like Edith Piaf, or Jennifer Connelly's character in Dark City.

I've begun to believe that cyberpunk is female at its core. The Farscape series got this right on, starting with Moya, a living female leviathan spacecraft. Joss Whedon's Firefly series also has a distinctive feminine quality to it, as does Bladerunner. Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element" is even more so. Where other forms of science fiction, and especially videogames, are hyper-male, physically exaggerated protagonists and monsters, cyberpunk is the aftermath of this, the state the world becomes after the male archetype gains too much power and establishes too much order. A cyberpunk world is when the technology is in control (male), the only escape is the ability to corrupt the system from within (female). Fritz Lang's Metropolis captured this, perhaps he was subconsciously resurrecting an ancient Germanic memory of the fall of Rome at the hands of the Visigoths, falling from within. The Wachowskis' Matrix, V for Vendetta, and Cloud Atlas are all versions of it, all highly cyberpunk.

Defiance, a science-fiction series from some of the same creators of Farscape, also takes place in St. Louis, and shows Eero Saarinen's beautiful catenary↗ as partially destroyed in the years 2046-2047. The series is well-made, and I have watched a few episodes, but it is not cyberpunk. It is post-cyberpunk and depicts a very male world, one where order is trying to be re-established from the ruins. It is the actually the exact opposite. The Canadian series Continuum, even though the lead character is female, is also not cyberpunk, as she was a protector of the system.

In the year 2000, I was working on the top-most floors of the tallest courthouse in the US, the Thomas F. Eagleton federal courthouse, a stone-covered building completed the same year that looks eerily similar to the one in Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and inside the very top, it had strange, ritualistic architecture with its dark wood, hidden doors and hallways. I sat in a cubicle in a suit and tie like Neo, and if I looked out some of the windows, I could look down on the equally strange roof of the Mausoleum of Maussollos↗ recreation on the top of the shorter Civil Courts building a few blocks away. The courts were steeped in ancient symbolism. What did it mean? Was this truly a government of the people, by the people, and for the people?

The Eagleton courthouse has been criticized as being noticeably phallic in shape. At first I thought that this was just a coincidence, as I generally see machines as pure mechanisms, if it wasn't for another peculiar building at the opposite side of the state, in Kansas City. The Charles Evans Whittaker federal courthouse was also completed in the year 2000, and has a noticeably "yonic" shape.

This gender dualism built into the physical structures of our highest institutions of government in Missouri's two opposing big cities at the birth of the 3rd millennium appeared to be the work of an egregore expressing a higher-order manifestation of TheCircleAndTheLine. Just like the letters in our alphabets change shape over the millennia, retaining certain forms from their predecessors, symbols in any human creation are beyond the power of individuals to completely control, as they are from a collective. At some point in our past, our civilizations were connected, and we probably shared the same symbolism. Information, like energy, flows through time and space.

For example, the Cyrus cylinder↗ might be the first record of any type of human rights that we have yet discovered, about religious tolerance, and the fact people are valuable by their very existence. It was a declaration of a Persian king and was pulled out of the 4th dimension by Thomas Jefferson↗.

Like the Nile delta and the pyramids of Giza, the Mississippi and Missouri river confluence has its own pyramids↗ and its own ancient symbolism.

My pattern-matching circuitry was seeing the facades as translucent. I was the systemic anomaly↗. It is the case with any human system that the system presents itself as a "black box" to anyone that was not a system architect or has explicit knowledge. However, if one is a system architect of other systems (physical, electronic, virtual--the medium is not important), their system patterns can sometimes converge with those of the black box, a type of simulation which gives you insight into the design of the system. This is the basis of the mathematical field of fractal geometry and the reason why it took someone with a Caltech Masters degree in Aeronautics↗ to finally invent it. Just like a magician is the one most capable of decoding the secret methods of another magician, my lifelong experience in building and administering systems gave me the ability to model the inner workings of other systems in my head.

Later that year, I empathized with DMCA protesters that were down below, outside on the front steps of the Eagleton courthouse, as I knew that law would impinge on free speech and fair use↗. I felt I was trapped inside the Palace of Versailles during The October March. Our city was named after that French king's gothic predecessor↗ of the same name. Then, a year later, while up on the 26th floor, I watched the live newscast of the September 11th attacks on a television set that had been wheeled in on top of a tall cart. The fractal symbolism was striking. Here I was with my co-workers, standing at the top of a tall building, named after a bird, watching a television screen at the top of a tall cart, display video of the aftermath of a plane (an artificial bird) that had impacted the top of another skyscraper, all through eyes at the top of our bodies.

Like many others, I witnessed the plane impact the second skyscraper in real-time, and realized the same thing could happen to me, high above the city floor. The ominous tower card↗ had been thrown, the sign of another egregore.

These events saddened me greatly, a deep sadness, and I knew that there would again be a backlash against middle-eastern people, a rehash of the early 1980's, and that everyone's civil rights would be trampled. To preserve an open society, we must, by definition, keep it open. But people were over-reacting, giving away the very rights people have died to defend, not heeding the warnings of Benjamin Franklin (liberty over safety) or Dwight D. Eisenhower (the military industrial complex). This nation is still a rare institution in the history of Man that strives to reach an ideal, a wonderful perfect glow in our imagination, that all men are created equal and have inalienable rights. Ideals can never be corrupted, but they can be lost in a sea of randomness if we turn our gaze elsewhere and lose recognition of them.

A few years later, I was shocked to read in the news that the very city of my childhood, Bridgeton, Missouri, a middle-ring suburb of St. Louis, was potentially the geographic center of the biggest government mass surveillance operation in history↗. Working in computer network, systems, and security administration, I knew how bad this revelation was, for it was an affront on my values of communication, privacy, and freedom of speech, the very pillars of an open society. It was only a few miles away from the famous path that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark forged under Thomas Jefferson, but now it was no longer a gateway to the West but a gatekeeper. This was years before the Snowden leaks, when people chose to live in a state of denial and blamed the messenger for their "crackpot conspiracy ideas" (as some still do today). I felt like Carl Kolchak, the Night Stalker, the lone reporter who discovered the truth, but at the end of the day nobody would believe him.

You can't clearly see the space you are inside unless you leave it. So I would be Dave Bowman venturing out in a pod, and then turning the pod around to take a look at the Discovery One. I am cursed to remain forever an outsider, for this is the Cost of a philosophical life, one of independent thinking; seeking the truth. I remained on the lonely fringe of the fringe, a tiny node on the edge of a larger node, a probe outside the solar system still sending telemetry, if there was anyone still capable of receiving it.

I could see a duality here, an eternal battle of the system builders and the system destroyers, the yin and yang of entropy and fractal forces.

The system builders were the ones that relied on reason, like the Architect of the Matrix. The system destroyers, the cyberpunks, were the ones that relied on faith, like how Morpheus insisted that everyone have faith in the Oracle.

Reason and faith are seemingly mutually exclusive concepts. Reason means you make your own decisions and control your own destiny. Faith means you are relying on a system outside of yourself to control your destiny.

But, paradoxically, both of these concepts can coexist if the universe is fractal, just like fractals are both "bounded and boundless", which also should not ordinarily be possible. Just like we are both free and determined, we can have both reason and faith.

Just like a single computer process, we cannot multitask at the level of our most focused conscious thought. The appearance of doing many things at the same time is an illusion, as the individual is simply stepping through a sequence at a fast rate, craftily intersecting different routines, similar to how early raster-scan television created the illusion of a single image.

This idea is significant, for it reminds us that there are limitations to the individual. To be "one" we cannot be many. To be "many" we must join into a collective. The reason we can multitask at lower levels (like moving both of our arms in unison) is because we have offloaded those actions to areas of our brain or nervous system that are indeed many, the cells that are specialized for handling these tasks, like how a CPU can redirect tasks to smaller devices. But try writing two different letters in cursive to two different people with two different hands at the same time and you'll see what I mean. Even if you are ambidextrous, you have to break your attention and selectively apply it to each task. You can do this very quickly to create an illusion, but inside your mind, unless you are some kind of superhuman, you can only be one.

Likewise, a reasoning person has to, by definition, temporarily suspend their reason to have faith, like shutting down a process in a computer (an interrupt) to allow an outside process to take control. Shutting down reason is like opening a security hole.

The reasoning mind does not want to open such a hole, for it is risky to the organism, but without opening any such a hole, the organism is cut off from the greater organism. We were created from and are part of a greater organism. A hand requires an arm, and cannot be separated from it.

If we overlay this concept onto civilization, a higher egregore, the duality continues. Some nations are atheistic states, in such that only man's reason becomes law and religion is not allowed. Some nations are religious states, where only one interpretation of the purported law of a higher being becomes law, and man's reason is not allowed.

And there lay the dualistic battleground: Reason kept building its structures, and religion kept tearing them down; and vice versa.

I spend a lot of time in Plato's cave. Horrors of the outside world, like war, crime, disease, and death, are depicted as false idols here. When you rise above these concepts, like in Sergio Leone's Civil War depiction in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and temporarily mute their grotesque colors, you see them as flat totems and have stopped the program and printed out the source code.

You can then look at the source code and find those bugs, perhaps fixing some of them, before you turn it back on.

The source code was ancient, like the cuneiform on that old Cyrus cylinder, and revealed a hidden subroutine, that some nations were secular, where the laws are created by man, but allow freedom of religion for the members. These nations protect our right to be "human", human rights, not allowing the collective to crush individuals under its gigantic feet. I always knew this was important, but now I knew just how important.

This is the path of the third direction, the hidden path.

In the 1st amendment to the US Constitution, freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petitioning the government are intertwined, because, in my opinion, they are all aspects of the same thing. This the freedom of individual organisms, or their collectives, to communicate to each other and their collectives.

This allows the formation of threads to form between individuals and the collective, a "mesh network", that allows other collectives to form, like the human brain or the Internet. These threads are the tiny wormholes that allow us to escape the dualistic cage.

I was a poser; I could not be cyberpunk because I could not destroy other people's systems, even if they were partially corrupt. Partially corrupt also means partially not corrupt. If you destroy good to remove evil, you are simply extending a cycle into Time, feeding energy into it, stuck inside a zero-sum game.

For I would also be destroying those gentle giants, the benevolent ones, the ones who lifted me up and carried me on their shoulders so I could look upon the land of my youth, just for the sake of destroying the bad.

I remember the one and only time I caused computer mayhem when I was around 16, locking up a Commodore64 at a toy store by typing a "secret" command into the terminal. The machine itself and power switch were physically locked inside a clear plastic box, but the keyboard, the interaction with the outside world, was left open for customers to type on. So I typed in my command which caused a low-level infinite loop, effectively shutting the system down. I then walked away and saw other customers try to use it, but they could not.

I felt horrible about it, and at the time I thought, yes, like the bird I killed in my youth, I have the power to detect and exploit weakness. When I was young, I asked myself why society allowed this to happen. Why didn't they just fix these weaknesses? I then realized that I was seeing the rules and laws of our society as a kind of fence, and when I found holes in the fence, I thought the system was broken. But society's rules and laws were markers and signs, not fences, and society relied on each of us to respect these markers or it could not function.

After I became a computer administrator for almost 20 years, I found that other people had not learned this lesson in their youth. Whenever I was instructed to grant access without authorization (which happens almost daily in these types of positions), I refused, citing multiple layers of violations (ethical, legal, policy, etc). But many refused to give up, and considered the fact that since I had "access" that I was "authorized". They did not know the difference. And when I would not budge, they simply bypassed me and went to other administrators who were not as conscientious, who wrongly complied.

This was a corrupt system, but not in principle. It was corrupt because the elements of which it was composed were corrupted. We must remove the corruption from within ourselves before we have any chance of removing it from the system.

We, the collective, had created our own laws and lived by the rule of law, not the rule of Men. We, the collective, were holding it together. Once you realize your importance to a system, you become more respectful of it. Destroying the system destroys part of yourself.

The very act of interacting with another being or system exposes weakness. To talk to one another, we must both lower our heavy shields, an act of "faith". But civilization knew this long before me, and built its system on higher principles. After I locked up that Commodore 64, I was ashamed to be operating at the level of an animal, not at the level of a civilized person. As civilized people, we must refrain from acting like animals or we will lose our civilization. It is open to benefit us all.

The infinite loop of that computer is like our reason if we don't provide it with a connection to the higher organism. Yes, it is still computing "perfectly" but it will no longer serve a purpose for the larger system. The larger system will eventually consider us broken and shut us down. We can be perfectly secure if we never lower our shields and open up those security holes, but we lose all access to the outside world in the process. Our energy from the higher organism will cease like a store clerk unlocking that plastic box after hours and turning off the power switch on that Commodore 64. Like Robert Frost's poem, we have the choice of ending in fire or ice, and ice will also suffice.

After I mastered the computer as a teenager, I wanted to become master of the universe, digitize everything, put a chip in everything. When I grew out of that phase, to my horror, I could see society growing into it. Oh no, I thought, do not go there. You do not realize what you are doing. You are creating the infinite loop, a hand that has cut itself away from its arm.

My parent's generation was warm and surrounded with detail. They grew up watching films in anamorphic widescreen, many in 70 mm, like Lawrence of Arabia.

My father even installed an analog "quadraphonic" sound system into his discotheque, years before the surround sound era. He used to play a recording of a train on a quadraphonic turntable for my brother and me using 4 speakers, each containing 3 subspeakers (a tweeter, midrange, and woofer), and we could hear train approaching in high fidelity from a certain direction, and it seemed to pass by us, as if it was on a virtual Cartesian plane.

Their generation was worldly and cosmopolitan. They didn't have the Internet, but they had satellite communication and intercontinental airlines. They spoke to each other and met with each other. They shook hands with different people in different cultures around the world.

I miss those colors of my youth. Where did they go?

The time of my generation took on a binary shape, one of extremes. People became polarized. We stopped writing in cursive and switched to typing. Our use of vocabulary was reduced. The English language is full of many words with nuanced meaning, but my generation was only using those at the extremes. In fact, people began to run out of words when something was more extreme, and started chaining adjectives together, like super big, or triple extreme, etc. We had amped up the volume to the point where the signal was being clipped and distorted, compressing its dynamic range, and then saving the signal at too low of a resolution resulting in huge quantization errors. It wasn't just my mind that was stripping away the precious detail, my entire generation was doing this.

My prose is fairly wordy, since my binary language has to be fairly long to approximate the shapes that a more granular vocabulary can convey, like how a high-level computer language requires lengthy low-level code underneath. I apologize, but it is all I have.

I sometimes wonder how some individuals in my time can become so wealthy or powerful. How can our world be dominated by wealthy and powerful people, when it is full of very intelligent people that could easily dismantle that system if they wanted, for intelligence is the most powerful weapon in the animal kingdom. Why do our most intelligent people allow this to happen?

At first I thought it was because intelligent people, by definition, don't value those things, as they see through their superficiality, but I couldn't understand why they allowed evil or ignorant people to get so powerful, if that power began to hurt the other 99%.

There is merit to the idea that intelligence and wisdom do not necessarily coincide, but while wisdom can exist in those that lack intelligence, I've always liked to believe that intelligence would surely generate wisdom automatically, given enough time. And so I couldn't see why an intelligent adult would pursue a path of power to such a degree.

I then deduced that they do not, that our most intelligent people must not be involved in those things at all, they are working on something completely different. They are taking the third path.

There are many films that depict people in prison, surrounded by ignorant people, sometimes they escape, sometimes they don't. But in some movies, like the The Birdman of Alcatraz, the person decides to create a inner world. Think about this: Here is a man... on a rock in the ocean... inside a jail cell... raising birds inside tiny cages.

My father's favorite movie was Papillon, where two men are imprisoned on Devil's Island in the French Guyana, where one man escapes, but one man doesn't. I watched that ending a few times. I don't think the man ever literally escaped. I think he crashed into the rocks and that his escape was metaphoric.

The most intelligent people in our world are trapped just like everyone else, in a dualistic world, but instead of banging their head against the wall or scratching on the floor expecting a different result each time, they are sitting down, working on something.

Have you ever watched videos of tests given to animals to determine their intelligence? You can see what the animal is trying to do, and if they just did something a little different, they would get what they wanted. But they don't. They never understand. It is like that path is invisible to them. To me, it causes great sadness, for these poor beings cannot see what I can see, they are trapped. It is like when you happen to walk up behind someone when they don't realize you are there. There is a vulnerability to them, and this vulnerability triggers within me a profound empathy. The only reason I must feel this way, I have concluded, is that I, like many in my generation, feel that I am forever fighting people, competing against them, that they are my enemy, but when my enemy falters, trips on a twig, I am reminded that they are just as fragile as myself. They were never my enemy, the enemy was always myself.

My generation hasn't seen ourselves falter yet, we haven't seen the horrors of global war. If we don't start reading our history again, and acknowledging that it actually happened to people like us, and is not just a story, we will repeat the same mistakes. Let us hope that those beings outside of our perception will have that same empathy watching us fight each other in our tiny cage.

I am simply repeating the same warnings that many men in many cultures over thousands of years have repeated. Perhaps my usefulness to humanity is my ability to translate this using the language of my time, my binary language, in a way that we might understand.

Mankind is trapped in this dualistic cage, so we cannot avoid conflict. Even our diplomacy will break down if our animal layers underneath are forced to fight for resources to survive. Like plants, with whom we share much of the same ancient source code, the same DNA, we are competing for land, water and sunlight with our neighbors. If they aren't our local neighbors, then they are our distant ones. But we have the great power of human language and can use that language to cooperate, to share these resources with each other before we break down, so that nobody has to fight. History has shown us that, in general, peace follows prosperity and war follows poverty.

Our lives are full of mock conflicts where we practice and hone skills to defeat our neighbors. We are taught to always "win", which means that someone else must lose. Winning, in many cases, brings new opportunities to the winner. They can go off in a direction that none of the losers can.

The winners of dualistic battles, like gladiators, are shown the path out of the cage, where they can walk the path away from their town to a larger battle. As they proceed on this path, they will eventually be defeated somewhere up the road. Their achievements are perhaps reflected in the epic tales of their battles. But even Spartacus was stopped.

But this is a false path, just another hallway in the Colosseum. There is a hidden path, a 3rd path, where one can pass through the cage as if it was an inconsequential semipermeable membrane, out into the wilderness, the road less traveled. It is the path of the one who breaks free of the egregore. Nobody will show you this path, it is not a direction observable to the eye, but only the mind. It is the path that Harry (Axel) secretly discovered when his uncle, Professor Hardwigg (Lindenbrock) locked everyone in his house so he could decode an ancient code in Verne's fictional Journey to the Center of the Earth.

You must first realize you are trapped and refrain from fighting. Then, within your power, start building. Build the very best thing you can build. It is the very act of creation that opens up the hidden path. People may destroy it, but keep building.

It doesn't have to be a physical thing, it can be a thought, a concept, or even a song. It can be machines or pieces of software. It can be a form of art. It can be a framework for solving a logical, mathematical, or philosophical problem.

It is the very act of creation that opens up the hidden path.

This direction on the path is quiet and isolated, like the natural tunnels of the earth that Harry and Hardwigg descended into, but they will eventually open up into a new world; the solo journey of the RogueLike.

Thomas Anderson (Neo) found his way out of the Matrix by searching and seeking, but he was also a programmer and had already built a lot of systems before the Matrix "found him".

In the first film in the trilogy, just seconds before Morpheus contacted him for the first time, he was sleeping while his automated search routine was performing Internet searches for Morpheus (the mythological name of a shape-shifting Greek god of dreams) trying to uncover the enigma of the Matrix.

If Neo never built his systems, he could never have discovered this enigma or asked his famous question "What is the Matrix?" to Trinity after she whispered in his ear in that cyberpunk club.

At the risk of sounding like Morpheus, you cannot get the answer to what you are seeking if you do not know the question. Building something elevates our minds, it causes us to simulate the pattern of creation, and then we discover those questions as we build.

By building, you are creating a system within a system, whether it is in your mind or your machines, you are not subverting the existing system but are instead relying on it. The previous system is unchanged, but the overall entropy increases.

This is how the free and open-source software movement has changed the world. It relies on an underlying system (copyright), but within this copyright, it chooses NOT to follow the patterns of everyone else by using its copyright power to restrict freedom, but to take that power and choose the hidden path↗ to promote it.

Let's say that you have a power supply that is unstable and fails often. Everytime it fails, it shuts down a computer that uses it. The software is trapped in an electrical system. The software cannot replace the power supply with a better one, but it may instead decide to interact with another software sub-system that can detect when the last discrepancy occurred and compensate for it (like a journaling file system).

This middle system is a higher level of abstraction (moving into the fractal).

You have abstracted away the problem, which is one reason virtual machines became so popular. Virtual machines are horrendously inefficient for some tasks, but hardware failures are non-existent, since the machine is not physical. Hardware failures of the machine running the hypervisor↗ still exist, but the virtual machine can simply be moved to a different hypervisor.

These "inefficiencies" in abstraction are like the voids in a fractal, those areas of lost time that the running program never experiences, the areas that never enter the fractal's construction. They are not inefficient for the inner fractal, but only the fractal spawning it.

When we use short text messages to communicate to each other, we think we are being very efficient, but if you look at the system as a whole that supports that text, simply talking to someone is much more efficient, for it doesn't require the tremendous sub-structure of technology and energy.

The energy in our Universe is bounded, just like you can circumscribe a fractal shape, and like plants, most of its energy goes into its most complex structures, the flowers or fruit of the organism, the highest levels of abstraction. No matter how much energy the Sun provides, the organism is limited by its original design. We will eventually hit that same limit somewhere on our path, just like Spartacus did on his path. There may be no one to write epic stories about us, but like the messages Arne Saknusseumm left in the cave tunnels, our fragments of information may someday be found.

Building a system inside of another system is how the human body evolved. There are remnants of more primitive genetic features inside of us all (the reptilian complex↗, for example). We are, by nature, higher ordinate creatures, fractally speaking. But we "advanced" at the expense of being blind to things outside of our fractal shape, those voids.

There are analogies to the third path in many physical phenomena, such as electromagnetism. Building something is like focusing light, or even, using Dark City vernacular, "tuning", finding a hidden signal in the noise.

If you move a magnet back and forth across a straight, 1 dimensional wire, as Michael Faraday↗ first showed us, we can induce electricity within the wire.

But if you were to variate the speed and direction of the magnet, build a pattern into it, you could create oscillations in the electrical and magnetic fields along the wire, simulating a tuned circuit↗, and this would allow you to detect (or discriminate) signals from outside the cage. This is similar to two adjacent people swinging on a swing whispering to each other. If you have a different phase, frequency, or amplitude, or are a bystander on the ground, you can not hear the other person, but if you adjust your swing to match the other person's pattern, you can then receive their signal. When you build a system, just like building an electronic oscillator, your system can match the pattern of a system in another dimension.

If the wire had an appropriate length mathematically related to the frequency (the wavelength), this same oscillation can also emit an "electromagnetic wave", a radio wave, containing your pattern that radiates perpendicularly away from the wire, into the 2nd dimension.

So within your dualistic cage, you can receive information from and escape into a higher dimension. Like a bird, if your song is beautiful enough, it will be noticed outside of its cage.

Over the years, I kept seeking out the songbirds, going to many concerts to see female vocalists whose emanations from a great female archetype filled the dark halls. Sometime during those years, however, while writing my film, I realized that my HyperSystemizing mind had discovered an archetype, and that many female vocalists were messengers of this archetype. I thought that perhaps I might be objectifying the individual, the precious detail, for the benefit of structure.

So from about 2002 to present, I went back to those new age roots, and have primarily listened to post-rock, mostly instrumental bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Sigur Ros, God Is an Astronaut, and Explosions in the Sky, and have recently found Gregor Samsa's music interesting.

Post-rock has the same feeling of cyberpunk technological dystopia, as it captures a higher feminine pattern in pure symbolic form, without needing any vocals. Whether the musicians that play the instruments are male or female, it didn't matter as much. Perhaps, through a language of pure music, which is really just mathematics, gender has a different meaning, a vector where the direction is no more significant than the magnitude.

Perhaps what I am seeing as a feminine archetype is just one form of this being, a form this being has manifested for me, since it is easier for me to understand it as a man. The ancient tree lady in my dream, like many dream people, was fuzzy, I just knew it was female, but like angels, perhaps they have no form at all.

This ancient lady has appeared in other dreams as well. In one, she was at the controls of a futuristic city, a glassy, emerald city. But her physical shape was fuzzy, I can't remember the details, just the feeling.

My grandfather listened almost exclusively to 1940's era war music, his favorite being big bands such as Glenn Miller. But he said that Glenn Miller just had a special "sound", like some kind of perfect melody he discovered. But perfection can't exist in the real world, as he told me the story of how Glenn Miller's plane disappeared over the English Channel on his way to Paris in 1944. Like Elijah or Enoch, perhaps he was taken by a whirlwind to a place where perfection did exist. Since I did not fight in the real technological horror of World War II, I do not have the necessary contextual framework to understand that sound like my grandfather did. I wonder sometimes, if my enjoyment of post-rock is the modern analogy, being mostly instrumental. To me, Explosions in the Sky has that special sound, it captures the dark and light I experience, the duality, triumph and despair. It is a perfect balance of the masculine and the feminine, the point where amplitude and frequency come into resonance.

As much as I am entranced by cyberpunk, I remain stationed at the space port, relegating myself to mapping and documenting that enigma of a battleground, the real Matrix. Like old Snorri↗, my battle is with Time itself. I am neither Marty nor Biff↗, but simply came across Dr. Brown's stainless steel DeLorean at a used car lot. I got caught in a temporal superposition and will never know whether it is more important, like cartographer and archaeologist T.E. Lawrence, to pick a side, or like Tuco and the Man with No Name↗ to simply destroy that bridge.

There is beauty in despair. Anyone sufficiently intelligent will feel despair as a perpetual state of being, as the material world does not and can not merge with the ideal, the imaginary world. If we remind ourselves of this fact, we can see the beauty in those people around us, empathizing with those valiantly fighting along side us, trying, but ultimately falling, failing to reach that perfect world.

Just like the sirens, you must keep your distance from this type of beauty, or it will bring you into its dark places, across the gravitational horizon into a state of low hum, that, for a long time, won't provide you with enough energy to reach escape velocity.

But if you allow compassion to radiate from you, like the thousand arms of Guanyin, it will bathe those around you in a warm light, reflecting and diffracting around corners, in whatever dark places you happen to be. It may even illuminate the way for those that have fallen, scratching on the cave floor, so they can stand up again and walk like Men.

Resume program.

St. Michael, 18th century, artist unknown
On display at St. Louis Art Museum

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