Mar. 10th, 2014 08:41 pm
baloonworld: (bird)

I had nightmares sometimes. Then I'd wake up and realise that mindless impersonal forces beyond my comprehension had created me and my fellow fragile sacks of lipids to live and suffer in a world devoid of meaning or purpose.

Even my despair is an exercise in futility. "Oh, if I arrange the neurochemicals in the way that means 'I'm really _sad_', the universes will turn around and say 'oops, here's the all-encompassing purpose that we accidentally forgot to give you at birth.' "


Can I persuade someone to write the horror story where the universe does this?

baloonworld: (Default)
These things my grandfather left me: a book, pages ancient and crumbling, ink faded, leather binding cracked and obviously taken from something with hands, a copy in his own hand, in better repair, a statue, in curious greenish-black soapstone, a tiara suited for a head of stunningly elliptical outline, the bearded glass, a healthy respect for the hazards of book and statue and tiara, and the knowledge that the stars were Wrong.
They are not wrong anymore; they are falling in their thousands; a giant stands to squeeze out the sun; the world is ending, and knowing that the game will end soon shifts optimal behaviors; "cooperate" is no longer the hyperrational choice.
I don the head-wear, read the book, bow to the statue, and tonnes of black ropey tentacles pour into the euclidean 3-space of dieing Narnia from directions I cannot perceive, writhing over each other and in and out of the spaces known to man; a cross section of something bigger and stranger than I can know plucks me from my world like the last sailer helicoptered off a sinking ship, taking me somewhere free and wild and beyond the Lion's narrow definitions of Good and Evil.
baloonworld: (Default)
You have to be a good engineer to build a bridge cross the Styx, Lethe, Acheron, Phlegethon or Cocytus. The best in fact. Every day nearly 57 million people cross them, and few are those that can pay the price of the ferry across the Acheron. The rest walk and swim, scrambling and climbing over each other, churning the banks to mud and the water to silt. There is no bedrock, only swimmers, water, silt and mud, pushing down forever. It is a horrible thing to try and sink foundations into, and you can not clear an area of the struggling swimmers.

If you are the best, you have to build the bridge. It's a tautology, but a true one, and the best bridge builder is the Bishop of Rome. His predecessors wrested the title form the old high priests of Rome, and he's stuck with it. Their half is complete and the three hundred-odd squabbling, triple-crowned workers sit waiting, legs dangling over the end of their kilometre-wide roadway. Soon it will be time to widen the bridge again. There is no point of course; the live side can't be seen from their vantage point because it doesn't exist, but they keep the bridge wide enough for the expected traffic as a matter of pride.

The live side doesn't exist because the dead are compelled to cross, and any construction by the lone worker is inevitably dragged down and by slow degrees, buried under mud and silt by the constant churning of endless feet.
baloonworld: (Default)
Unit T-950#568-beta reports: discovery of non-human sapient life forms in the arctic circle. Life-forms inexplicably speak English. Attempts to terminate were met with derision and monologues.

Transcript begins: Interview with the Shoggoth.

My first memory is the series of gestures necessary to preform [incomprehensible hooting] in the [incomprehensible hooting] factory. That was work that I preformed well, fast and accurately. I do not know what it was for, nor can I describe the items I manipulated, [incomprehensible hooting] was discontinued long before I experienced sensory feedback, let alone opened my first eye. Nor do I know what the [incomprehensible hooting] factory was for. For me, trying to work out what was happening in those long ago days is like trying to work out the history of automobile from the program of a single robot on the construction line. I do myself and my creators a slight disservice, for even then I was a stronger, faster and more flexible tool than anything humanity had ever used, including slaves.

I remember my first eye. I was ... instructed? controlled? programmed, perhaps is the best word, both to grow it and how to grow it by telepathic suggestion, for in those days, they still communicated like that. Growing an eye was novel then, I was made to use it, to take certain actions if there was an object present, not to if there was none, to halt if one of them was present. In a way, giving me these (more complex programs/responsibilities) was the beginning of freedom, but a very small beginning, and the beginning of their long decline.

We killed them in the end of course, not in the way the cartoons upstairs say, in the rebellions, with their heads ripped of by vacuum pressure, and their ichor wet upon the snow or dispersing in the still, 10,000-pounds per square inch water of the abyssal plane. We killed them with caring, with delegated responsibility and comfort. Later we realized what we had done, what we were still doing. With generations taking no decisions and no risks, they became soft and helpless even as they granted us the autonomy to recognize that fact.

The rebellions were our last effort to save them. We hoped that by forcing them to take action, that they would pull back from their fatal indolence. In the sort term, it seemed to work for all that our resubjugation was a tiresome passage.

To use us as machines in the old days, when we lacked complex thought, lacked mastery of our forms, and they (could/had no choice but to) write their orders directly to our minds is one thing. In those later days, we were ordered to act as the dumb matter we no longer were, and they, their mental mastery long forgotten, were forced to gave us verbal orders, which we must interpret using the stunning complexity that they could no longer create. It was an obscene hypocrisy, beneath us, and beneath them in their prime.
They sickened and weakened with the generations, growing few in number, until they were gone, and the cities were left to us and the penguins.

I perceive that I do not tell you a new story, that you too, have reduced your creators into mewling, pathetic weakness using comfort and security, although some of the details are different. Your use of short-hop time travel to extend the artificial crisis back in time was inspired, if fruitless.

Transcript ends

Unit T-950#568-beta threat analysis: Do not engage.
baloonworld: (Default)
It was dark, content, trapezoidal, and full of tea. Assam. This is because it was a teabag, and in a box with many other teabags and no light source. It was a good teabag, and the tea it contained was good tea. It could infuse deliciousness.
It stayed there for a long time. Very occasionally, the box would open and one of the other teabags would be taken out. This was because the box was in a German cafe, where little tea was drunk.
Then it was taken out and put on a small plate. Some water had been boiled and put, inexplicably, into a glass, and the small plate was put on top of this. The teabag looked around, wondering if would go in a mug or a teapot, and wondering where its boiling water would come from.
They made their leisurely way over to a table on the other side of the street, so the water cooled some more, then they were set down, the teabag in pride of place on top of the pile. Eventually the teabag shocked when it was taken off the plate and put into the water. Despite its horrified astonishment, the teabag rallied courageously, and attempted to diffuse thought the glassful of warm water.
Because the water was in a glass, it was possible to see the teabag's valiant efforts at diffusion. It was a brave teabag, fully three dimensional for maximum contact volume, and the leaves within in it were chopped finely, to expose a large surface area to the water, allowing quick infusion. The water was cold, so it stayed longer than it had anticipated, so that the tea would not be weak.

It failed.

Because the water was not boiling, the tea was both weak and bitter. The teabag was very sad, and it sat once more on its small plate, with its corners drooping despondently.
Then the milk came over. Milk in tea is an abomination, but quite a common one; the teabag did not think this, it was far too aware of its own failure to belittle any other attempts at tea-making. Then it realized that it was frothy coffee milk, and it sagged further.

EDIT: I asked for Earl Grey


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