Rhea stood, the beanbag beneath her dissolving into a swirl of colour that passed into the air. "Party's over, folks", said as clearly by gestures and tones as word, that human factor as much a part of what made this age as real as the other people. A nod, goodbye, and a departure into virtuality. The glow around her flickered and grew a bit as the outer air listened for her. Head tilts momentarily, considers some suggestions but decides not to, flickers into a world of maintenance. Orange glows stretch from torches, removing panels, revealing code, people fade in and out of view as she walks the city. A store, glows from within as people restock, a middle-aged man with bored eyes and overalls stares at a window in the air, flickers between green lines of code and strands that he rearranges, perhaps updating prices or entering the new day's specials. She steps around a puddle of some organic fluid in the road, it juggles like gelatin within an orange frame - a frustrated woman attempting to remove it with another window in the air. Each person she passes nods, respectful distance. It is a sleeping city for the clients, an awake one for those who maintain and for those like her. Fingers strum her bag, a sentimental construct, made not long after her ordainment, far different than what she would make recently for another, but with sentimental value, the sound on it the tap of poorly modeled pleather rather than the quiet sound of flesh-on-flesh, the space between a single pocket. She became aware of the dull hum of the streets as she stepped, unblocked by the normal "milkwaves", standard background noise. Her eyes blink, irises replaced by her replay of the night's events, people looking at people, mouth silently mouths the mantra she formulised in youth, "at night the light retreats into private homes, their breath continues indoors". She sees people looking at people, smiles continue inside smaller circles. A time for private realities. Eyes return to her path, she steps away from the big lines and follows what in day is a smaller street, but without consensus or imposition a slow river. She sees the tree ahead, the birds, more accustomed to her nature than she is, await her passage - a mind born to shape but tired of shaping places a hand against the tree, long bangs and moist forehead momentarily press against the tree while she expresses something she doesn't understand. She is tired of her hands, does not want to press them on the bark again, wonders if there is an escape from this path of walking between impressions and mental worlds, as she has done most nights since her awakening. A tired glare, ritualised anger and longing for what she sees when she looks away from the city, the roughly rendered hill upwards out of collective dream into what she's come to think of as a real, wild world, unbending to human desire. A wonder: looking in herself, is there a place she could find to put down what she has inside her, a safe way to stop treading water that would not leave her unable to begin again? Metastability, the group had declared after discussion, cannot easily be paused. Unknown time passes, and her thoughts become concrete again - she does for herself what she does for others, a window in the air opens and she steps through, sees the room that is hers, crafted unlike most others to remind her of the frailty of the wombs people return to, the wrinkles of human skin and dark blotches of bruises visible in the walls and corners where for a client such details would be tucked and stitched into unrecognisability. An old-fashioned eye she never got around to replacing sighs again to see its "owner" ignoring long-repeated advice, and drop first to its knees and then into a heap on the floor for another night of sleep.
There was a night, and there was food and long-absent socialisation that spoke again of desperation for human ties and groundedness that should not be there, and there was mediocre food and decent cake. Afterwards there was an event attended primarily for pleasant company and primal drives that turned out quite interesting - I apparently remember a lot more of what I think as "formal CS" than I thought I had, and wjl is a good speaker even considering his presentation is not yet done. What other people do feels a lot more like living than what I do, with my life still having the feel of a very long dream, my home a set of props with a lot more meaning to others than to me. Radical disconnection is what I come home to, eating Matzoh with my cats on the couch as endless testamony from people I don't know flows across the "TV" whether I read it or not. Concepts connect oddly and sometimes are written down for amusement or because they may interest, and still a sense of self and connectedness is lacking. Reality is other people, but being around other people is more a chance to observe it than participate in it - protocols spring up between me and them and I don't often feel that I'm really connecting. There is no null protocol though, no "real self" to expose, just another leitmotif among an entire repritoire.
Most clear thing there is: a longing for something I don't quite recognise, like a half-remembered song that I hear echoes of in various other people, ideas, and places. A hope for rest and an eventual end to this search for something I may no longer recognise if I see... maybe there never was anything real to begin with.
- I'm not sure if it should be illegal to continue as-is, but it's probably a good thing that the US Treasury might be pushed to make money distinguishable by touch. Given how much money is in circulation, it may be a long time before any actual changes would become common enough to really help the blind out though.
- I am frightened by both the photos and the ideas of Libertarian hopefuls for the LP Presidential nomination. People with different aesthetics and/or politics may, of course, feel differently.
- It seems very unfortunate to me that the Public Order Act of the UK (see section five) is broad enough to bar a lot of public discourse, both because such discourse (and criticism/mockery) is something which may cover pertinent social issues/be part of the normal competition of ideas, and because barring it goes against traditions of autonomy in speech that are important for happiness. In this case, the application is a kid who called the Church of Scientology a cult and faces a trial over that. I understand that Europeans have different political traditions, including in some nations a greater tendency to protect "sensibilities", prevent growth of extremism, and similar. In some circumstances I feel that more European approaches to steering and protecting society are warranted, but I feel they are misapplied here, first because the Church of Scientology (like Falun Gong) is in fact a dangerous cult that should be both labeled as such and supressed, and second because barring a strong argument otherwise I hold that legal traditions on public criticism/mockery/expression should be very permissive. Some types of expression, particularly those tied to groups with a theocratic or racist agenda, may be stifled given a sufficiently strong argument (the banning of the swastika in many contexts may make sense in Germany or Russia given the existence of violent subgroups that intimidate and use violence against foreigners, and prosecution of groups like the Ku Klux Klan may make sense here), and I hold that mostly-but-not-entirely-free speech is better than either completely free speech or heavily restricted speech. Britain's Public Order Act is too restricted, I feel.