“Preconceived ideas and buzzwords are represented by hypnotic devices for the cognition of purpose which coerces and fixes the senses of things and the connotations of actions within the narrow limits of closed and absolute systems of rationalization.” — Julianne Fortuin, Cognitive Markets
As the subjective world impressed itself Nas found himself unimpressed. It was as though he had been afforded the privilege of that special allotment known as “inner space” as a sanctuary or consolation away from the intimations of power. But it was all so unconvincing. The more he contemplated the nature of subjectivity it showed itself up time and time again as fictitious, as did power.
While floating in the algorithmic floatation sphere it became apparent that no-one could ever hope to achieve much with algorithms, except maybe in non-fiction stories calculated to ground the self-narrativising subject into the ground, which might have been of some use or other, but it was either a quarter past six in the evening or the morning and already the cloudless sky was as still and clear as day.
The casino demanded fresh players and would assimilate even the most luscious rebels and outsiders to make them into unlucky numbers like all the rest. Gender was a profile category which facilitated the identification of multiple categories of social order or the lack of it. When a person committed various erotic acts over time, they were said to have a sexuality. Heteronormativity wore the mask of entrepreneurial endeavour for the sake of keeping up appearances but everyone had become an artist anyway.
Art was making personal opinions and questions into academic theses with added visuals. Mankind was a consumer product that caused every conceivable problem unless re-educated. This suited Art because they sought approval from a small group of people from the 1980s who wore suits and believed they controlled how everyone felt about problems. Art’s works were in the form of questions or opinions about perceived problems and/or facts with added visuals.
Someone left a building after someone else walked them out the door. They had to find somewhere to go, but where? There was bad weather and illness. An essay written in a library was perceived as a threat to millions of people. A man went missing at sea at the same time as another got murdered.
A Polish mystic from the medieval times reincarnated in the present day. Obviously, it was a mis-translation and I’m paraphrasing, but he said that consciousness was a prerequisite for the coordinates of every location and that it could be apprehended by the senses and shown to be the substance of which everyone on the planet was made. He was also said to have said, “Gods and devils are the creed of women, but men are their own creed,” which just goes to show how boredom produces monsters. He had no spatial awareness but in those days, it hadn’t been invented.
The human had been placed on a road paved with gold leading to an untraceable goal, divided by imperialist scum that slithered about in the commentator’s box calling each other Sir or Madam and paying out billions for the latest genetic engineering results.
Assassins were a dying breed.
The cuckoo clock chimed, sounding like the epitome of tedium. Primordial time was represented by a cute picture of Mother Nature in a battledress.
A lesser man would have flinched and baulked at the notion of having to accept the uselessness of such freedom from liberty but I denied I was any kind of man and affirmed with alacrity and legerdemain that any privilege I’d ever had was a magic trick I’d unlearned, and was unearned and uncalled for.
As he grunted like an old pack horse, N tied the plastic wings to Belladonna’s ankles. Where were N and B? They weren’t really there.
So, once again unbound from the overrated sense of recognition which was just the force of habit, in the last few days of panic and frenzy that surrounded them, for N and B there would only ever be the sheer spectacle of word and deed.
B’s doppelganger scrubbed the globs of spunk from her painted thighs as the original resolved not to make any more copies. Later, in the austere luxury of the watery hole in which she soaked, the hands of N massaged her inverted soles. Soon she would take flight.
A man forced a herd of buffalo to run very quickly. Photographs were taken of people objecting to certain styles of clothing. Somebody fell off a conveyor belt while dreaming about being in another part of the world. A wall was built next to a house. People in tents hid from gunfire.
Maybe it was time for serendipity? Maybe it was time that invention should take hold? Maybe that phone message inviting B to the opera could just be ignored? She could just get in the Volvo and drive and drive and drive.
It would have been disingenuous of N to define himself as a persona or member or citizen, least of all a pseudoscientist. The pseudoscientists were simply poseurs seeking to uphold a reputation. He was an enigma. He tended towards self-contradiction and lacked any will in the areas of mortality, functionality or inter-subjectivity. The productions of their definitions, on the other hand, obsessed the pseudoscientists.
By the skin of his teeth N passed the flight test and landed somewhere on the fringes. With or without B and her milky weaponry, her school-desk gin and multi-terrain patterns, N would remain tabula rasa.
There were those who said they were voices in the head.
You may not have liked it, but you couldn’t just ignore Reality TV. No-one knew what anything really was anymore because of Reality fucking TV and its cool cults of personality.
[A riddle: I am outside society, outside history, outside nations, found in the dead of night and in the mountains. I am made by all people, but not in libraries or schools. What am I?*]
The Information Age had been around for ages, but the information agents had made sure no one understood which information was what. They gave out devices which provided the facility to place bets in casinos. The main victims of this charade were the scapegoats who butted their horns against the electrified fences of the schoolyard while pleading with their teachers to stop scapegoating them. They had been branded with trademarks with which they tried to game the casinos and win. Their teachers told them they were no different, they were all scapegoats together, so they should keep the peace and express themselves as one.
“Shame on you all,” said a priest.
On a Reality TV show a thief who lived in a garret was asked how they got away with it. They skulked in the shadows enumerating each and every ill-gotten gain, mumbling something about the inconvenience of all the cameras and lights and crew. The thief was a guilt-ridden miser addicted to Reality TV and the perusal of old ledgers that enumerated the goods they’d stolen in the past.
Thievery had become a lost art and all the thief had left was the inconvenience of it all. The TV cameras showed no mercy as they recorded the thief’s reluctant reversal of their shameful ways which since age fourteen had amassed them a considerable amount of stolen goods. First they would have to return a leg of lamb stolen from the butcher’s, then a plaid carpet stolen from a telecommunications company headquarters, and the greatest symbol of their pride and shame, some curious artefacts stolen from a small museum in the village of their youth, the value of which was several hundred.
All the crimbos in those days were made into celebs.
The obscenity of it all was pornographic. The thief’s body of work became a lurid display, the artefacts made to look like fetish objects, like an advert for the erotic act of thievery. It carried such a weird sexual charge even the crew had to steal themselves to get through the job.
“Tough job,” said the make-up boy as he smudged the thief’s lips for the umpteenth time.
“What did he do to you?”
N drank some rose-coloured milk and in his animalistic mind dreamed of a murky swamp that threatened to swallow up the logos. Word had already got out. The logos would not be re-named but removed altogether.
What had been uppermost in N’s animalistic mind was escape from the disease of productivity. He was willing to make a compromise with the dominant order and carry out whatever was demanded of him if it meant production would cease. Otherwise, he would just destroy the laboratory.
Some science people got money to help them find planets that had people living on them. They were routinely ignored.
“Something in your past haunting you? Have some MeTime, the new application from UcanBU.”
The criticism of Art proceeded with phrases like: “That’s shit,” “I didn’t like it” or “It’s not bad” or “I thought it was really good.”
Z looked at N like a spare rod. She was trained in military combat and willing to act as a vessel for the violent languages of the trade in love. Her eyes lit up like a victor in battle. She got what she wanted: N relented and let her relieve him of his idols’ names.
Before he’d been blessed with the blank slate the names of N’s idols were many. They had been placed upon him by genealogics but in the lab, they’d lost their purpose and so Z in a military uniform removed the names on his feet first, then his ankles and those attached to his waist, the names on his shoulders, his forearms and the ones that crowned his head.
About 80% of what was known was actually unknown. Nothing would make sense and it wouldn’t even exist without the unknown. That much was known.
You could always buy fine wine, perfume, memories, cameras, routine, helicopters, kitchen sinks, video games. You could always eat oysters or take up embroidery, but you could never be settled without or within. Without this drama of accusation, you’d be left too high in the sky. So, you were restless.
But it was a task of a very different order to remove the logos wrapped around the neck and other limbs, burned into the skin, etched on to long nerve passages which had been detached and placed in vitrines for the inspection of important personages, with even the other logos attached.
The calculations were sharp and quickened, unwound in roots, in lost pockets and in the magnetic filing cabinets, but the true worth of the calculations was in jeopardy and bliss. The first calculation was of colour and the seasons, but bandits stole its special flow, and colours and seasons couldn’t be settled within or without. The second just let the world go by. The third hung in the sky, restless.
Once the logos separated out, in many cases, the similarities between the unique and the uniquely attached could be seen quite clearly. Once the sense of urgency was banished to the hinterlands, it was easier to get to the underpinnings, which more often than not turned out to be rather flimsy.
Once the superstitious foil was peeled off, once the locations and roots of the apparition were identified and ripped from their lodgings, the logos met with fire and incoherent garbage spouted out the iconographic vocabulary of the garbage-peddlers. But it all just fell away into silence. Shrivelled and turned to ash, the logos absorbed into datasexual supernature, consumed by superior fire.
Removing the names had been easier.
Disentangling their twined arms, N and B’s beholder, a rare heartbreaker, nursed a magnetic filing cabinet. The labourer’s romantic comedies were laments for comfort.
The newsboy chose Julia, a woman in a photo in the newspaper, to be his girlfriend. Stubborn in his love, he evolved it by the waxing and the waning of the moon.
There were many theories about the shadowy enigma of the unknown, and taken to their logical outcome, a fragment had been discovered. This was exciting.
The poet’s lute was not vexatious or gross sounding. The anonymous strains of life’s channels were of the purest melodies: Summer’s shine, tear stains, good weapons against the enemy of the enemy that multiplied enemies.
Life’s cherry lay unmoved beneath the gravel. Eyes aspired to dragonflies and life’s cherry. The chalice looked out with the eyes of a huge prehistoric bird who sung a deep and bloody chant. Any bystander would get swallowed up to feed the young.
Poetry was not fantasy. It wasn’t anarchy.
Machine languages in black and white film stills suggested B take action. She already had her helmet beside her in case of any avalanche so there was nothing to fear. The red bricks and insignia pointed the way from one place on the map to another.
“Call off the hounds. You have lost. You can’t catch these foxes. These foxes are a different breed altogether. They are genetic mutations, by-products of the tech behind the bio-psi war that are out of control. They have the speed and agility of jaguars. Get near them and they will eat your hounds alive. They will maim your steeds and devour your livestock. This is a warning. Keep away or face the destruction of everything you hold dear. You have lost. Call off the hunt.”
The fragment called FexHlek.N was composed of other fragments that combined and were similar to or the same as the remaining 20%. The team found the unknown combination highly unusual but it correlated with earlier theories about how fragments can be re-combined to form different states that are known.
Theoretically, it may have been that when the known multi-verse narrative originally had us strung along, some FexHlek.N’s may have gathered together inexplicably.
Perhaps I should have mentioned earlier, but this episode, The Removal of the Logos, relates to a time when N was known as ———. Before then he had been known by many other names, including yours.
Despite her military background, Z was not one to take orders. She had her own ideas on what to do with the names acquired from the body or bodies of N, one of which was to gift them to others such as your future self. She lived with her sister in the barracks not far from the laboratory.
The inhabitants of all the cities he passed through at night pleaded with N to enter different parts of history like a device for the emissaries of the unknown. And indeed, there would be a time in history when N would awaken to find the plate upon which these very words are scrawled. But it would be some time before he would awaken to it, and not just IRL, and not just because of the hallucinogenic injections.
“What you see as material, I see as divine.”
Z’s sister crossed the gateway in anticipation of N’s release from the lab. All their eyelids flickered and their mouths smirked together as a hubbub of voices resounded behind them.
His story would never repeat itself but grow from N’s nameless seed into a replicating and transmutational environment or architexture.
B had sold out her daughters to reality TV. “No regrets,” she said, but to have none was itself regretful. Behind her villa in the countryside she was lifted by her feet and placed in the position of the Hanged Man far from where the daughters lip-synched, festooned in Charlie dust and jewels on TV.
A cryptic owl hooted, and the aroma of the stinking rich all seemed to fade in the moonlight as a chihuahua was heard barking in the garage.
In the laboratory there had been a parasitical non-compliance with the dominant order’s checklist. The pleasures of the crime of supply and demand escaped the grip of the ultra-cops, those paragons of the totality of the nightmare that had infiltrated every home and office by means of electrical impulses ingrained in the ulterior motives of sales talk.
No movement in the laboratory took shape now except by military or industrial purposes, but thanks to Z, N’s mouth and limbs were safe from the mouthing of commands or orders taken.
It was later found suggestive to put on the breastplate of Aaron in an abandoned aeroplane in the yard but N had only just managed to survive one small phase of his so-called existence, as flimsy as it was, and had deliberately consigned his past lives to the past, if indeed there had ever been such a place in time, so he had to make do with driving a sports car on the road to nowhere with his Yves St Laurent scarf blowing in the wind.
“He doesn’t speak. Words just come out of his mouth.”
The unknown had always drawn a blank but crystallisation of the FexHlek.N’s may have pointed to its origin, which was thrilling to know. The question was, how did FexHlek.N’s get drawn together in the first place, and how did they divide? New measurements would be carried out to simulate their interactions in Bavaria, Alaska and Hawaii.
The indigenous of the true earth had been forced at gunpoint to go touristic. Speech on the radio was communicating uneasily as it travelled from one site of cultural genocide to another, following a linear mathematical equation. The mechanical model which had given birth to the uranium mines, steel mills and shipyards was a code for a despiritualized abstraction, and now the curse of rationality was being applied in algorithms to the fact-bound cognitariat’s industrial revolutions.
The industrial wounds of the logos, or the remains (which was just the reddish hue of a seasoning for a new recipe), would be taken to the burning ground and disposed of there by the Cipher Agent.
The Cipher Agent had the spectre of the Source Code to impart and would give false information to the enemy. There was no need for insurrection or forgiveness, for the Cipher Agent possessed the secret of the world: “Blood is security.”