There has been a lot of talk this year about living in a post-truth world. This is the concept that truth is no longer relevant to public discourse, perhaps information has become so plentiful and frivolous that its ultimate character and value has become fully subjective. To put more plainly: does it really fucking matter if the sky is blue, green or red for that matter? The philosophical implications of this theme is a bit heavy handed, and it's really consciousness itself that is being put on trial. The sinister interpretation on the other hand is that the sky is blue, but people have been convinced that it is red, and in the future people will be taught that it is red and the actual consequence of this deception is that the people who have always known that the sky is actually blue will somehow profit from the fact that a lot of other people think the sky is red.
So the sky is not really important, rather the whole charade is a thinly veiled attempt to socially engineer a bunch of gullible idiots out of their money. Is it possible to tell a blatant lie without any negative consequences? Rarely, I would imagine. Lying about the color of the sky will probably get some people killed. Additionally the economic losses suffered by the gullible idiots who swallow the lie will also be harmful in a nebulous abstract way. The liars will probably justify this as survival of the fittest, thinning the herd, etc. But as the situation evolves we are forced to face the reality that the truth has always been a luxury, and lies have always been a dime a dozen. The world doesn't end just because everyone thinks the sky is red, and there are lies that get millions of people killed every year like "tobacco doesn't cause cancer" or "humans don't cause climate change" that become facts in the sense that people keep repeating them and dying because of them.
The fabric of our lives is a seamless imperceptible checkerboard of truths and lies, yet life goes on, there's no stopping it, and there's no god in heaven capable of enforcing a universal vision on billions and billions of people. There are just billions and billions of people, every one of them with their own "truth". When these truths overlap there are hordes of "believers" who share some common ideology, some of these cults are obsessed with convincing or forcing other people to believe as they do. It's a mess that's only going to get worse as time goes on. There are no winners in this contest. The people who are lucky enough to believe something that is actually true only benefit because their belief system aligns with reality; cognition of this truth does not make it any more true or beneficial. While those who reject reality will only be harmed by their self-deception if reality intercedes in their lifetime.
Humans are so small an insignificant that frequently they can live their whole lives and die before a lie catches up to them. Reality is slow as fuck and doesn't give a shit what we believe. There is more going on in the world that is unseen than is seen, and most of the things we think are important or true are irrelevant and incorrect. So the whole world is coming to grips with this post-truth reality, this post-truth society. This is powerful cognition, a critical rung on the ladder of rising consciousness. Can we all learn how to look beyond truth? Learn how to live in the world without objective facts? Just watch as it filters down throughout every level of civilization: sex, gender, economics, politics, status, entertainment. Every second our reality becomes increasingly subjective, basically no one knows how to make sense of it. And no one does. It just gets weirder and weirder and weirder until the world ends.
Meanwhile I've been devoting all my earthbound energy to learning how to grow food and nurture the ecosystem, a field so deceptively vast that nothing is left over for anything else. Here I am writing this all down because I'm starting to wonder if I'm entering the post-post phase of my personal story. Over the last decade I witnessed the internet devolve from a wonderful place to a nightmare land of corporate shills, feckless whores and algorithm-based popularity contests, and let me tell you, the logs of shit are what rise to the top in this e-cesspool, and the pearls of wisdom get buried forever. Countless times I've been seconds away from opting out with a bang. In the past I thought this was some meaningful dramatic gesture, but now I realize it's easier to just fade away like everyone else who had the good sense to give up long, long ago.
Don't get me wrong, there's a plethora of cool awesome shit I could write about right now, like growing my own Moringa Oleifera trees, but the process of self-expression may be coming to a close. The overhead of posting is, and has always been, pretty high. Creating 'content' alone is a monumental chore. Sadly the technological Renascence in tools designed to make this easier has proven to be inelegant at best. The constant and apparently exponential decline of the internet has only added to the excessive friction. For two decades now I've published everything of note that I produce for free, it has been a thankless and often agonizing journey. I only continued because at the very beginning I decided to do it for myself alone. I produced a lot of garbage along the way as well, full disclosure. Now like the ancient Neotonians I feel the need to enter the polyandria in the deep undermetto and sleep until the world awakens again.
It's amazing how quickly the rapacious talons of consumerism can rend the formidable obstacles protecting the vulnerable ember of profit, buried however deeply it my first appear. To Marteen Johansen it felt like just yesterday that the introductory abstract summarizing her expedition's otherworldly findings had been published. Although there was no way to know exactly how the forces of predatory capitalism had caught wind of it, they had, and like a pack of starving lions discovering a recently beached whale, descended en mass. Marteen turned off the television, she was sickened and somewhat alarmed by the fact that every time she turned it on there was nothing but non-stop coverage of the "Johansen Report". Her own image staring out blankly from the screen, a hapless picture from her Faculty days at Copenhagen, as the "Journalists" profiled and picked apart her career. She'd disconnected the phone yesterday, it was hard to sleep when it never stopped ringing. She smirked and then laughed bitterly, even so it was already clear that her moment under the spotlight was fading. There were occasional fragments of leaked footage now, from corporate and federal teams already on-site. Numerous base-camps with their sterile bubble-labs no doubt encircled the crater like a malevolent pearl necklace. They had access to unlimited money, the best technology and hand-picked experts from all over the world, it was only natural that they'd managed to make progress so quickly. Still she couldn't stop herself from resenting it.
They were calling the creatures "Food Packs", it hadn't taken them long to capture a few of them. Thankfully the UN and several other lesser "observers" had also arrived on scene, so there were no reports of anything barbaric as of yet. Perhaps the human instinct to dissect the unfamiliar had been permanently derailed thanks to a shocking video that had leaked and gone viral almost immediately. One of the captives, a notably precocious specimen dubbed FP-06 had escaped from its restraints, wrapped itself around a hazmat suit wearing scientist and then inexplicably pulled a plated cheeseburger with fries out of its left 'pocket'. The faceless researcher had been so startled by the event that they had reached out and taken the plate, a muffled stuttering voice barely audible can still be heard clearly mumbling "T-Thank you." Enhancement of the video focusing on the face of the creature it can be seen tilting its scruffy head sideways, ragged ear pivoting towards the speaker, its sly little mouth seeming to curl upward in an expression that reads undeniably as a satisfied smile.
So this is a mix of Neotonian Lore and possibly other things. The post title refers to one of the nine 'Meridian Fortresses' that exist in the Neotoy Continuum (which I have finally mapped!), appearance wise it is a fully transparent octahedron made out of... you guessed it, diamond; Diamond Fortress is particularly important because it is the second hardest to reach, and potentially houses the "HAND" a.k.a. the Core, which is the 'computer'/AI that controls the city-planet. Although I have not decided upon this yet, because Diamond Fortress, like all Meridian fortresses contains a great and singular treasure. In this case a unique type of matter called 'Tele-Meta-Polytoy', appearing as an inert substance similar to crystalline sand, it is literally the stuff of nightmares or potentially your ultimate fantasy.
All matter in Neotoy is programmable, but only Telemetapolytoy is mentally programmable via thought alone. Deep in the heart of Diamond Fortress is a small octahedral room, this room is filled with TMP, enough to allow the occupant of the room to experience anything they can imagine. This room however is also an additional puzzle: the fortress is designed wholly as a kind of cage or prison that is capable of trapping the TMP in this room, so the objective of the treasure hunter is to somehow escape with a small quantity of TMP. The traps are all purely psychological and even reaching the room is fairly effortless. This is permissible due to the fact that the Diamond Fortress exists at the center of the planet and the process of getting there basically takes the place of the typical Fortress Challenges.
Once you reach the TMP room however all bets are off, as your imagination runs wild you could be instantly destroyed depending on your train of thought. To achieve the impossible the Treasure Hunter must master their own mind and be at total peace with their surroundings. Once this is done and they have come to terms with the situation the second stage involves imagining some sort of construct that allows them to transcend the physical laws of the fortress and thereby break out of the containment system with some of the TMP. This substance is in many ways one of the greatest treasures in all of Neotoy because it allows the possessor to form almost anything they can imagine at the speed of thought. Once the TMP leaves the Fortress Treasure Room it becomes personalized to the possessor and will respond to their thoughts alone.
Even more layers: acquiring the TMP is just the initial challenge, once the mind has been tamed it is revealed that there is a second consciousness present in the Fortress and that it can also influence the TMP, but this is only experienced by those who continue to unravel the secrets of the Treasure Room. This results in a battle of wills over who can maintain control of the TMP. The Treasure Hunter always loses but is not destroyed, instead they are left utterly defeated and given a cryptic message.
There was the faint dong of a watery bell, the tone undulated through the humid air, diminishing quickly but never quite seeming to go silent. The waiter raised an eyebrow and glanced towards the back door. The Changer rose silently. "I hope you take information, I don't have any of your... money." heshe murmured, already moving towards the sound. The waiter chuckled. "Paid in full." He said, as one side of Delta's mouth cracked into a disturbingly wide grin. Passing through the back of the tea house, heshe exited the building and discovered a small sky dock, just as heshe somehow knew heshe would. The boat was already docked but only the bottom was visible, improbably it was made of Emerald Jade. A large bale of tea was pushed over the side by invisible hands, it fell heavily into a bamboo cradle clearly structured for the purpose. The Changer was already in the air even as the bale fell, heshe flew up and over the side of the craft, landing lightly like a big cat. The boat rocked gently as it absorbed the kinetic energy. A mysterious figure helmed the boat, impassively they stood at the back holding a pale green, almost white, jade oar.
"Sorry to intrude." The Changer murmured. "If you wouldn't mind I'd like to visit your planet." The cloaked helmsman remained motionless, it was unclear if they were merely considering the request or ignoring it altogether. Then, after what may have been a minute or two she replied. "Only if you can stay on my dingy." The rigid stone oar seemed to writhe through the air like whip as the unknown woman swung it towards himher with such speed that it rent the air between them with a thunderclap. The move was curious though, since she made no attempt to close the distance between them, and The Changer remained seated at the stern of the elegant craft. The purpose of the feint was made clear moments later however, as Delta noted with some interest the subtle movement of the maiden's wrist, a split second before she swung in the opposite direction. A hurricane was unleashed, as the flattened blade of the oar roared through the mist, shattering the air itself into countless vortexes that screamed through the fringes of hisher Neotonian robes. Narrow as it was the oar was moved with such fearful velocity that it didn't seem to matter. As the shockwave came languidly closer, in infinite time, The Changer raised hisher right hand, and as always the Infinite Edge heshe had honed since birth was there, gleaming like a black rainbow. The universe warped around it, splitting the storm front cleanly in two so that it passed harmlessly to each side, or mostly harmlessly. Delta's eyes narrowed as heshe noted with considerable interest the edges of his sleeves and the tails of his coat flapping with such violence that the polystrand came unraveled, forming an aesthetically pleasing fringe where none had been before. A sonorous 'clink' sounded from the bow of the boat. The relatively diminutive figure had returned her oar to the upright position, bringing its haft down lightly on the thwart directly at her feet. The entire boat resonated with the tap, The Changer estimated that the oar weighed close to a ton.
"Shall we be off then?" heshe rumbled, holding an arm out to examine the tassel-like tears in the hem of hisher battle coat. The maiden snorted, but slowly sank down until she was sitting primly on the prow. Between her legs there was a curious creaking, a small ornate door opened in the aft storage compartment, a penguin shuffled out, turning back momentarily to close and latch the door with an oddly articulate gesture that appeared more human than avian. "Now what's all the fuss about then?" It said in a fluty bored sounding voice. The helmsman glanced down between her legs, eyes still shaded by the hood of her cloak, yet The Changer was able to perceive her shadowy lips bending subtly into a slight smile. "Sorry, did I interrupt your nap Dillon?" The penguin tilted his head straight upward with his beak looking like an impossibly long grin. The Changer did not want to interrupt, heshe sat quietly on the craft's final thwart, observing the charming scene with mild curiosity. "No. I was already awake, reading a magazine. Then I thought a storm was set to capsize us." The scene was not difficult to picture, this peculiar penguin seemed just the type to be lost in a magazine while stowed away in a cupboard. Although The Changer pondered this revelation long enough to wonder if the magazine in question was penguin-sized or not. Dillon lowered his crested head, his sharp black eyes fixing on Delta for the first time, and while he flapped his flippers obliquely he gave no other hint that he was alarmed or surprised. "So we're taking borders now are we? I had no idea this was a ferry." His partner snorted. "I gambled and I lost." She retorted, her voice laced with disbelief. The penguin placed a flipper comfortingly on the waif's right calf. "Well, that can only mean one thing." He paused solemnly for a long moment apparently for dramatic effect. "We are in the presence of another Hero." The girl seemed to brighten at this prospect, whether her change in mood was due to the bird's obvious affection or her belief in the truth of his words, was anyone's guess. Suddenly she raised her right arm and threw back her hood, which turned out to be more of a cowl covering her upper torso. Skin as black as night, hair as white as snow, arranged in hundreds of silvery braids disappearing down behind her muscular back, green eyes the color of her boat. She was a great beauty of that there was no doubt, although The Changer was no expert on such matters. She glared defiantly in his direction. "Well stranger, are you a Hero?" Delta puzzled over the word for several seconds, it was an old word from an old world, heshe had to dig deep in order to remember what it might mean. "I was a hero, when I needed to be." Heshe said, the weight of so many memories compressing hisher voice to a whisper. Still, feeling some immense ethical compulsion after a pause heshe concluded. "But I am the only one who remembers it now." It was a bit cryptic, but it was the best heshe could do given the circumstances. "Ah, a true Hero!" The penguin chortled, glancing back up at his mistress to gauge her reaction. The maiden smirked but did not challenge The Changer's enigmatic claims, the sincerity in the curious traveler's voice had been unmistakable. "He fights like one at any rate." She grunted. "I'm starting to feel homesick Dill, let's get underway." The penguin scurried to the side of the boat and started reeling up a thin braided rope, looping it artfully between both his flippers until it drew taught, then giving it a final whipping motion that managed to magically unhook it from the mooring below. Delta thought heshe saw the penguin wink in his direction as the last few units of rope were recovered and then coiled neatly at his webbed feet. "Ready to depart milady." The penguin squawked as it trundled inward before scrabbling aboard the center thwart. From its new vantage point it surveyed their surroundings as the craft improbably began to drift away from the quay. The girl at the front of the boat turned her back to The Changer, at last swinging her auspicious oar over the side and dipped it fretfully into the sky. Her arms began a steady rhythm, swishing the oar gracefully through the air, then arcing it over the prow to repeat the process on the opposite side. The boat glided forward swiftly in response to each stroke, it defied all logic, but there it was. In under a minute they were moving at such a great speed that the girl's opalescent dreadlocks were set to dancing in the wind. The prow of the boat was angled astutely at the distant swirling eye that was Jade, the craft was helmed with such skill that it's position never seemed to waiver. Looking back over hisher shoulder Delta could see the tea house far below, it was angled at a severe slant, indicating that they were traveling on a sharp incline. The pull of gravity however did not seem to align with their relative positions, The Changer felt as though heshe was sitting on level ground with the wind rushing around hisher body offering the only indication of movement. The tea house continued to recede, soon enough the island became a speck and then the ocean became a sphere, the water planet itself had become discernible as an individual entity floating in the aether. Looking forward once again Delta was startled by the sudden change in light, the sky was gone, there was only darkness. The noise and wind had also ceased, the silence was eerie. The girl was seated once more, her beloved oar clenched securely between her thighs, it stuck straight up into space, glowing with a supernatural light, almost looking like a ghostly mast without a sail. The temperature dropped rapidly, the girl pulled her cowl back over her shoulders and head, the penguin seemed very pleased by the transition and began to frolic about on the deck. A sheath of ice spread quickly until it covered the entire craft, the jade gleamed in the pale light of a million stars. Dillon flopped onto his belly and slid from stem to stern, ducking under the thwarts and banking neatly at each end so as to circle the narrow deck. The ice thickened, soon it had obscured the jade completely, Delta's existential field kept it at bay and as for breathing heshe simply held hisher breath; the others appeared to have their own means of counteracting the bitter cold and lack of oxygen. Meanwhile the swirling green eye kept growing, they raced towards it like a slender jade javline darting through the black abyss. Time passed, it was uncountable, the green world of jade had enveloped them, as they approached the ice began to melt and then turn to steam, the prow started to glow, the thin air whistled around them. The girl remained seated, oblivious, while the penguin resumed his perch on the center thwart, shaking himself dry. The air sizzled around the nearly molten prow and thickened, the boat slowed dramatically, Delta found himself clenching hisher toes against the deck to keep from being thrown violently forward. Even so his body bowed, the girl however remained upright, oar in hand, eyes glinting with mirth from the dark depths of her cowl. The atmosphere continued to thicken, all sense of different surrounding colors shifting to countless shades of green, but an unusual green that was not quite pure. Really it was more like a texture than a tone, it was pervasive, visceral, you breathed it in and it replaced your blood, it entered your eyes and altered your mind. This was necessary you came to realize because the laws of physics were altogether different here. Gravity for one was nonexistent except for in the mind, while light undulated and bent capriciously folding back over and into itself, forming whorls and wells of refraction that created both brilliant lenses and inexplicable pockets of darkness. Words were impossible in the gelatinous medium, but Jade was by no means silent. The girl guided the craft expertly through the maze, Delta waited patently for hisher eyes to adjust, breathing was difficult at first but was becoming easier. Thousands of years ago heshe had found himherself here on accident after falling through an extradimensional rift opened during a dream. It had been easier then somehow, Jade was still familiar but heshe had changed so much, hisher mind had atrophied somewhat. The boat glided down to a heavy and ancient looking pier jutting out of a mountain, the boat's bottom slapped loudly against the milky green water that surrounded the piles and stretched for as far as Jade's unusual optics would allow. Delta could feel the rays of light bending now, heshe could sense them moving through the gel and he could follow them with his mind, they were slippery but he was determined. Slowly hisher vision clarified, the world unfolding and flattening like origami in reverse. The green mountain towered above them, it was covered so thickly with trees that only the bare base near the waterline was visible, wavy rings of strata like malachite. The milky waves lapped ineffectually at the ancient cliffs. The pier was hewn from solid stone, but with masterful artistry it had been shaped to mimic wood, replete with jade ropes, jade nails, jade planks, jade beams and jade piles. Even a few jade barnacles were included for good measure. Dillon tied up the boat, the woman stepped ashore, The Changer followed. "Thanks for the lift." Heshe projected hisher thought through the languid gel towards the maiden. She turned and pulled back her cowl, a smile forming on her full black lips. "Good luck." Her reply reached himher from behind, meandering around hisher head, sometimes these projected thoughts just went where they wanted, becoming lost forever in the infinite green depths. After having touched the reassuring solidity of the pier Delta felt that familiar sensation of knowing where heshe needed to go. Destinations were like sent thoughts in Jade, there were no guarantees that you would get where you were going, but at the same time if you were meant to get there, nothing could stop you. The Changer's feet lifted off the hewn jade 'planks', somehow heshe moved through the slush, its density changed around himher perhaps in response to hisher emotions or desire to see hisher old friend. Thickening behind, thinning in front, pulling and sucking himher along just as it pushed himher forward. Heshe could sense distinctly a hardening at hisher point of entry, the farther away heshe got the harder it became, soon it would be as solid as the jade mountain by the docks. That was another quirk of Jade, the stronger your desire the more the world could help you, but the strength of your resolve was a double-edged sword, the easier your journey forward the harder it became to go back. For Delta heshe knew that heshe could not return the way heshe had come, it would be like trying to swim through concrete. Meanwhile the atmosphere that heshe flew through now was so thin and clear that it was indistinguishable from the air of hisher home world.
It's that time of year again when I introspectively analyze a bunch of stuff. I reread the last couple of posts and realized that there are parts of me that live too much in a bubble, not only was the writing itself fairly mediocre, but the storytelling was somewhat melodramatic. Neotoy is the ultimate bubble though, right? Literally a bubble-type universe. TBH this particular 'Jade' arc has this unusual character because it's not my usual fare, therefore when I'm writing it I feel very uncertain, and my default 'voice' when it comes to uncertainty is apparently poorly written melodrama. This is the main reason I've spent so much time working on Neotoy itself, because if the universe is not real to me, if it is full of gaps and doubts, then I cannot write it well, and I cannot give it the emotional sincerity that it needs to not suck.
Jade is barely even skin deep, it is like an afterthought that is not even half-baked, still batter stage. A side-quest. The only part of the continuum that is even less refined would be 'Azerbaijan', an arc so flimsy that I haven't even given it a proper name yet. I feel like this is one of the major perils of storytelling at the continuum level... inevitably you end up with a back-alley dumpster full of odds and ends that glimmer like gems, but don't really fit into the main trunk of the canon. Jade was a cool idea, so was Azerbaijan, each could in turn evolve into its own extra-dimension (as intended), but this is a slow process that could take decades as the requisite mythology grows around it to support its theoretical future-weight.
If I've learned anything working for a non-profit, it's that you can't afford to dilute yourself... the thinner you get spread the weaker and shittier everything becomes, soon you are on your last legs before you even realize it. It's equally perilous however to end up waiting forever for maturity to arrive... the continuum is barely out of its teens, and hence still socially awkward and prone to emotional outbursts. Speaking honestly with myself, could I even write a single scene with confidence? I'm not sure, and that is answer enough. The site is basically dead, the cmap hasn't been updated for years. I've got too many balls in the air, although it's more like they're all on the ground, obscured by the grass that has grown up around them. Am I even doing anything right now?
I find this line of questioning to be very stimulating to tell the truth. I've tried too many gimmicks over the years, to jump start progress. It's clear that none of them worked, aside from occasionally generating their own magic. My premise is that it's hard to write a story that you don't believe in, and every post like this reads like a breakup or suicide note. Neotoy is as real to me as anything, and yet somehow it exists just outside my peripheral vision, like a sleep-deprivation induced hallucination. A dim shadow of a world that flickers by, never coming fully into the frame. It's like an old friend I stopped talking to years ago, I know if I ever met them again we'd get along, but are they even still alive? IDk.
How do people lose touch? How do people become friends to begin with? That initial spark of life that originates from the aether, where does it come from, where does it go? No one knows. But you certainly know when it's gone. You may not want to believe it, but you know. Neotoy is not like that, it's still alive, the spark is still there. But it feels like it's taking an awfully long nap, or like it fell into a coma, probably waiting for the world to end before it can wake up. By then it will be too late, naturally. Just like me, it's a universe too lazy to exist. Make waves? Why bother? Just keep dreaming, the bed is so nice and cozy, is getting up really worth it, if you don't have to?
The tea was green and very hot, it steamed sagaciously from the center of the table on an intricately carved opaque jade tray the ageless man had placed between them. "So what is this place, really?" The waiter paused, he looked thoughtful before answering, perhaps he was just being cautious. "It is what you would call a refuge. In many respects it is not all that different from where you come from." Delta raised hisher eyebrows. "You know of Neotoy?" The waiter's eyes sparkled, seeming to laugh, but his face remained impassive. "Everyone knows of Neotoy." Then he looked strangely sad, focusing on some distant point far beyond view. "There are few in this room who would not give an arm, a leg or an eye to sojourn on your hallowed city-planet. Among the many worlds it is known as a place where death cannot trespass, a lonely iridescent pearl, a priceless treasure gleaming eternal in the boundless void, but..." He laughed woefully, his good humor appearing to return as easily as it had departed. "Also renowned for being a place that no one can trespass!" Leaning forward he lowered his voice. "There are only rumors, but I have heard from a reputable source that a wild Space Puma once found a way through." His statement hung in the air, the room became curiously quiet, it seemed a question and Delta could think of no reason not to settle any lingering doubt. "Yes. A Space Puma did visit us once. They go where they will, unbidden." Heshe finished somewhat contritely, a note of bitterness creeping into hisher otherwise benign voice. The din surrounding them resumed. The waiter nodded sagely, the revelation of the secret seemed to signify a change in atmosphere, an unfamiliar intimacy descended, Delta felt as though heshe had passed an unspoken test and had been accepted by the room. Smiling, The Changer reached out and clasped one of the cylindrical nearly translucent jade teacups, the waiter in turn, also smiling lifted the sturdy, practical looking jade teapot and filled hisher cup. Delta grunted then brought his other massive blue hand to bear on the seemingly immovable cup. Straining with both arms he managed at last to lift it, guiding it smoothly to his mouth he took a sip and nearly scalded his lips. It was however some of the most delicious green tea he had ever tasted. The waiter clapped slowly and soundlessly, his grin was infectious. "I only bring the fine china out for special guests." He gestured at a nearby table, the cups were short sections of green timber bamboo, the pot a typical rustic looking dark brown stoneware. "I'm the only one who can lift them." He laughed. "The tea is exceptional isn't it?" He did not wait for a reply, only nodded and gestured emphatically towards the windows behind The Changer. His hand pointing at an odd upward angle, intersecting with the roof. "They, send us a bale every month. It comes by... boat." He did not lower his arm until Delta turned hisher head, through one of the high windows he could clearly see what at first glance heshe mistook for a large green smudge on an invisible pane. As hisher eyes focused a subtle motion shattered the illusion. The sphere was ringed with a swirling mist of delicate blue, a seamless watery vapor that blurred the boundaries of that other world with the surrounding sky. The center like the eye of a malachite hurricane, a beguiling dark green eye or perhaps a drain bored through the azure heavens and funneling them into the blackness of space. "There she is: beautiful, and mysterious Jade! The noble gem around which the many lesser moons are set like bleak insufferable stones." Delta looked away, although it was not without considerable effort. "This moon is no stone though." Heshe said quietly. The waiter nodded subtly. "The perceptiveness of your people is not exaggerated. As you surmised, this moon is nothing but a giant ball of water." The Changer finished hisher tea, the waiter piled everything on the tray and cleared it effortlessly. He was back in a few minutes, business was apparently slow in Jade Tea House.
Next level problem solving. So the simplistic 3-step algorithm for 2D mapping was completed after approximately three years. I theorized that it would take an exponential step in time to achieve the 3D version, and another exponent for the 4D, effectively exceeding my lifespan by many centuries. So what is needed is an exponential increase in intelligence, which I don't think is impossible. Just as an interesting analytical aside: the difference between the 2D & the 3D is clearly vast. Initially I had hoped that this could be a modular exploration, the 2D would act as a foundation upon which I could reach the 3D solution... however they appear totally unrelated at this point. So I wonder if all that time was wasted? Is there even a functional application for the 2D solution? Looking at it now I feel like there isn't, because 2D isn't real and furthermore 3D without time isn't real. So it's just as likely that a hard-won 3D solution would prove just as useless over time. This makes me worry about possible 5D issues, my ignorance of dimensionality is severe. Lastly the most difficult challenge to day involves proofs. As solutions become ever more sophisticated, it becomes far more difficult to prove them to my satisfaction. Proving the 2D was easy, but proving a 3D solution seems nearly impossible with my limited tools. It's just extra but there is also the issue of ideal vs. non-ideal solids: working with a theoretical IVM is all well and good, but applying the IVM to reality is questionable at best. If there was such a thing as an actual IVM framework, i.e. gravity as previously speculated, it would clearly be rife with extreme topographical distortions... for which I have no way theoretical or otherwise to account. All I seem to know so far is that spirals play a huge role, and understanding rotational direction/orientation is crucial. My dyslexia makes this particularly challenging. This described form must extend both in the macro and the micro to infinity, hence any selected sample of the form contains its requisite behavioral DNA (the algorithm) which can be used to project the form forward or backwards in time to 'predict' its trajectory with 100% accuracy. The fact that this behavior can be described strongly indicates that it can and does exist. Perhaps the 2D algorithm provides some clues as how to proceed. The IVM as well displays a clear 3D origin.
"Everything is fine." This could very well be the subtitle of Neotoy; a universe that does not revolve around conflict, but wherein everything is "perfect" and that is the biggest problem of all. A Utopia that is not a dystopia, if the denizens suffer from anything it is boredom. Nor is there any desire to create conflict. This is the final frontier of serialized entertainment.
More about Jade. I was thinking a few things about this today, first I want to tie a bunch of loose ends together so "Jade" is just one of several exotic moons that orbit a special planet. Another one is likely to be "Azerbaijan", although by another name, possibly another gemstone strongly associated with Arabia. Now while these are real places, I want them to also be connected to the meridian fortresses in Neotoy. So effectively there is an extra-dimensional 'world' associated with each fortress and they share the gemstone name. In each meridian fortress there should be a portal that links the two worlds so that it's possible to travel between them at will, assuming you have access to the fortress.
In most epic stories there is some great overarching conflict between primal forces: good vs. evil, poor vs. rich, smart vs. dumb, etc. But Neotoy has no such central themes, Neotoy is a 21st century story, it is distributed by its very nature. The three societal sects: black, gray and white are all ruled by an underlying fundamental core of civility. Ideologically they may possess oppositional views but they ultimately 'agree to disagree', when they fight it is to manifest the truths inherent to their doctrine, not to kill & not to die. Perhaps on some level Neotoy is a "PG" universe, emotion is never allowed to run rampant, passion is curtailed, always the true sight of all is set on the vision of a world without suffering or idiocy. To fail, to fall, to succumb is unthinkable, as it is unknowable.
Tea by the canal, the otters were frolicking as is their wont. Delta eyed them inconspicuously via his flickering diadem of extradimensional eyes, a mysterious stab of jealousy causing hisher head to turn away from the shimmering water. The secret world only they could know, as they swam effortlessly down into the bottomless sapphire depths. Of course he had his own secret world, and there was some comfort to be taken therein, but how long had it been since he visited Numera on her grandmother's boat, really? Hisher mind wandered, sluggishly back through the aeons, suddenly the haze congealed around the broad mantle where he had left the crude looking green bottle. It stood exactly as he remembered it, affixed immovably in a cleverly reconstituted stand composed of the mantle itself, although formed to appear casually detached. The wavy green glass beset with countless bubbles looked hand-blown, at first glance wholly unremarkable. But if your eyes were to linger just a moment longer than necessary, a mysterious change would begin to take place.
You would notice at first that the color of the glass was not quite a green as you thought, its dark lustrous emerald would give way to a growing iridescence, as though you were observing the flapping wing of a butterfly or fluttering feather of a peacock. As the color changes the glass becomes both less clouded and less crudely contoured, its pitted surface hardening and seeming to stretch and slide into an impossible smoothness. The color becomes impossible to define, no longer green nor blue, and yet not aqua or teal. Although you would be distracted by other things, because now your eyes can penetrate the shroud of smoky glass, and inside you would behold a most remarkable scene: a supernaturally articulate model of a tiny yet somewhat dilapidated looking tea house.
It is clearly on some kind of beach as it is surrounded by pale green sand, it is also set on heavy green piles, encrusted with barnacles. The roof is made of many tiles, predictably green. As your eyes continue to focus on the surreal detail of the diorama you notice that the doors are open, and you can peer deep inside the structure. To your infinite surprise there is a tiny hearth and in it an oddly yellow fire is flickering. But your amazement only lasts a moment, as your gaze is finally and fully captured by a familiar green glint on the mantle. The bottle you originally saw is somehow inside itself, and as you look away, at last released from the captivity of the spectacle, you realize that you are no longer where you were. The fire is now in front of you and the tea house is surrounding you.
It's larger than you would have guessed, there are perhaps a dozen tables scattered chaotically about inside. You are not alone. A momentary hush following your curious arrival is replaced by a dull and somehow familiar murmur. There are perhaps forty other occupants, most are sitting quietly, drinking tea, eating small cakes or dumplings while engaging in muted conversations. A waiter approaches, a man of indefinable age, agile with glowing skin but stooped and wrinkled around his pale green eyes. His sleeveless shirt appears to be fashioned from faded opalescent fish skin, his arms flex as he dries his hands on a small dirty apron worn about the waist, muscles like ropes of iron ripple just below the surface. "Another visitor!" He remarks with genuine elation, a heavy accent that never seems to interfere with his masterful elocution.
"Sit wherever you like, assuming the seat is not already occupied!" He laughs, delighted at his own joke, and despite the offer, gesturing to the nearest table. You sit and for the first time your hands touch the solid surface. The table just like everything else is carved from a single solid piece of jade. He slides out one of the table's four chairs for you to sit, with apparent ease, but as you settle down it will not so much as budge a hair. The waiter looks down somewhat guiltily at his bare feet, his subtle grin seems both derisive and apologetic. He clears his throat suddenly smiling again. "The tea is always free, but everything else will cost you scales. That is our only rule here." The emphasis of key words convey a deep and layered meaning. This is no ordinary tea house, that much is clear.
"Can you tell me where I am?" You ask. His affect imparts that he lives for no other reason than to answer stupid questions. "This is Jade Tea House. But if you are asking where that is, then there is no correct answer, because right now, we are nowhere. Or to be more precise: we are in the middle of nowhere, moving swiftly along as we ride in style on the broad back of a giant aquatic beast we call Marwhale. And that Majestic creature in turn swims in a single ocean that spans the surface of this entire moon. Everything has a name, but everyone is a visitor here, just like you, so there are not many who know or care to remember them." His eyes appear to offer a challenge, a hint of provocation.
"But what about you? Are you just a visitor too?" He seems surprised at first, or maybe bemused but recovers quickly with another disarming grin. "Oh. I am what you would call one of the very rare locals." You nod uncertainly, it's unclear if you have learned anything useful. "So if this is a moon, then there must be a world somewhere nearby." He laughs. "Oh yes! A very unusual planet, you can see it every evening, all you need to do is look out a window." Somewhat conspiratorially he moves closer and talks quietly. "This tea house was brought from there long ago, all this Emerald Jade is from that world, every table, chair & teacup! It is no ordinary stone since it is from that place." He left this statement unqualified, and after a moment's pause concluded. "You look thirsty, I'll bring some tea."
No words without proofs. So I've been working sporadically on updating my Vector Clock app. The next release is going to be pretty big since it includes an almost complete rewrite of the GUI in addition to several new themes.
One of the biggest parts of the new release is something of a side-side project. Due to my lethargy regarding the main neotoy project, I've resorted to slyly injecting neotonian research into my other non-neotoy ventures. Timekeeping is rife with universals, so it was only natural that I opportunistically included a unary numbers theme derived from sen-script. Not many will be aware of my sen-script R&D, and while it has been perpetually on the back-burner of the larger neotoy project, it will some day play a critical role. Because of this I've felt chronically motivated to keep inching it forward whenever I can.
For those who don't know, a "unary" number system is one where each numeral is self-expressing. The most classic example would be six-sided dice which use dots to represent their requisite numbers. Rather than relying on meaningless cryptic symbols or bases (like virtually every other numeral system) unary numbers are unambiguous and can be deciphered almost immediately even if the civilization that created them is erased. While this sounds ideal, the big downside is that number size is inversely proportional to their legibility and hence utility, which drops away almost exponentially after the number nine. The number zero is also a challenge to represent.
Interestingly enough, while almost painfully simplistic, unary number systems can have an impressive level of diversity. Depending on your specific requirements you may chose from a variety of basic schemes: dots, lines, circles, rays, grids, etc. Glyphs can be different sizes or the same, symmetrical or asymmetrical, large and complicated or small and dangerously unremarkable. For my purposes I need the numbers 0 (zero) to 24. And since they are intended to denote hours on a clock face there are certain aesthetic considerations.
A few basic rules for my unary number system:
· Number structure must be determined via simple consistent rules, essentially an algorithm.
· Where organic variations are possible the algorithm should deterministically provide bias.
· Glyphs should take up roughly the same space and have a similar visual density despite size.
· Each number should appear unique enough to be easily visually differentiated at a glance.
The site has kinda been on the back burner, while my mind has perhaps never been more active. One of the most recent questions I've been asking myself: what is eroticism? Thoughts overshadowed by the persistent awareness of how the scale of human activity on this planet keeps producing outcomes that trivialize almost all intellectual pursuits. This is particularly mystifying because while in so may ways society has never been more anti-intellectual, it is in effect intellectualism that is driving all these monolithic changes. Scale trivializes intelligence but it is intelligence that empowers and facilitates exponentially expanding scale. A paradox that boggles the imagination. Meanwhile the world dies, a casualty of our war on... what exactly? A war on life itself it seems. Yet another paradox comfortably encapsulated within the first.
As I chose my final occupation, prepared to live out my final days doing something that brings me pleasure, I am driven deeper into the enduring mysteries of my youth. The eroticism that drove me so far into the unknown, I only question it now, too late perhaps but better late than never. How purely subjective it seems in retrospect, that I actually believed there was some characteristic of universal beauty. Beauty is personified, personalized. I realized just tonight, mere minutes ago, how special and wonderful it is to know that these words I write can be best understood by other human beings: this is utterly unique! Unlike the things that I find erotic, or beautiful. If I describe the visceral experience of smelling the overpowering sexual reek of a highly aroused naked woman, it may mean nothing to you, erotically.
But you can still imagine it. What you imagine may not even be possible, a total fiction: the scene, the actors, the chemicals, the emotions; you're inventing it all. The words are just a seed planted in your mind. You could never feel what I felt, or think what I thought. It's possible you've never experienced anything like it yourself, and if you did, if we'd changed places for the duration of that experience? Maybe the woman is just an inert uninteresting thing, and her smell is just a distasteful and distracting irritation. When people share their stories they are typically searching for some kind of resonance. They expect commonality. But the commonality of life is only rivaled by its complexity and hence tendency to become suddenly and unexpectedly alien.
Coded messages are everywhere but code-breakers are few. Each of us is like a cable TV network, and each of us is like a cable box. Some people only get showtime, others only get fox news. No one has the full package, but everyone is broadcasting the full spectrum. Within this deafening and blinding infinite scrambled channels white noise soup we form idiotic narrow-(and like)-minded tribes that cling desperately to a tenuous similarity. As the scale of the world keeps expanding, driving all these niche interests further and further into the fringe of overall relevancy. But that's actually backwards, it's the "real" world that is being aggressively marginalized, as obscure niches expand to encompass entire swaths of human consciousness.
There are those who resist, the hapless throwbacks who think they can somehow turn around and go back. A process which itself becomes a niche, indistinguishable from any other. It is our behavior and not the content of, that defines our coded messages. The pattern is not universal though, none of them are. Which is why when I ask: what is eroticism? The answer is probably: there is no such thing. There is not one single thing that could be described as universally erotic. There are only things which are consistently erotic to specific self-identified sub-cultures of human beings. Incidentally, and fascinatingly IMO, there is plenty of overlap between human & animal 'eroticism', however these mutually comprehensible coded messages are presumably only cognizant to us.
The original question has been unraveled only to reveal far broader implications. All thoughts are subject to this unflattering statistical analysis. There are no 'universals' what so ever. You could say: everyone loves breathing oxygen. You'd be wrong. Or: everyone needs to breath oxygen. Also wrong (it can be injected directly into the bloodstream). Everyone needs oxygen to live. Wrong again. Who is "everyone"? You may say it's mere semantics, you could write a very long and legal sounding air-tight statement... you are only forgetting a few things: in the future you could be wrong anyway. Language itself can change over time, meaning itself is mutable. Even if you're right for the moment, other people (the only ones capable of comprehending your statement) can still chose to reject it, for almost any reason.
And this is ultimately the state of the 21st century intellectual landscape we are rushing further and further into. Subjectivity to 11. We can get away with it for two very compelling reasons: 1. the planet is totally fucked and we'll be extinct pretty soon. 2. there are so many fucking people on this rock that only vast inscrutable and inherently unjust mechanisms are capable of selecting and/or defining anything of significance; thereby rendering it immediately insignificant, due to utter falseness. Truly significant things are not only overlooked, they are actively removed from our general awareness. This is done not out of malice but for the simple reason that they cannot be controlled; which is the antithesis of any mechanism.
Yet even all these forces are subverted by their own essence. There are always elements that defy all structure, things that remain true regardless of denial. However they strike at random, phasing in and out of existence on their own whimsy. They are so powerful that two time lines are necessary to describe them: one where they are unknown and invisible until they appear, and another where they disappear and are then unknown as though they never were. An oscillation of two waves overlapping, but never actually touching or syncing. So for each person it is a unique story, wholly unique. An individualized eroticism that may in fact overlap with others, but does resonance alone imply meaning or value? Subjectivity expanding, becoming symbolic of something else, but what?
The question keeps resurfacing: what is eroticism, really? An acknowledgment that there are certain recurrent patterns in the universe that we are able to perceive, patterns that cause pleasure. And what is pleasure but a coded signal that can be felt and experienced but never fully understood.
Antarctic Ice will decline by an unprecedented %75 by the end of the third quarter. Consequent dramatic sea level rise will put most of New York City under water. This is due primarily to feedback loops and the release of massive methane reserves compounded by the growing carbon saturation of the world's oceans.
Dead zones throughout the Pacific & Atlantic will grow in size; acidification & deoxygenation will decimate marine life, especially coral. Massive die-offs of phytoplankton precedes global oxygen levels falling to their lowest point in millions of years. Urban areas will be the most effected, some will become dead zones themselves as the concentration of fossil fuel & combustion-based technology creates bubbles of pollution-rich unbreathable atmosphere. Beijing is probably one of these cities.
Temperature extremes will reach lethal levels persisting for days or sometimes even weeks in thermal pockets around the world, this will start in early summer. Where these pockets overlap with urban areas in third-world countries (particularly slums) hundreds of thousands of people will die from exposure, perhaps even millions. The greatest loss however will the forests; a combination of fire & drought will turn millions of hectares of currently endangered woodlands to ash.
Storms will be more extreme, there will be at lest three category five hurricanes.
AI will reach new heights, with machine 'intelligence' 'learning' to write sophisticated algorithms capable of disrupting many foundational elements of information technology and the internet. The comprehension of these algorithms will be beyond the ability of human computer scientists.
3D printing & 'grown' materials (i.e. modumetal) will be mainstream by the end of the second quarter. Meaning that more than %50 of 'mass produced' consumer & industrial grade products will contain components manufactured via these techniques. < %10 of all products produced will be completely printed or grown.
Solar power will become the undisputed top source of energy world-wide. 2017 will be considered 'the year of solar'. The further development of nuclear power, including all its fringe forms will be effectively abandoned by the end of the year.
A manned mission to Mars will be attempted, it will fail spectacularly. This will not however deter a repeat attempt.
Global stock markets will experience massive corrections as financial entities begin to absorb the impact of accelerated climate change. A recession of greater severity than 2008 will start at the beginning of the third quarter.
bitcoin and the blockchain will be compromised by advances in non-linear decryption technology. e-commerce & online banking however will be able to adapt by 'upgrading' to non-linear encryption many magnitudes more theoretically secure.
Israel & Palestine will still be at war, however their idiotic conflict will be overshadowed by lethal heat waves & chronic water shortages ruthlessly afflicting both sides. Palestinians will suffer the greatest losses, however it will also be suggested and then established that the middle east as a whole is becoming uninhabitable.
China will quickly forget Trump's inflammatory rhetoric about Taiwan.
India will suffer a cataclysmic humanitarian crisis. A pandemic.
Russia & US tensions will all blow over. Allegations of hacking will go nowhere. Russia will get a lot warmer, this will allow for greater development and the impression of a type of social Renaissance.
Canada... what about it? Countless cords of damp firewood will get a little less damp.
The United States will become deeply disillusioned as Trump is revealed to be an incompetent charlatan.
Mexico will keep whining about Trump's wall, but the wall will never be built, so it will actually become a joke.
Central & South America will remain mostly untamed & unscathed, aside from the fires.
The British Isles; the UK will rebound, Brexit will turn out to have been a really good idea after all. This will have far-reaching repercussions, many other EU countries will follow suit, the European Union will fall apart piece by piece. Some will not fare as well as others.
Africa will also suffer a cataclysmic humanitarian crisis. The most extreme heat wave on earth rendering the equatorial band uninhabitable.
Australia will continue to go to shit thanks to some of the worst leadership in the world. Australians will survive somehow though.
Saudi Arabia will collapse as the price of oil falls into the single digits by the fourth quarter. Monarchistic infighting will eradicate the aristocracy.
DPRK will continue as always to posture & rattle their sabers, nothing will come of it. Ironically Kim Jong-un will lead North Korea into a genuine golden age, dismantling the weakened military junta and restoring good relations with the South.
Iran will be temporarily forgotten as it does not play a pivotal role in the current US propaganda campaign. Meanwhile powerful secular undercurrents will begin a gradual societal transformation returning Iran to a far more progressive era reminiscent of the 1960s.
Syria does not recover.
Iraq continues to disintegrate. By the middle of the year the US has fully withdrawn.
There will be no major terrorist attacks in 2017. ISIS will disband voluntarily, but not due to any action on part of the United States.
Across the board theology will continue to lose ground as climate change technology & a faltering globalism relentlessly undermine it.
As much of the middle east, including the holy city becomes uninhabitable, Judeo-Christianity and all its derivatives will be put to the question.
Islam will suffer greatest however, as its centers of power are stripped away in conjunction with terrorism & extremism becoming pariahcal even in populist contexts as borders are redrawn by climate change.