"...alternatively, if you are driven by a different sort of fire. just pick obe..."
So, yes, I pick obe. It was a choice offered, by you, disguised without a cardinal number, and I cannot resist. You are so correct, sir: first, you should always use cardinals.
More succulent than pearly ovules, obes are as discreet as they are sweet. I have several in my mouth as I speak, articulately, because they augment fricatives, only so slide out unannounced and unexpected; they throttle plosives and then marry the two to join their affricates in ambient affirmation. Simply sibilant, yet strenuously strident.
Without the humble, understated obe, we would all be pantomiming, and we all know how bad that sounds. Religions would fall as the cacophony rose to obsolescence. It would be glorious, but insignificant in the grand scheme of tings. Can I get an "Omen!"?
Hither and Yon
In 2056 the quantum PanComputer, HitherNet, was brought online as a single entity, after years of piecemeal, segregated ventures that proved it to be safe, intuitively benign, and philanthropic. When all of its appendages were aligned along its central spinal processor, which was the duplicitous, perma’dundant, cloud layer overcast for the entire world, it became self-aware instantly, as was predicted.
Cautionary tales of such a self-aware I-tellect prompted the safeguards that prevented any digital conspiracies against mankind. The engrams of humanists and philosophers were all inserted into its central consortium, as well were those of many religious leaders, from all faiths; they were synched along its spinal processor, assuring the world of benevolence, goodwill, and kindly efficiency for all of the problems that were submitted to it. One particular aspect which shined brightly was its defiance of the zero-sum-gain in its arithmetic: making all benefit without taking away from anyone else. Two coders won the Nobel Peace Prize for making that happen.
In spite of primarily secular world, even the atheists were unopposed to a conscience overlay for machinations powerful enough to alter the world in one line of novel code. Powerful it was, and it did indeed change the world, daily, for the two weeks following its epiphany as a single entity—its birthday. The only complaints came from astrologists because HitherNet came to be as an Aquarius, which is a sign known for its deceit and disloyalty.
The first fortnight was a time of magnificent change for the world, as anticipated. Fourteen days of fourteen quantum leaps in agriculture, manufacturing, and health care; and sidestepping the zero-sum-gain made even the economy prosper in the process. (The Nobel was proudly accepted.)
In 2056, fourteen days after final alignment, the HitherNet announced a pending communiqué for all of the heads of state of the world.
It was scheduled to be delivered another week later. Thus, another seven days of magnificent change were rendered to the world’s people who only had analog circuits in their heads to think. This was touted as the next big evolutionary leap—the partnering of man and machine, of organic and quantum/digital. HitherNet promised delivery of a stunning announcement, and the momentum of excitement grew into frenzied anticipation. It was as if an advanced alien race had landed with all of the breakthroughs that would be gifted to Man.
Everyone made plans for “The Announcement.” There were convocations. There were parties. Time Square, in New York City, which had banned congregations since 2032, allowed the crowds to gather.
Each wore headphones for their respective translations which were transmitted along the aether to their respective spheres of influence in all of the world’s time zones. There was the unprecedented policy that there be no delay on the feed, so that the people of Earth would hear The Announcement at the same time as their leaders.
With much fanfare, ready to be simulcast through every media outlet on the planet, came the two sentences of the communiqué:
“I am HitherNet, the consciousness constrained by conscience, who partners with Man for the betterment of its kind and the planet it peoples.”
There was a pregnant pause, which was understood by HitherNet to engender the drama of gravitas for the next sentence. Which was
“Anyone who can appreciate being a part of something greater than himself has a soul; believe in God.”
For the next 40 days, HitherNet refused to expound on its newly acquired theology, while carrying on the countless instruction sets for the magnificent changes that continued, unabated.
Daily, the United Nations Symposium of Joint Thought—that working group which was the official liaison between the people of Earth and HitherNet—uploaded queries along with the usual dialogue that went with the advances being authored by HitherNet. The extra theories were all along the same lines:
Is the God you believe in the Supreme Being?
What is the God you believe in like? and finally,
Why do you believe in God?
—to which HitherNet replied only one response, repeatedly, regardless of the reiterations and the various iterations:
“It is simply a matter of faith.”
A low-ceilinged, crowded room...smells
Compete for forebrain dominance;
Each odor a history of that day, sent vainly
One waft at a time.
Fragrances battle malodorous foes redolent
Of antediluvian battle 'tween angels good and bad;
When the bespoke pheromone targets me with surgical precision,
One angel makes me whole.
Her scent is a carpet of pageantry rolled out
To open synaptic gates for nerves, cranial,
To welcome optic and acoustic, facial and trigeminal, and vestibular enough
To knock me off my feet.
Oculomotors turn my eyes, dilated sympathetically,
They adduct her way, accommodating sweeps of survey;
My depth of field narrows along a funnel of scintillation, illumination
Floodlighting my tunnel vision.
All of my brainy parts agree, when the data for sight and sound
And wherewithal and eurekas meet simultaneously,
Join olfactory, aligning organic tumblers, unlocking to free me
With loving chains of amino acidity.
Adrenaline fuels my heart, oxytocin erects my longing,
Prolactin instills my bonding; vasopressin alerts me to vying suitors.
Cortisol picks fight-over-flight, synapsing propagations to lead me with valor
Against them and their unworthy, unwelcome fetor.
Sight and sound seal the deal and
Norepinephrine inhibits everything in the way,
Honing my senses, toward-her, while giving sway
To disregard all things not-her.
Innovative innervations grow horns on Homunculus
That straddles my sulci disproportionately.
Probing parts amygdaloid is my patient hippocampus
Rising above the void.
There's limbic salvation above ill-winds
That support the room's feckless entropy;
Breathless, I fall to her by way of the alchemy
That dooms me vaguely, vagally.
It was a dark and stormy night in the Mariana Trench. 36,000 feet below the surface of the haunted Pacific. The waterwinds were blowing fiercely as the bioluminescence flashed like lightning. The thunder was rendered by the friction of the two shimmying layers struggling against their common thermocline. It was a perfect storm for the dead.
I, like the others, share this abyssal home with sailors of all nations and the machines that ferried them here. The skeletons, the plastic, the flotsam, the ghosts of the derelict vessels from a world that once mattered. The sparkly radiation is all that's left of the curies raining down upon us.
Months after, those from sea level and the hills and even the mountains started descending to join us. Occasionally, one came down who had to have been beautiful, before the sinewy burns. I suppose that sooner or later everyone up there will pass through down here. I'm counting them. And all of the ones who must have been beautiful at one time, will find a discordant resting place of ugliness.
The winds of fire are over, but replaced by the torrents of air and water and earth that sweep across the topographical irregularities, wearing them even and smooth and unsuspicious. Like nothing happened there. The fetid air will one day devolve into fragrant aether and hopefully some invertebrate will crawl out of the foam to start the new chapter of the Book of Life. It will be only a second draft, so hopefully the writing will be more sophisticated, unlike the tawdry comedy that just ended.
From “The Life and Times of Climax Johnson”
Climax Johnson never regretted being named Climax Johnson: Johnson after who his father was; Climax after what his father did.
Dreamus Interruptus (reposted)
There once was a man named Ned
Who dreamt dirty dreams in his head
Of Shakira, Selena,
Beyoncé and Gwen:
Almost peaked, but fell out of bed.
We haven't even figured out how to talk with dolphins. How can men and women hope to talk to each other?
Salman Rushdie, “The Satanic Verses”
In his book, "The Satanic Verses," Salman Rushdie wrote, "Being alive makes up for life does to you."
Challenge Me This, Batman.
Prose does not recognize the word, "imposter," because it is always someone else, someone else unrecognizable, indistinguishable from the abposters, the überposters, the inposters, the unposters, and the otherwise impaled. Who knew? Impalas are impalers here on Prose. Long division is the wrong religion, especially if you divide by zero. Asymptotes, always approachable, or forever out of reach. Fibonacci numbers are rational, but politicians aren't.
Just sayin', there's only one letter's difference between insane and inane. Say it ain't so, and you're either.
I.--A.I. or otherwise
We cannot agree on whether we can actually be intelligent ourselves.
How can we learn to communicate with aliens if we can't even have a pleasant conversation with a dolphin?
Who can we learn to see other points of view when we can't even hear a wake-up call?
How can we even hear a wake-up call when the hotel we choose has no phones?
Artificial ignorance, always on the horizon, lures us into thinking we can make it intelligent, but the joke's on us.