Quia sum, Cogito: Chapter 2

this is approximately a 19 minute read.

On the rise of climate concerns

Even after seeing the rise in natural disasters, too few took the increase in carbon emissions seriously in the early naughts and teens. There were some early calls for attention from the grandfathers of the current PoliDoc films (e.g. “When the Levees Broke”, “An Uncomfortable Truth”, “Who killed the Electric Car“ and others), but for the most part these went unheard or neglected. There were a few reasons for this ranging from the era of “brawl match” news (which valued conflict over the Consensus) and the capitalist motivation to undermine systemic issues. […]

Regardless of the final adherence to the unenforceable Paris Climate Agreement that was 2 decades in the making (and far too late), the cataclysmic inertia of disasters was impossible to stop. From water shortages to devastating earthquakes that were novel for the time, an avalanche of problems overwhelmed the world, exponentially becoming more catastrophic from the late 20s to the mid 40s and beyond. Logistic breakdowns collapsed the free markets under their own weight and small international schisms paved the way for Capitalistic Governance and the climate wars. The only saving grace was that undersea carbon reservoirs were never upset.

Dancing on the Knife’s Edge – HS3 Julian Toberch – published September, 23 2096

I won’t have to change out the AR lenses for another 2 and a half months. The crisp images will start to lose connectedness as a warning a few days prior. For now, the barrage of information that changes the landscape using a constant overlay of manufactured information is obvious, but it only takes a few minutes until the brain adapts making it indistinguishable from the natural world. At that point it will be impossible to differentiate between my own mind and those manipulating me.

At the point of loading, the primary assessment is on the stability of the local Tesla Field. Because our neighborhood has invested in the wind ornaments and solar shingles that ensure energy overflow, the thin, barely noticeable wires that span the sky can collect enough energy to electrify the air allowing wireless power. This is always in competition with the need for the electrical grid though, so the state of the current stability is a bit lower than normal, but still unconcerning. After that momentary insight, the visual then shifts to the more practical display.

Most prominent is the optimal route to the CapDem satellite office specific to NC91. The application always prioritizes “socially safe” by default. I “mentally” readjust the prioritization to “fastest route” by flicking a few arm muscles. While the worthless “social safety” score drops from .476 to .023, the ETA drops by 16 minutes and I start walking to the trolley stop that exists outside my neighborhood. The 4 minute stroll will easily put me there before the 11 minute ETA.

Passing the houses on my route brings a snapshot of the society at large. Of the 10 I pass on the way, 3 have been left desolate and are being reclaimed by the wildlife. The properties have been enhanced with solar screens, wind generators, and water collection that feeds back into the community, but those don’t distract from the obvious domestic apathy. Everything from rats to the savage human population are attracted to the overgrowth which can be foraged for food when other options are scarce. The invasion of Squatters is additionally perpetuated by their ability to report to others over social networks as to the accessibility and current status of available regarding the natural horticulture. Some of us attempted to negate the infestation a few years back by cutting back the overgrowth to bring the community up to code, but that evoked the wrath of the pestilent mob. It got so bad that it actually drove a few of the neighbors to seek more civilly aligned communities, assuming because they weren’t as loyal to their homes. The abandoned properties aren’t worth even considering “part of the neighborhood” anymore, but they also can’t be ignored. Some nights we still come over and collect all the food for ourselves so it will be reported as “low food” without drawing the horde’s attention.

Six lots have been salvaged from their decaying states to varying degrees of success. In the past 15 years, some outsiders have laid claim to the properties and made them livable. The inhabitants aren’t natives, so they don’t have our generational pride, but – given the alternative – it’s acceptable. Eventually they will assimilate, but currently the upkeep leaves something to be desired – and for good reason. Since they refuse to engage in the capitalistic social support or economic supply chains to provide lumber or other commodities self-respecting people depend on, all their improvements are outdated and labor intensive. Everything considered, they could be worse: they don’t ask for anything, they keep a tidy lawn (even if they do have various projects or tents set up in them). Which leads to another corrupted virtue: they are kind to a fault. The houses all show a high social safety rating meaning that the rural nomads can find food, water, and electricity if they ever need it. I look through a few submitted scores and it’s obvious that this is ongoing… all of them have played host in the past 8 days. Regardless of their charity, it’s always annoying that they are inviting the riffraff into our community.

My property and peers fall into the remaining category: those that understand pride and status by presenting an appearance which represents the superiority intrinsic to the sovereignty of homeownership. The yards have portions where the weeds have been uprooted to make way for flower beds, walkways, and other cultivations you wouldn’t see in the other yards’ random overgrowth. The relatively low “safety rating” that the houses portray (I have to remind myself that they are being projected by the AR overlay) is the main reassurance that this is an attempt at social engineering: the cleanliness and security is undervalued to favor recklessness and contamination instead. I only assume the score for my own house (which – like all 3rd party evaluations – aren’t allowed to be seen by those being reviewed) would fit this trend as well.

I smile a bit at that thought.

Half way down the street I notice Ralph; he’s starting to head out as well. He’s one of the recent move-ins, only living here for 4 years now with his 3 kids. While he still doesn’t keep his property to the same standard as Tess and I; I’ve had passing conversations with him in which we both agree that the neighborhood needs to look nice. He even mentioned a desire to be left alone. That may be one of the reasons that his “safety rating” is lower than the others. I wave to him… and he waves back. The virtual tint of his house shifts to an “off limits” color to join the other ones that are owned but have been vacated for the day. The attempt to change the default state of property understanding to “public” instead of “private” is just one of a litany of subtle subconscious battles in an ongoing war; a war declared by the Consensus against ordered society in an attempt to redesign human nature.

He mounts his bike, electing to travel in private rather than being crammed into a public transport; a sign of individualism that continues to fall out of fashion. This is at odds with the faded mud stain on his t-shirt and pants which isn’t unusual for people that lived with the Squatter community, but since it blends with his Southern American complexion and short black hair (fading to a buzz on the sides) his lack of pride seems almost inherent. Still, compared to 3 years ago, he’s assimilating better than most of the others. I smile at him again as he rides past.

I arrive at the trolley stop with 5 minutes to spare – as expected. It becomes harder to hold onto any semblance of order as I get further emerged into the degradation of the world. Sitting down on one of the sheltered benches, I smell the body odor of the random delinquents (maybe multiple of them based on the potency) that spent the night where I now rest. Even though I try to avert my gaze, the ad – virtual movement on the edge of my peripheral vision created by the VR – instinctively draws my eye to the donation box on the other side of the street. A sting of irritation that even my own psychology is violated to coerce me into feeling a bit of guilt for not helping the leeches of society.

I redirect my focus onto the news of the morning. With a few flexes of my fingers, the muscular response navigates the AR to access a newly posted article which encompasses my attention. Even the subtle ads that beg my attention can be ignored while I watch the video showing the aftermath of an explosion with a voice-over narrating the continued decline of the Consensus.

In yet another blow against the anarchical degeneracy that is threatening to crumble society, patriots of order and tradition made the ultimate sacrifice Wednesday evening. While helping with the cleanup around NY004 on Friday, it was found that the epicenter of the destruction was THE central hub for the Consensus.

Due to their principled and disciplined approach that could never be repeated by the nihilistic alternative, there was only a minimal amount of life lost – all of which were Tendians. The true damage was non-violent; decimating the propaganda networks that push forth false truth and misinformation that leads so many away from the stability which keeps people safe. In the 50 years since the so-called “Climate Wars” ended, these Tendians have made it a mission to corrupt the scientific community and advance their agenda of chaos. What is the brand “consensus” other than another way to reference the “silent majority” or “the vanguard of the proletariat” or “the royal we”?

There is none. The Tendian “philosophers” who are led by a necessarily inhuman AI are nobles under a different name. We have multiple examples of them ADMITTING to using a fictional scarcity of resources – water, food, morality, validation; things that we all have in plenty – to seek to control us all by reserving it for themselves. But this is expected. It’s the same thing their conservative predecessors did over a century ago in the 1900s and early 2000s. A full breakdown of this phenomena can be found in a previous video. (The portal to the media appears to my left.)

With this in mind, I cannot emphasize enough when I say this latest deconstruction of their misinformation network is a good thing. For the sake of our continued existence this needs to persist.

This blow to the network which pushes against civil society, justice, and truth has been left in a state of instability as it has never been before. If this monolith is to fall, now is the time …

I dismiss the rest of the story since it will just reiterate the common call for action which is a staple of that platform.

Oh wow.. NY004, that’s – (quick reference via FreeNet) – yeah.. that’s Times Square. The main coordination for the anarchist movement comes from there. The anarchists must be (my attention is once again manipulated into looking at the donation bin) in disarray right now. I stare at the three foot tall slotted box for what must be a full minute. Every rust stain, the blanket slightly hanging out of the slot, the faded letters that are all but readable. Even the recognition that the overlay hasn’t fully usurped my perception to correct the decay of reality is an irritation, seeing the expectation level of donations needed being slightly below average while the regional level is slightly higher (what can I do about that?) mocks the natural order of the world. Every second I stare, the audacity of the box’s existence mocks me. It exists to undermine what we know about reality: adaptability manifests from need, purpose manifests from struggle, success manifests through effort. The box is an abomination.

My gaze is fixed on the bin as my mind wanders to bastions of the Consensus. Thoughts refocus on the ardent heroes that keep getting attention. The honor and legacy that will never be forgotten for those on the front line of the war for society’s salvation. My mind wanders to how much they had to steel themselves as they activated their manipulated BioWear to create a feedback loop that would cause their own body’s energy to fuel the chain reaction; the result being the liberation of their region.

My thoughts are broken by the ground shifting beneath me. Another earthquake. This is the second one this week, but it seems to be a minor one. I brace myself while everything not securely anchored to the earth starts to rattle.

As fast as it came on, the ground settles again; and I sit down to relax. It isn’t more than a few moments before an ad catches my eye from up the street. I watch as the trolley (which has the “low” safety rating of .193) pulls up to the stop right on time. The door (I have to remind myself that it’s not really the door but the AR overlay giving the door properties) indicates there is someone waiting behind it ready to get off. Even though I am unready for the atrocious presentation of the person who casually steps off, I suppress the gut desire to react with disgust.

The feminine makeup overdone with flashy sparkles on one side drawing attention to her rather attractive eyes alongside the contrasting and intentional well groomed stubble covering his lower face combine to directly attack the natural expectations. The asymmetric short neon dyed hair fading to a natural long brown combined with a single tattoo on the back of his broad shoulder just under his BioWear revealed by a tank top is a bastardization of the CapDem code. To make the mockery complete, the overlay on the inked characters translates the Russian from “от-до-для всех” to “from-to-for everyone”, a direct reference to the Republicans of the 2040s. In a final attempt to gain power, they appealed to the authoritarian socialist sympathizers and they almost succeeded in gaining control of the western economic bloc before the CapDems were created as a direct response rendering them impotent.

I let him pass as the AR indicates that he wants to be called “it” (which is another mockery of our joint identity) and is a “mediator” along with some other information I disregard. Probably on a “campaign” to convince simple minded people of his propaganda if they listen. Luckily even the non-natives on my street are smarter than to believe the nonsense pushed by the Consensus.

As I step onto the trolley, I consider that being primed with the initial absurdism presented by “it” probably made the rest of the riders less severe. Due to the directional flow of the route, most people were coming from the uncivilized side of town. The closer the area is to the CapDem outpost, the more refined and respectable the communities become. It’s no wonder that most protected and tight knit communities all border the office; their dedication to keeping the economy stable comes with the luxury that wealth can buy. It’s not for me though. I like our house. It’s been with my wife’s family for generations (I believe she said since the 1990’s?), but the self proclaimed “anarchists” have slowly been infecting neighboring streets in the past 10 years. I’ve talked to Tess about moving closer if they start to merge to our street as well… I’m sure she will change her views if it comes to that.

I notice a familiar face: I passively identify through the AR the person as Taylor (known) and his son Samuel (unknown). The face is quickly associated with the office, placing him as one of the janitors that we gain from the Consensus Agreement – a work/debt arrangement we have with the Consensus so its citizens don’t have to pay us back directly. The knowledge of that negotiation always makes me smile.

Amongst the others, there is an empty seat almost directly opposite them both, so I forgo my usual place near the exit and make my way to the seat in the middle of the trolley. The subtle “he” that identifies the preferred reference reminds me again of the “it” from before and the redundancy that is unneeded for most people. There is also an indication that he’s engaging in media, so I sit for a moment, knowing that he is being informed that I’m here. After a moment his eyes focus on me.

“Oh, hi Tark. On your way to the office?” His voice always surprises me slightly because it is higher than I would expect it to be, but only negligibly. Although not as apparent because of the trolley lights, his short hair and skin both reflect the non-European heritage, likely a pre-colonial from up north. But beyond that he is surprisingly respectful of the CapDem presentation, but most people working within the Agreement are.

“Yeah, another day in the trenches. Will I be seeing you there today?”

“I believe so. As of yesterday I was scheduled for your building. I think I’m going to be there through the rest of the week.”

“Ah. I might see you today, but not the -” shoot I shouldn’t have said that “-rest of the week. I’ll be going to a neighboring office. To do some work for them.” Was that believable?

“Oh… I didn’t know you all outsourced like that. It sounds interesting. Do you go to other regions often?  I’ve never left 91.”

Maybe I sold it? Best to change the subject. “No, not often. I only really leave on vacation, but you should! There are a lot of really interesting places around the former States.”

“I hear that. Sam actually was telling me about a trip that he went with his class to CW14 to see the Salt Flats. That sounds like somewhere we could go.”

“I would suggest NW73. Yellowstone has some of the most unique volcanic activity I’ve ever seen. And the camping there is really nice too.”

“I heard that it’s a risk though, what with the geologic grind.”

“Well if Yellowstone erupts, I don’t think we are really safe anywhere.”

“True. I’ll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion. Do you think that would be something fun to do?”

He looks at the – I refocus the overlay passively – 12 year old for a response. And they start to talk for a second while I distractedly wonder why the kid is going to the CapDem office.

Samuel is finishing. “Yeah! He really liked it! Do you really think we can?”

While Taylor is looking a bit uneasy being put on the spot by his son’s question, I interrupt: “So are you headed to the office now. Is it a take-your-kid-to-work day?”

“Huh? Oh. No… I’m dropping Sam off at PrimeAcadamy.”

PrimeAcadamy is the Consensus indoctrination “school” which brings to question his allegiance. His appearance provides the subtle clues of our shared ideology: the part on the one side, the obvious attention that he draws to a scar on his left cheek… subtle enough to be overlooked but a clear indication to the asymmetry of CapDem allegiance. It all leads to the conclusion that he is stuck pretending to appease the Consensus because they have some leverage over him. But – regardless – this isn’t the fastest way to his destination.

“Why are you going this direction?”

“It’s more efficient,” he says with a smile. Which makes no sense at all, but I let it pass.

“Well, I’ll see you when you get there. My stop is coming up.”

“I’ve still got two more. See you then.”

I almost whisper “Integrity with function.” His subtle smile shows we both understand how broken the world is.

I like Taylor. He’s a nice guy even if he is a bit unusual.

After a few minutes, I pull the cord to indicate a stop which almost everyone gets off at. After maneuvering through the crowded hub, I find the connecting trolley which will take me north past the river separating the proper city from what most consider CapDem territory. This one is much less packed and has a .023 safety rating… which the entire trip still rests at: another indication that the scores are manufactured nonsense. I zone out for the short ride through the respectable neighborhoods awing at manicured growth, aesthetic efficient wind and solar power generators, and meticulously placed foliage that forces the eye to flow like a painting. This is only disrupted from time to time by a vast gated community garden. Even the obviously planned Tesla Wires have an appeal not seen elsewhere due to their geometric presentations. The steadily decreasing “safety rating” reinforces the conclusion that a lie is being pushed onto us from a faceless group of Tendian Programmers and the AI that commands them, but these people – the ones that are actively rejecting their manipulation tactics – are the ones keeping the world sane.

Within two stops of the CapDem office I start moving to the doors. When the stop arrives I find myself staring at my own reflection in the door’s window and the rest who have lined up behind me. Every single one of them with clothes that look like they could have come off the storeroom floor. Each with an overlay of brand names that only wealth can buy. Pristine. Each with some pin or pocket square or pocket watch; forcing the eye to recognize the immediate asymmetric addition. I try not to focus on my own as I recognize that – by comparison – I probably look like the “it” from earlier that passed me while getting on the trolley.