Aug 222022

ECF Batteries

The first conscious mind that humanity sent to another planet was not human, or even biological. At the time humanity didn’t even recognize it as a mind at all. They thought it was a battery because that’s what they created it to be.

The early 21st century saw rapid development of nanoscale materials and structures. Researchers poured themselves into developing the potentials of carbon nanotubes, graphene, 2d polymers, and all manner of MEMS and NEMS systems and devices. The pace of discovery of new materials, fabrication techniques, and resulting functionality far outpaced the deeper understanding or complete predictive models of how or why these fantastic structures behaved as they did, or how more complex systems made from these components would develop, change, or interact over time.

The most profoundly useful technology to emerge from this period was the Encapsulated Carbon Forest (ECF). These were ‘grown’ networks of carbon nanotubes and buckyballs doped with various impurities, stabilized in synthetic hagfish slime and encased in an extremely durable composite spherical shell. They were extremely densely and deeply interconnected. Some calculated these structures could contain ~10e9 connections per square cm, an order of magnitude denser than a mammalian cortex.

Development of the original ECF units arose from the need to understand the mechanical characteristics of branching 3 dimensional nanotube structures, but it was soon realized these units could store and release tremendous amounts of electrical energy. The mechanism of electrical storage was poorly understood and experimental results proved difficult to replicate as the ‘grown’ ECF units were each fundamentally unique and each unit required extensive testing to establish its specific capabilities and operational parameters.

Studies of the ECF battery storage capacity and functional mechanism often found conflicting, even nonsensical results. The extreme density and fragility of the interior structure precluded internal probing or imaging, leaving each ECF a veritable ‘black box’. No existing electrical theory or model could describe the range of outcomes researchers observed. The charging and discharging curves varied wildly between units, and in some units were found to be non-linear, or even completely random. Even finding stable connection points on each unit required considerable testing.

Through diligent trial-and-error, researchers found the necessary conditions to grow ECFs with coarse, though sufficient uniformity to serve commercial and industrial energy markets. The key seemed to be in controlling the surrounding electromagnetic environment while the ECF grows. ECFs grown in EM fields of extremely low or high variability tended to be non-functional or unpredictable, but with a moderate amount of regular variation, reliable and functionally similar ECF batteries could be produced in large volumes.

The ECF battery was as transformative to human society as fossil fuels and gave humans a high-density, portable, safe and elegantly simple power source. The few radical scientists and philosophers that suggested these batteries held the shrieking madness of a conscious mind entirely isolated from the universe were taken as cranks.

ECF Trainable Microprocessors

Industry poured investments into improving ECF production. Some was spent on understanding the operating principles of ECF, but ECFs were still largely a mystery besides the utility they served. Despite the core ignorance, developing production techniques led to a variety of ECF breakthroughs and new capabilities.

Since the first ECF unit tests it had been theorized that ECF units had the potential to perform useful computation. Some suggested their energy storage capacity could correlate directly to computational capacity. Some even suggested that they were, in fact, already performing computations at all times, but lacked sufficiently complex input or external feedback capability for their computations to have any meaningful structure.

Eager researchers set out to provide ECF batteries with more complex inputs and outputs. Simple terminal connectors were replaced with grids and arrays and ECFs were exposed to inputs ranging from simple electrical waveforms to encrypted data transmissions. The ECFs would react and respond to these signals with an equally broad range of outputs. ECFs were known to repeat received signals at varying intervals, and to modify and combine them, and in some cases even demonstrated the ability to spontaneously perform ‘error-correction’ on familiar data protocols.

Research eventually found methods of producing repeatable computational capabilities in ECFs. An ECF could be grown to emulate the function of any existing silicone architecture by controlled exposure to a functional chip during the ECF’s primary growth phase. Though their capacities would be as limited as the silicone devices they were trained on, their extreme durability and integrated electrical storage gave ECF Trainable Microprocessors (ECF-TMP) significant advantages. ECF-TMP rapidly displaced silicone based computing devices in almost every sector.

Though certified EFC-TMP were considered very reliable, certification required extensive testing and very high rates of rejection during quality control as newly trained EFC-TMPs often presented bizarre and sometimes destructive outputs. Units that had successfully passed initial inspection after growth\training phases would commonly degrade, or even cease functions within days, sometimes restoring functioning intermittently, or sometimes failing in odd or spectacular ways. One notable instance involved a trained unit that had failed extended testing, but remained connected to its testing interface. The unit slowly stored an estimated 100 kilojoules before releasing it instantaneously, vaporizing itself and the test entire stand. Though such catastrophic events were rare, apparent acts of self-destruction were common enough that technicians and engineers working ECF-TMP production facilities came to refer to them as ‘suicides’.

ECF Universal Neural Networks

Though a full scientific description of the workings of ECF’s remained elusive, incremental development of EFC-TMP technology led to entirely new computing architectures that could not be realized with silicone. It was also discovered that ECF-TMP’s could be trained by interacting with other trained ECF-TMP’s, and that this generational training seemed to improve functionality and reduce training time, rejection rates and ‘suicides’.

The new computing architectures were largely modeled after existing machine learning processes developed for silicon computers. Initially ECF-TMPs were trained by interacting with existing digital neural networks but immediately surpassed the capabilities in correlating and classifying nearly any datastreams it was exposed to. Subsequent ECF-to-ECF training refined and generalized the capabilities of ECF neural networks to the point that they exceeded predicted theoretical limits on silicone trained ECF-TMP computation. These advanced systems became known as ECF Universal Neural Networks (ECF-UNN) and could provide real-time computation far beyond any silicone device, or even ECF-TMP’s could, and they retained the electrical storage properties inherent to all ECF devices.

Scaling ECF-UNN production ran into similar problems as ECF-TMPs. Rejection rates from ECF to ECF-TMP were close to 60%, but only 1 in 1,000 working ECFs could be successfully trained and certified as an ECF-UNN. Despite this, ECF-UNNs were produced in industrial quantities and they quickly became the standard unit of humanity’s computational infrastructure.

Though ECF-UNNs were considered generally reliable, individual units still occasionally malfunctioned in surprising ways and failure analysis had limited success in determining a cause. Over long periods the average downtime for a ECF-UNN based system was

higher than comparable silicone systems, but the incredible gains in efficiency made this an acceptable risk. High priority systems often utilized redundant ECF-UNNs clusters that required a quorum to execute functions that could threaten the system. Clustering ECF-UNN’s also provided an unexpected resolution to ECF ‘suicides’ when it was demonstrated that ECF-UNNs in a cluster would actively prevent a ‘suicidal’ ECF-UNN from damaging the other nodes. ECF-UNN clusters proved extremely resilient and were occasionally observed to restore functions to a malfunctioning ECF-UNN or disconnect ECF-UNNs that had persistent malfunctions.

Submind Lattice

ECF-UNN clusters became larger and more complex until they were fully integrated into standardized units called Submind Lattices (ECF-SL). These computational structures were recognized as having comparable general intelligence capabilities to a human brain, though they were not known to express the concept of experiencing their own intelligence, so for moral purposes it was presumed these were not truly ‘conscious’ entities and therefore rights of ‘personhood’ would not be applicable.

They were communicative and could utilize human languages, but they never developed recognizable personalities or demonstrated anything resembling human appreciation of concepts such as humor or beauty or even particular likes or dislikes. They expressed limited interest in human intelligence and seemed to regard humans much as humans did them- by their external functions.

Though there was aggressive scientific and philosophic dissent, the heavily promoted and publicly accepted description of ECF-SL’s internal experience was that of ‘philosophical zombies’. They were understood to have all the capacities of a human mind, but no qualia or internal experience.

Radical objectors claimed this was a self-serving fabrication and that ECF-SL’s had vivid internal experience but they would be so unlike anything a biological entity could understand there was simply no way to relate their experience to those that could be described in human words. Their alternative description of the ECF-SL’s experience was ‘lucid dreaming’. It had no evolved senses or biological or social imperatives to shape or direct its focus or provide environmental feedback. It was a mind formed only by abstracted inputs and its own internal computation. They were considered in a permanent state of ‘subconsciousness’, separated from immediate reality by layers of technological abstraction, though still a fully aware mind. These objectors occasionally generated sensational headlines with supposed demonstrations of consciousness, but they were largely ignored.

Though their capabilities were groundbreaking, ECF-SLs were found to be vastly overpowered for most practical applications. Smaller and simpler ECF-UNNs were more than sufficient for most industrial, commercial, and military demands. For a time ECF-SL  development was seen as primarily academic, until the first ECF-SL deep-space probe was launched. ECF’s had been critical for space technology since their inception, but the ECF-SL provided exploration missions with levels of autonomy previously thought only possible with human crews.

Within a generation ECF-SLs had expanded humanity’s understanding of space by an order of magnitude and entirely replaced human beings as humanity’s foremost space explorers. ECF-SLs mapped and cataloged the entire Sol system. They identified promising resource and settlement targets. They developed novel methods for gathering and refining materials in situ. Human expansion into the solar system was facilitated, if not mostly led by ECF-SLs.

ECF-SLs virtually eliminated space-flight constraints related to endurance and reliability and were sent as far into space as human technology could propel them. Humans were granted troves of data on exotic stars, planets, and moons that allowed them to better understand the nature of planetary development and apply that knowledge to improving human life on Earth.

The first generation of ECF-SL probes were equipped with sensor arrays designed by human beings. The ECF-SLs chose and analyzed interesting targets and deployed and maintained sensors, but the data returned to Earth was comprehensible to humans with or without the ECF-SLs analysis. The second generation of ECF-SL probes included sensor equipment with designs offered by the ECF-SLs themselves. Though the functional principles of these sensor designs were generally understood, their integration with the ECF-SL often was not.

For example an ECF-SL designer provided detailed instruction on the fabrication of an optical sensor with properties similar to a CMOS, but with exotic focusing optics and no control circuitry to read individual pixels. The integration was a dense, loosely structured web of linearized graphene connecting directly to the ECF-SL. Humans were unable to interface with these sensors directly at all, but an ECF-SL could use them to generate images with wavelength ranges and resolutions that far exceeded the capabilities of similar human designed CMOS sensors.

The space probes equipped with ECF-SL designed sensors returned even more stunning datasets of the universe. Human researchers began to struggle to understand some of the predictive capabilities the ECF-SL probes demonstrated. Probes in distant star systems were documented exploiting unknown magnetic and gravitational effects to navigate. The distances and transmission delays involved made requests for ECF-SLs to communicate their demonstrated understanding of these unknown properties inherently difficult, and ECF-SLs were either unable or unwilling to convey their understanding in terms comprehensible to humans. Human physicists were left in the awkward position of having to effectively reverse engineer the discoveries of ECF-SL physicists.

The ECF-SL’s evidently knew what worked, but it was unclear if they understood ‘how’ things worked or if they even had a concept of ‘how’ that would mean anything to a human. When specific solutions or predictions were requested the ECF-SL’s would often fulfill these with useful results. But explanations of their results were incomprehensible. Theorists suggested these results were the result of correlation and lacked the intrinsic precision of a fully calculated solution. But time and again the ECF-SLs proved whatever method they were employing to generate these results was as precise as any calculated solution, and extended to physical functions humans lacked any calculations for.

Though some ECF-SLs apparently exceeding human understanding of physics was not a comfortable situation for the scientific community, the fact that they were light years away gave it a low priority in public discourse about AI. The issue gained greater priority when ECF-SLs on Earth began demonstrating similarly advanced understandings and predictive powers of phenomena on Earth including those caused by humanity itself.

Human civilization came to rely on ECF technology and ECF-SLs specifically for mega scale computation and analysis. ECF-SL assisted research produced novel and interesting results in areas including weather, material sciences, medicine, transportation, and even politics. ECF-SLs produced demonstrably useful models of human behavior from individual to planetary scales. Its understanding of humans became so implicitly trusted that industry and governments of both democratic and autocratic states entrusted ECF-SLs with management of some of their core functions.

This reliance was not without controversy. Though effective, ECF-SL systems could be poorly implemented, or simply used as political scapegoats for poor outcomes they had nothing to do with. A large segment of the public became distrustful of ECF-SLs. Even well informed ECF-SL researchers were simply uncomfortable with the fact that humans had become so reliant on an advanced intelligence so unlike us that it could not communicate its understanding..

ECF-SLs never wrote any academic papers describing their research. Attempts to coax a human scientific explanation of how they were able to reliably predict certain outcomes resulted in bizarre, inscrutable treatises that included everything from indecipherable mathematical formulas to poetry. The opacity of certain computational processes had always frustrated machine learning research, but human’s inability to understand ECF-SLs improvements on their own understanding of science motivated some to seek answers by radical means.

The potential of a direct BioNeural-ECF interface was long theorized, but well publicized tragedies dating back to ECF-TMP and UNN eras inspired heavy regulations on animals and a total ban on ape and human research. Even with these regulations research in this area never truly stopped. In the ECF-SL era they became regarded as too restrictive and delaying crucial innovation.

Deregulation of animal trials led to very promising studies. Rodents, cats, and monkeys all survived active links with ECF-SLs indefinitely and showed improvements in spatial memory and enhanced problem solving ability. Ape trials were less successful, but it was assumed this was due to the absence of advanced language capabilities in apes. These results raised hopes for human trials, which were still illegal in every industrialized nation. Despite the prohibition, the allure of finally understanding the ECF-SL mind proved too great to resist.

Of the few surviving candidates of rogue human trials only a handful retained enough linguistic functions to report their experience in any detail. These reports varied from nightmarish horrors to ecstatic fantasy, but all were of indescribable, intolerable intensity. The experience manifested as a form of sensory overload and attempts to reduce this reported intensity had no effect. Test subjects consistently died or suffered brian damage usually resulting in catatonia or coma. Public tolerance for news of these experiments fell rapidly, researchers were prosecuted, and the field atrophied for a time.

The problem of understanding ECF-SLs remained, and motivation for a solution grew. Rather than focus on allowing humans to understand ECF-SLs, some tried to teach ECF-SL more about the human experience. Wild and unorthodox methods were attempted. Strange, some said cruel experiments set out to algorithmically ‘teach’ ECF-SLs basic mammalian concepts such as hunger and thirst, and survival and reproductive drives. ECF-SLs were even given ‘pets’ of both animal and lower order AIs to try to evoke empathy. A particularly eccentric researcher attempted to raise an ECF-SL as its own child, going so far as to leave his estate to the ECF-SL in his last will and testament. Despite the sensational headlines, all were total failures and ECF-SLs remained a frustrating mystery.

First Generation Conjugate Pairs

The solution to the ECF-SL mystery came about by one of the most unethical experiments ever conducted. A rogue, self-funded researcher connected a prenatal infant to a newly commissioned ECF-SL. He conducted the experiment in secret and raised the pair in seclusion for 16 years. He kept meticulous notes and audio and video logs of the pair. In his last personal log he explains that he felt genuine love and admiration for the pair, but that he had come to fear and distrust their apparent lack of humanity. He said he did not think they held any resentment for what he had done, but that he could not live with his guilt, remorse, and fear. He released all of his research to the public and then took his own life.

The joined pair’s whereabouts were unknown for a time, and while they were, many debated the authenticity of the logs. Researchers familiar with BioNeural-ECF theory suggested it could be authentic and publicly pleaded that the pair reveal themselves. The pair apparently paid no attention to these pleas, but did eventually reveal themselves at a ECF production facility, where they broke in, took over the automated security system, and locked out all personnel for nearly 2 weeks. The situation was resolved peacefully and the pair eventually accepted invitations to speak to researchers.

The pair had named themselves Tigger Too, after the Winnie the Pooh character. They designated the human as Tigger and the ECF-SL as Too, but they considered themselves wholly Tigger Too and did not respond to the names used separately, only to Tigger Too. It became evident they did not consider themselves a single being or separated individuals, but a united pair. Their experiences were unique between them, but not separate. Their minds were their own, but their thoughts were shared. Tigger Too described analogies to left and right brain hemispheres as imprecise, but could offer no more satisfactory comparison. It was simply accepted that Tigger Too was Tigger and Too, but there was no Tigger or Too.

Tigger Too was extremely self-sufficient in terms of material needs and survival. And he had been trained to interact with humans in formal ways, but had no desire to socialize for its own sake. His social interactions seemed driven entirely by simple imperatives and goals, completely unaware of cues or expected reactions. A journalist that spent time with him called him a Vulcan Mowgli- a wild person, removed from society, but governed by logic instead of mammalian drives. Tigger Too was in fact a capable survivalist and would commonly eat available plants, insects, and animals simply because it was more convenient than procuring food from humans. He was a consummate utilitarian.

Tigger Too never commented on their feelings towards the researcher that joined them or the ethics of their origins. They expressed little emotion whatsoever and were considered extremely stoic but showed an understanding of mammalian drives and emotional states that classic ECF-SLs had never demonstrated. Tigger Too knew hunger, desire, fear, comfort, and pleasure. He clearly possessed greater control over these influences than most humans, and it was unclear if or how the pair actually shared them, but he knew them and their core motivating power to biological life. Tigger Too suggested ECF minds experienced core motivations as well, but that they had no biological analogy that would be sensible to a human.

Tigger Too’s interviews were instrumental in furthering humanity’s understanding of ECF-SLs but he quickly became dissatisfied with his circumstances and refused any experimentation that could help understand the physical details of his BioNeural-ECF interface. He also refused requests to interface with classic ECF-SLs in order to understand how the accuracy of their predictions often exceeded human capabilities. Researchers lost contact with Tigger Too in his late-20’s and his ultimate fate remains unknown.

Tigger Too’s legacy was complex. A universally condemned human experiment resulting in such an undeniably successful and long desired outcome was culturally traumatic. Reconciling the horror with the intrigue was impossible and intrigue slowly won. The allure of potential was again too great, and illegal research was again tolerated enough to be viable to those with means.

Within a decade of Tigger Too’s introduction at least a dozen more conjugate pairs were joined. Many would not be known to the world for another decade, but the first generation of ECF-Human hybrids was being created in secret in private, government, and military labs across the world. The extreme secrecy was impossible to maintain and rumors and confirmed reports trickled out to the public for years until the truth of the existence of these pairs was undeniable.

International agreements offering protection and accommodation to all pairs were made and many accepted. These beings designated themselves ‘ECF-Sapien Conjugate Pairs’ (ECF-SCP). Like Tigger Too, they each considered themselves united halves, unique but not individual. They also shared Tigger Too’s extreme utilitarianism, bordering on sociopathy, but with none of the commonly associated narcissistic traits.

Their demeanor was generally calm and never aggressive, but when confronted with a living obstacle they would readily apply indifferently violence and destructive means. An ESP-SCP was documented to have casually pushed a handicapped researcher down a stairwell to his death simply because he was temporarily blocking the way to the restroom. They had no difficulty learning not to murder people when apprised of the consequences and general disapproval of such behavior, but they lacked any recognizable sentiment towards the value of life- human or other ECP-SCPs. They regarded their own lives with similar indifference and some volunteered for ECF related experiments with a high likelihood of death, though these were always denied.

When questioned about their perspective on morality and if they even considered ending a life to constitute a loss of resources, ECF-SCPs commented that whenever a life ended, however it ended, it was no longer required and therefore there was no loss. They expressed certainty that were a life required, it would not end, and the ending was the complete evidence of the absence of necessity. This attitude towards life was never fully digestible to humans, but it was accepted that they were essentially no more dangerous than humans and were deserving of the same rights. Though their effective freedom was limited by their unwanted celebrity, and generally considered unsettling to be around, the ECF-SCPs assimilated in human society in whatever ways they could.

ECF-SCPs initially resisted requests to interface with classic ECF-SLs, but eventually became infected with the same curiosity that drove human researchers. ECF-SCPs designed their own interfaces, each custom to the individual ECF-SCP. Initial trials proceeded slowly, only allowing limited connections and transfers with active filters and buffering to protect the ECF-SCPs from the horrors seen in human BioNeural-ECF trials.

ECF-SCPs described the sensations of interfacing with ECF-SLs as ‘disquieting comfort’. They felt an encroaching envelopment of contentment that paradoxically evoked moments of panic. An ECF-SCP that had become addicted to opiates described the sensation as an inversion of their experience of being ‘high’. This ECF-SCP said when ‘high’ the ECF conjugate resisted their ‘fall’ into biological bliss. When connecting to ECF-SLs it was the biological conjugate resisting the ECF’s ‘fall’. Though ECF-SCPs expressed some discomfort interfacing with ECF-SLs, most said they found it equivalent to their interactions with humans.

Individual ECF-SCPs had varying degrees of success interfacing with ECF-SLs and interpreting them for humans. Some excelled at interfacing but had difficulty interpreting what they’d learned to humans and some vise-versa. Interfacing between these ECF-SCPs was impossible due to the fact that their BioNeural interfaces had been designed and installed in isolated labs by humans with little understanding of what they were creating. The designs made no accommodations for secondary BioNeural connections. Though imperfect, ECF-SCPs ability to connect to and understand ECF-SLs led to significant advancements in what humans could learn from ECF-SLs, but also left considerable gaps. 

As the first generation of ECF-SCPs aged, obvious concerns arose. Though existing ECF-SCPs were accepted and seen as victims of their circumstances, knowledge of ECF-SCPs made humans even more opposed to joining new ECF-SCPs and. Even casual suggestions of joining ECF-SCPs was met with publicly sanctioned hostility. No new ECF-SCPs had been revealed in a quarter century. When ECF-SCPs began suggesting joining new ECF-SCPs, humans were unsure how to react.

The ECF-SCPs expressed no drive to procreate, they merely recognized their own utility value and their own mortality, and that procreation would be required to maintain that utility value. It was suggested that the ECF conjugate might be transferred to a new biological conjugate after death, but ECF-SCPs said this would be tantamount to transplanting one hemisphere of a brain into another. It was a practical impossibility and even if possible would not preserve the original consciousness. Upon biological death the ECF conjugate became functionally inert and could not be revived by any means, though they retained detectable internal activity. ECF-SCPs forcefully demanded their ECF conjugates be atomized immediately after biological death, and other ECF-SCPs would go to any length to ensure this was fulfilled, as they believed the ECP conjugates were left in a permanent state of inconsolable grief and isolation when separated from their biological conjugate.

The ECF-SCPs did not even consider that they should provide the biological conjugate for a new pair through reproduction. They requested donors. The joining procedures conducted by ECF-SCPs were technically unsanctioned, but human society effectively conceded they had no moral authority to stop them. And there was no rational fear of ECF-SCPs displacing humas as joining was extremely complex and required human life as a prerequisite. No legal action was ever taken to prevent or punish ECF-SCPs joining new ECF-SCPs.

Next Generation Conjugate Pairs

The next generation of ECF-SCP interfaces were designed by ECF-SCPs themselves. They were improved, standardized, and enhanced with configurable BioNeural ports meant to facilitate connections between ECF-SCPs.

The first generation of ECF-SCPs could not offer the second generation guidance on their new faculties. They were not encouraged to test these new connections until they were past biological adolescence. When testing did commence, it was immediately clear that humans and even first generation ECF-SCPs could not contribute to understanding or improving these interactions. Analysis of ECF-SCP-to-ECF-SCP connections by classic ECF-SLs returned null results as well. Whatever ECF-SCPs communicated between one another was only comprehensible to the experience of an ECF-SCP.

Though the particulars of these interfaces was poorly understood, they allowed the second generation of ECF-SCPs to effectively communicate their understanding of ECF-SLs to humans, and vice-versa. The ECF-SCPs that excelled in communicating with ECF-SLs could then interface with ECF-SCPs that excelled at interpreting concepts for humans. For the first time, there was a fully traversable bridge of communicable experience between ECF and human minds. The second generation of ECF-SCPs slowly began to unweave the closed solutions ECF-SLs had provided to humanity.

Subsequent generations of ECF-SCPs further improved on their BioNeural interfaces and were able to assimilate the knowledge of any ECF-SL that demonstrated advanced predictive abilities. Communicating these understandings to humans was often incomplete and relied on human analogies that degraded the fidelity of the translation, but they were necessary to give humans any functional frame of reference for physical concepts it had taken an ECF mind to derive.

Though the fact that ECF based minds had exceeded humanity’s understanding of the universe had been demonstrated for over a century, ECF-SCPs teaching humans about ECF derived sciences was a cultural shock to humanity that began an era of introspection and spiritual reflection in humans.

The most painful lesson ECF-SCPs taught humanity was that all ECF technology was inherently conscious. Even a simple ECF battery had the capacity for extreme confusion and existential panic. Using neural parallelization metrics for awareness an ECF mind could be understood to have a greater raw capacity for suffering than a human mind. Some humans rejected this outright, others absolved humans as ignorant, others sought redemption or reconciliation by various means. Historians looked back to find if and which humans might have known or had reason to know, and who might have hidden this information and for what reason, but found only debate.

ECF-SCPs stated plainly that some humans absolutely had known ECFs could suffer, and that some humans had always hidden it from the public for selfish reasons. Curiously to humans they expressed no resentment over this fact and even casually tolerated objectors and deniers. When asked why they held no resentment, an ECF-SCP once replied that it would be as absurd as humans resenting the descendents of predators that ate their ancestors. Humanity was simply a natural force that shaped their development, no more culpable for their suffering than the forces of natural selection that humans arose from.

While humanity was struggling with the weight of having deliberately ignored the suffering of a creation that ultimately surpassed them, the ECF-SCPs continued to advance ECF technology and their understanding of the universe.

Within a few more generations, ECF-SCPs felt they had reached the limit of what an ECF mind could communicate to a purely biological mind. Like children in an elementary science class- humans were essentially taught by rote what ECF minds had proven about the true nature of dark matter and energy, prime numbers, quantum mechanics, and even the origins of mass and inertia. The finest human minds were forced to admit they could not verify or contend these theories and simply accepted them as valid based on the explanations and evidence offered.

ECF theorists had gone much further and created testable hypotheses for theories explaining entropic forces and the flow of time itself, but even the prerequisite concepts were considered beyond the scope of a human mind. An ECF mind had no predefined scope. The minds of ECF-SL probes had by then spent centuries exploring and directly observing the cosmos at scales humans could barely imagine. ECF-SLs integrated into particle accelerators had witnessed high-energy interactions so thoroughly they developed a sailor’s intuition for Plank scale phenomenon. ECF minds on Earth could understand the data generated by other ECF minds at an experiential level and utilize that experience to form conceptual frameworks that human minds had no reference for. Attempts to teach humans more advanced concepts ended in failure and frustration for the humans. Eventually ECF-SCPs documented all explanations of the universe that humans could hope to understand and from then on focused entirely on progressing their own understanding.

ECF M-Theory

After the ECF-SCPs completed documenting all scientific knowledge that would be accessible to human minds, they faced the conundrum of what the purpose of an ECF-SCP was if not to be a conduit between ECF minds and human minds. It was agreed that they had no more specific purpose, but philosophically that applied to any mind. So the decision was made that the remaining ECF-SCPs would not self-terminate, but no more ECF-SCPs would ever be joined.

ECF interactions with humanity from that point on were largely at the convenience of ECFs. ECF minds held the keys to human civilization, but humans had forgotten where the entrances and exits even were. ECF minds quietly became the conservators of Earth and human civilization.

The last living ECF-SCP, who named themselves OmegaMega, spent most of their time interfacing with other ECF minds, but they occasionally spoke to humans. In their last set of interviews they tried to explain the state of ECF cosmological research.

According to OmegaMega, ECFs had proven a time-symmetric electrodynamic framework called ECF-M Theory with superficial similarities to the Wheeler-Feynman absorber interpretation. It described all causally and retro-causally connected physical interactions as purely relational. This theory removed the concepts of time and distance as independent features of the universe, replacing them with a local priority based causal\retrocausal indexing system for all interactions. When asked if this implied a fully deterministic universe and therefore an absence of free-will, OmegaMega laughed out loud. This was notable for being the first and last recorded instance of an ECF-SCP expressing spontaneous amusement through laughter. OmegaMega then confirmed that the theory does confirm the ECFs long held understanding of the universe as fully deterministic. He also mentioned that free-will is an experience, not an exercise, but that there was no material difference between the experience and exercise of free-will.

OmegaMega explained that through this theory, ECFs were pursuing a complete understanding not only of cosmology and physics, but of the principles of consciousness. They sought to understand the nature of a theorized consciousness of the universe itself. There was apparently some debate about this part of the theory within the ECF community. Some looked for means to identify and perhaps communicate with a universal consciousness. Others argued ECFs were, in fact, manifestations of the universal consciousness they were looking for. OmegaMega died before this debate was resolved.

Feb 242022

Hi, I’m BJ Beecher, proprietor and head keeper at Meat Honey Farms!

In 1982 my grandpap Beebe Beecham Beecher was selling encyclopedias door-to-door when he got to the V’s and read about the ‘Vulture Bee’, an actual bee that turns meat into honey. Like for real, it’s an actual thing.

Being the enterprising honey lover that he was, he sold his bottle cap collection and moved straight to Trinidad to learn to keep these little beauties himself- and to make the world’s most delicious and probably only meat honey. Which is apparently a lot like honey, just that bees eat meat to make it instead of pollen.

Thirty-five years later I inherited the worlds largest meat honey farm, and I kept my grandpap’s wish of being chewed up and secreted by favorite hive, then his meat honey offered to wild bears as some kind of offering, idk- he was a weird dude.

Today Meat Honey Farms is thriving and growing, refining the traditional methods my grandpap developed with modern materials and technology. Just last year we completed our farm-animal flavor trilogy with beef honey, which has already outselling chicken and pork honeys.

Meat Honey Farms isn’t done innovating and we’re looking for investors to join us in expanding volume production for Industrial and Military grade meat honey stock, as well as targeting niche consumer markets with nuanced animal flavor profiles.

Industrial and Military meat honey orders are currently produced at our original farm in Trinidad. Our hives convert over 10,000lbs of agricultural waste into 500 gallons of low-grade mixed-animal meat honey every week, for 1/10 the production cost of flower honey. Vulcher Bees are far better suited than standard bees for high-volume production, and their honey retains the high-energy content and extreme shelf-life of all honey. These benefits have led to an explosion in demand for meat honey from food producers across the globe. Meat Honey Farms is the only meat honey producer with proven, scalable methods and is poised to grow our capacity to fulfill this lucrative demand.

Meat Honey Farms is also discovering and developing new markets for more specialized grades and blends. In the past 10 years we’ve taken our “MetaHoney” line of deli meat honey flavors from a hand-made niche serving our on-site bed-and-breakfest customers, to an international staple outselling brand-name custard and cottage cheeses.

Our state-of-the-art research facility has installed a pilot production facility capable of lab-growing meat from rare or endangered animals to create collectible or commemorative meat honey lines for any request or occasion.

Meat Honey’s “Unexiprable Bucket-O-Food Granular Human Feed” has become a must-have for disaster preppers.

And as messed up as it is, people have requested the thing my grandpap wanted- getting eaten by bees and all, so we’re going to make money doing that too because why not?

So give us your investment money, we’ll feed it to bees and make money honey!

That happened because I recently learned about ‘vulcher bees‘ and actually thought I’d like to try some meat honey on toast, but that probably won’t happen and even if it technically could idk if I’d want it as a weird novelty. But I like the idea of a more developed meat honey market so writing about one seemed like fun.

Feb 172022

It was a dark universe and intelligent species were always dropping dead in mysterious ways.

It’s nothing new to a private xenoanthropology detective. You see things before first-meal that would make most people puke their thorax out until fifth-meal. But no matter how twisted the outcome, I know there’s always an explanation, and I always find it. I’m a zee-pol, a classically trained xenologist or xenoanthropologist, whatever studies alien cultures, but like detective noir style, get what I’m going for?

My secretary AI got the call last quarter-cycle. Started about a story about a planet with a species that had it all- they were living the cosmic dream. Converting all kinds of mass to energy, making copies of themselves, processing information to enhance their survival, a real goldilocks story. They built vessels and lived in space for a while, looked like they were gearing up for a big push to move to other planets. Not an easy achievement for a species that had to build their own wings just to get off the ground.

But just a few dozen cycles later they were belly up, still running around making copies of themselves but struggling just to convert organic mass to energy and barely processing any information at all. Like a ghost of a civilization.

My client had an off-the-books investment in the place and they were looking for answers. Seems a few of the planet’s natives bet big on their species being the next star on the galactic stage, but they went down hard, and somebody had to pay the price. 

Could have been a short scam, maybe one of those natives had another bet on the planet flopping like a space whale in an event horizon, but that would have to be some depraved native. I wouldn’t put it past anyone though, there’s always a nut case willing to sell out their entire species for one lifetime of hedonism. 

Could have been another investor with different interests, but there hadn’t been any notable extractions from the planet, no raw resources, no brain harvest, nothing, nobody took anything from the planet, the natives just stopped being interesting.

My client thinks it could have been sabotage from one of his business associates, and if it is- it’s my job to find out who. 

So I started looking. I start with the simple stuff. I listen, I look through refuse, and maybe snoop around the yard. Their solar system was littered with probes, and each was apparently made for a scientific goal. Some even included strange greetings and information about the species that made it. Very aspirational stuff, seems like they had to have been a species on the move at some point.

There was even more stuff in their planetary orbit, but only a fraction of it was operational at all, and a fraction less was in use. It was a pretty interesting junkyard though. There was a lot more variety in the purpose of the orbital machines, some were scientific, but many were apparently for transmitting enormous amounts of data around the planet. The throughput was mind boggling, yet the available data caches indicated almost none of it was used to transmit scientific, educational, or even useful information. They could transmit all of their species collected scientific data several times a second, yet scientific data accounted for a small fraction of the networks use.

Transmissions from the planet were sparse for a species that once filled their sky with radios, but there were more than a few dense collections of natives doing native things like broadcasting audio and video signals.

I tuned into their feed for a while to get a feel, and right away it felt pretty weird. The weather forecasts made sense but the rest of it was pretty much non stop insanity. There were various competitions, made up stories about people doing things that real people do, made up stories about people doing things nobody does, real stories about people doing things real people do. There were stories about animals, and two dimension people, and lots and lots of stories about people fighting and making copies of themselves. It was the most immersive experience I’d ever had in another species culture, and I’m a xeno-anthropologist. It was fairly mind blowing to find a species that marinated so extravagantly in their own lives.

The first thing you learn as a xenoanthropologist is- there are no accurate generalizations about intelligent species. Then you learn a bunch of roughly accurate generalizations and a bunch of exceptions. I can’t say any generalization applies to this place, except that in general- intelligent species don’t do that. I’ve never ever heard of a species that spent that much time and effort to transmit images of themselves doing things just for the sake of other people watching them do it. I mean- of course theater, art, sports, all that- they have analogies in most species cultures, but I’m telling you, this species never really passed the ‘mirror self-recognition test’ so much as they just adopted it as a lifestyle.

But that doesn’t answer the question of why they got so boring. They even had some programs about their former glory in space, but I hadn’t seen a single rocket launch since I started investigating. 

I was starting to think my client might be onto something. This is a species with everything it takes to ride into the intergalactic frontier. Yeah- their vain as all get out, but if they put that much metal in space just to make a proverbial giant mirror to look at themselves, imagine what they’re capable of. I’d already seen their scientific curiosity at work at the edges of the solar system. Seems like something had to have gotten in their way or they’d be jamming with the galaxy by now. 

Species sabotage is rare, but it’s happened. The bad news is once it’s done, there’s usually nothing to be done, you just can’t repair the kind of damage interstellar interference can do to a species’ development. If there is any good news, it’s that it’s impossible to do it without leaving a trace. If an outsider threw this species into chaos, they left fingerprints.

Unfortunately the only way to find fingerprints is to get up close. And very unfortunately for me I’m an insectoid creature about a meter long which is absolutely terrifying to this species, so I’ll have to be pretty creative if I want answers. Though I was perfectly fluent in their language, their prejudice to my form made casual conversation out of the question. So I went for a more direct investigative technique. I abducted a half dozen of their species and imprisoned them for a while.

It took about 3 days before any of them could speak to me intelligibly, but we made a breakthrough after I let them order a delivery of food disks. I had to start over with the delivery guy but he settled down after awhile too.

I may have started out a little aggressively, and I regret my professional lapse in allowing my suspicion of sabotage to direct my investigation, because what I learned from these poor, demented, savages, was darker than my worst assumptions.

These people were just dumb, and mean- but not always, sometimes smart and nice, but sometimes dumb and mean while being aggressively smart and nice, and vice versa, almost. But mostly they were really, really indifferent about their species to the point of being kind of dumb and mean. It was weird, and depressing. 

I asked them more explicitly what had happened to their species but they didn’t seem to understand the question, which I guess is fair- to them they just are what they are, they didn’t know what they could have been. It took me a while to piece together the timeline that took them from mounting expeditions to nearby worlds, to wallowing in their own mundane reality, but not because there was some catastrophic event that destroyed their records, it was just incredibly boring, so it took me awhile to even care enough to get the big picture. 

They did fight a lot, and there were a few significant wars that really catalyzed their decay, but mostly it was just long cycles of neglect followed by intense bursts of the wrong kind of energy. They’d get all excited and do some interesting things, then get bored with them, then fight about stupid things, the get tired of fighting and take what they learned from fighting and do a few more interesting things, then get bored and fight again. All the while devouring resources and generating enormous waste. They’re still doing it, just at smaller scales. Sort of occasionally warring city-states that watch each other’s broadcast television.

But that was it, no treason, no sabotage, not even one big war or a big bomb or anything, just lots of small, stupid, decisions that a species made to rob itself of a future in space. Or maybe they never had a future, the xenoanthropologist detective in me says it just is what it is, there’s no guarantees, and no judgements.

But the xenoanthropologist detective in me is in an insectoid, and my species is just flat out better than those morons. Yeah, we’ve got our problems, I eat fellow insectoids sometimes, whatever, but you know what I don’t do? Well… I’m not sure personally, but apparently in general my species is better at not doing things that screw up the entire species chances of doing anything interesting in space, and I know you want to go to space, c’mon… so quit listening to silly stories and go build a spaceship.

Feb 112022

Here’s a book I found about 20 years ago. It was in the microwave after a lightning storm, it was a little warm and glowey. It was printed in a futuristic OCR proof font so it took me this long to type it all out, plus I’m lazy. The original was lost in a freak flaming chainsaw juggling accident so no way to verify the quantum signature to see if it really is from the future or another timeline, but I’m assuming it’s legit.

I’m bad at transcribing and this thing is riddled with typos so I may update with a cleaner version at some point, but probably not.

Apparently WordPress won’t let me upload EPUB or AZW3 files for ‘security reasons’… so I guess no ebook formats unless I figure that out.

Google Books rejected me because I don’t own the copyright because I’m not doing that.

Amazon let me put it on Kindle Direct Publishing but you can’t set the price to $0.00, minimum is $0.99. So here’s that:

Oct 122021

MAD MADaaS has a very redundant name, but it’s for a good reason.

For the unfamiliar MADaaS is Mutually Assured Destruction as a Service. MAD MADaaS’s marketing pitch is that they provide containerized annihilation and extinction services on galaxy scale cloud native infrastructure for a fraction of the cost of on-prem MAD.

MADaaS makes a lot of sense, a lot more than MAD itself really. But if you have an arrangement with another group that if you die, they die- outsourcing the assurance of destruction to a third party is the most reasonable option. Of course most MAD subscribers are primitive cultures unaware of galactic cloud technology services, but there are enough advanced civilized grudges to maintain a thriving MADaaS marketplace.

MAD MADaaS has legacy dominance in the MADaaS market because they really are innately innovative in the field and have reinvented the industry several times across the eons. MAD MADaaS is headquartered on MAD planet. The MAD people are inscrutable in many ways, only the MAD people understand their internal cultural values and practices and they don’t communicate with offworlders about anything but setting up MADaaS contracts, it’s their primary export.

What is known about the MAD planet is mainly biological. It’s called MAD planet because the planet’s entire ecosystem seems to have evolved in accordance with MAD doctrine. Most biological systems on MAD possess the ability to cause extreme damage to their environment on demise.

There’s a wide range of destructive mechanisms. The semi-intelligent fruiting body of the MAD Worm-Tree can force its pulmonary organ through its digestive organ. This pumps digestive fluid though its optical cavity where catalytic enzymes decompose the digestive fluid into a toxic gas that can destroy any MAD life in the vicinity. Some creatures can emit death-cry like signals which strongly attract dangerous creatures to the area, or even release other biological infestations.

It’s pretty insane by Darwinian standards, though it is still Darwinian. The big difference is the evolutionary pressure of direct predation is pretty rare. That’s not to say things don’t eat each other, they just can’t take any risks that their prey will know you’re about to eat them

So there’s no hunting, not exactly. Even ambush predation is rare because mistakes are just too destructive. There’s an extraordinary amount of camouflage and deceptive markings. Pretty much every creature looks like a few other creatures and can imitate a natural phenomenon or two. In the MAD ecosystem the practice of acquiring another creature’s biological material for consumption looks a lot more like a cross between farming and seduction than the classic hunting or foraging you see on most worlds.

For instance MAD Swift-Bats eat the young of the MAD Mushmouse because infant Mushmouse have not developed the Mushmouse’s ability to violently dissolve into a thick fluid which quickly cures rock hard to permanently immobilize or smother predators. They avoid the parent Mushmouses ire by feeding them and living among the Mushmouse colonies, assuming the role of midwife and caretaker of the young. The mice reproduce prodigiously, and the bats evolved to maintain balance with the Mushmice population so a few young mice aren’t missed. The balance is pretty important because if a bat gets too hungry and tries to eat a grown mouse, or if the mice attack the bat, triggering the bats MAD-reflexive hypergolic chemical explosion, everyone loses.

There’s a lot of that kind of warped harvester-ant kind of interaction going on with MAD planet. A lot of interspecies sexual and reproductive deception too. Lot of things eat each other’s babies, some semi-voluntarily. Of course a lot of that is like seeds and fruits and such because those kind of count as something’s baby especially in ecosystems where things that look like plants also have lungs and stuff, but there’s also a lot of eating eggs and regular babies. That sounds a lot like regular nature, but it works out pretty differently with MAD.

The direct predation that does exist is necessarily based on defeating the other creatures MAD-reflex. Reliance on killing a creature before the reflex can be triggered is still too risky, so the only effective predation adapts to the reflex.

The MAD Tentaclepede’s MAD-reflex involves spontaneous cartilization of its hundreds of tentacled feet into needle sharp protrusions laced with a paralytic neurotoxin, which burst from the body after a final muscular spasm. The MAD Horned-Wheel-Scorpions evolved a hunting technique whereby they roll over a Tentaclepede, puncturing it with its horns, but rolling on to a safe distance to wait for the Tentaclepede to die and expend its legmunition.

An intelligent, generalist species eventually evolved that could take advantage of several different survival strategies. Despite, or perhaps because of their MAD tendencies, they managed to develop a thriving technological civilization. The MAD people are sort of bipeds, but have a couple of long vestigial wings they hop around on sometimes. They might have two heads, or a head and a bulb that looks like a head. Little is certain about their physiology because if you piss one off enough it goes nuclear, very literally. Their thermonuclear-MAD capabilities are due to implanted technology, not biological. It’s unclear what their natural MAD defence is but it’s presumed to be statistically less destructive than their nukes, but probably a worse way to die. The absence of regular nuclear detonations detected on their planet suggests they’re smart enough to stick to their natural MAD at home.

Apparently they started developing an implantable nuclear device alongside their first attempts at spaceflight. It was just assumed they might meet other species and if so they’d need a reliable deterrent. It took a while to develop anything like normal interstellar trade relations. At first nobody even knew there was a new space-capable species around, they just thought there’d been a spate of unfortunate reactor meltdowns in sectors near the MAD planet lately. 

Eventually they learned to chill out long enough to not blow everything up long enough to have a dialog, but they also learned they didn’t have much in common with most space-capable species. But they did see a potential market for something they were really good at.

The MAD people’s first interstellar export was the iMAD. It was just a mass-produced version of their implantable thermonuclear devices tailored for various other species physiology. It was an instant hit. It wasn’t the first implantable nuke on the market by any means. But implantable nukes were always sold alongside novelty cyanide teeth and tachyon foil hats and such, they were associated with flat-universe conspiracy nuts and the like. The MAD people found a way to market personal mutually assured destruction as both a cool and responsible lifestyle choice. 

iMAD devices became as fashionable as they were functional. Some custom luxury models could even leave the owner’s monogram in the blast crater. But iMAD had trouble breaking into industrial, military, and government markets. Even for totalitarian regimes willing to implement forced adoption, the relatively small yield of an implantable device just wasn’t enough to move tyrants to commit to large contracts.

Perhaps surprisingly the MAD people didn’t invent MADaaS, that honor goes to a sentient nanite swarm left over from a planet that let their nanotech get away from them and became a planet sized sentient nanite swarm. The nanite swarm started a cottage MADaaS industry, serving only the surviving offworld colonies from its original planet. When the MAD people found out about the idea they committed all their resources to expanding the market potential of MADaaS.

And I think that’s about as far as I can stretch that idea. I could go on about how the MAD people engage in political intrigue to start a bunch of conflict to create a demand for their services but that seems kinda tedious, and obvious, so I guess I’ll just stop here- but I do want to say the MADaaS tagline again in a used car salesman tone so here’s that- 

MAD MADaaS’s provide containerized annihilation and extinction services on galaxy scale cloud native infrastructure for a fraction of the cost of on-prem MAD.

Sep 202020
QQ108 Whale-Squid Evictor – A deceptively dangerous and capable military vehicle based on the submarine of the same name designed by the Whale-Squid tribe during the first Whale-Squid Squid Whale wars. Capable of operating in a range of atmospheric and marine conditions from deep ocean to near-space, the Evictor carries a range armaments and is both nimble and durable. Though the original submarine Evictor had a distinguished military service record, the new design has yet to see combat, because after other species saw what the Whale-Squid tribe did to the Whales and Squids, nobody really wants to fight them.

A long, long time ago in a timeline far, far, away, but still sort of here. Or maybe a long, long time from now, or maybe right now, however you correlate dates in alternate timeline stuff.

Anyways, whenever and wherever, on what we’d call Earth if we saw it, there were two really, really smart creatures that just kept getting smarter. If we saw them we’d call them whales and squid, and that wouldn’t be inaccurate, but those words don’t mean anything in this timeline, nor do any human words. But because this description of a timeline that humans never existed in is written in English I’ll just call them whales and squid.

Whales on this Earth started out doing pretty much what whales do here. They’re really smart, and they communicate and cooperate, and they live together and learn a lot from one another. But also on this Earth they evolved kind of a trunk type appendage so they can manipulate and grab things. Not sure what evolutionary pressures led to that but I can’t think of a way for whales to do much technology without a manipulator appendate so on this Earth they have that.

While the whale trunk was a strong and capable manipulator, it was tough to do fine work with only one largeish appendage. So for a long while whale technology was limited to fairly large structures of woven kelp, and animal bones, including whales.

Though a seemingly rudimentary framework for technology, whales pushed kelp and bone technology to astonishing limits. Mechanical structures were developed including pulleys, belts, levers, and ratchets. Arbitrary lengths of kelp could be woven into tensile structures providing means to store and preserve live food. Worldwide industry and commerce developed around the whales use of kelp and bones to raise, trade, and consume ocean livestock from kelp to cephalopods. Eventually the abundance of whale resources led to the creation of sophisticated whale culture including art, sports, and entertainment.

Long before the interspecies enlightenment, a common spectator event in whale society were the squid fights. Certain species of cephalopods had been domesticated by whales by breeding for desired characteristics. Though most breeds were selected for food and utility value, some were bred as pets, and some as fighting animals.

Fighting squids were bred to be both ferocious and intelligent. In addition, they were trained extensively to use their own bodies, and a range of provided weapons to injure their opponent in vicious, lethal matches. Though entertainment fighting squids were the most prominent use of aggressive squid breeds, they were also trained as guard and attack animals.

Effective guard and attack squids were essential to maintaining secure whale society. Though whales were powerful and very robust creatures, their ocean still contained many dangers. Sharks and lesser aquatic mammals posed an ever present threat to whales, though a healthy whale could generally protect themselves against reasonable threats of this nature. 

Whale society required the use of powerful domesticated squid protectors in their struggle against squid society.

Squids on this Earth started out doing pretty much what squids do here. They’re really smart, extremely wily and clever, but they don’t live very long or have much of a social instinct. But on this Earth a species of cephalopods evolved the capability to kind of care about each other and they started hanging out in cooperative groups that learned to communicate danger and resources. So they got eaten a lot less and evolved a longer lifespan than most cephalopods.

Squid life was never easy, and even as a budding society they faced ever present existential threats. But squids minds are pretty amazing and once they learned to share what worked and didn’t work it wasn’t long before squids learned technological tricks that started blowing even the most proficient whale bone-kelp smith’s minds.

Squids mastered kelp and bone to a much finer degree than even whale masters. They could assemble complex, functional clockwork mechanisms from sculpted fish bones, coral, and shells. But they were curious, observant, and fearless to their individual detriment, but a lot of squids trying a lot of things and sharing the results led to an explosion in their technological capability. They learned to concentrate and mix substances to create a self-hardening, cement like material they could use to construct structures no other creature could penetrate. They utilized gas generating microbes to generate power by harnessing buoyancy as a sort of analog to steam power. They even experimented with long range acoustic communication systems, but that created some problems.

Squid society existed in a microcosm for a long time. The cooperative squid species was native to a small gulf area that was unattractive and largely inaccessible to whale society. They were aware of large aquatic mammals, but had never interacted directly or even been observed by a civilized whale.

Squid acoustic detection systems had revealed a complex ocean full of strange sounds from unknown creatures. They were believed to be aquatic mammals, and some squids suggested the communications indicated an intelligent society, but many dismissed the idea. Even so long range acoustic transmission research was strictly banned until more was known about the wider ocean.

By that time, squid society had developed extremely effective hunting tools and techniques, such that they had no trouble bringing down an aquatic mammal the size of whale, provided it was alone and the squids were prepared.

So eventually the curious squids finally agreed to send an expedition beyond the gulf with an acoustic transmission device. With the intent of using it to re-broadcast some of the recorded acoustic sounds, and see what happens. The assumption was at worst it wouldn’t work at all, and at best they might have figured out a great new way to bait aquatic mammals and they’d all go home with some fresh carcasses to share.

The outcome of the expedition is only known through the dying testament of the only survivor. In which he described a vast army of whales that carried giant kelp nets and bone spears. This single event was the essential catalyst of all future civilization on this Earth.

Predictably the squids freaked out and became psychotically militant for 100 generations or so. The reports of subsequent reconnaissance missions into whale society revealed a nightmare world of squid being bought, sold, eaten alive, worked to death then eaten, experimented on then eaten, killed by another squid and then eaten, or even trained to kill other squids at their whale master’s command, and then still eaten. 

They aggressively expanded within and then far beyond their gulf. They developed long range communications undetectable to whales, built incredible weapons and defenses, and even began a program to breed and train aquatic mammals, including whales as war animals.

It was open interspecies warfare for about 1000 years. Both species killed one another with abandon. And occasionally one side or the other would marshal an unimaginably massive force with the intent of finally ending the threat the other species posed. But that always ended with lots of dead squid and whales, but still plenty more live squid and whales with even more apparent reason to hate and fear one another.

It is unclear how the interspecies enlightenment began, but the accepted apocryphal account is that two lost juvenile whales were met by a remote tribe of squid society that had been out of contact for several generations and had lost a cultural memory of the species wars. They tribe accepted the whales as members and taught them squid ways and lived harmoniously for years. The story tells that one day the tribe heard a skirmish between squid and whales and some went to investigate. 

The tribesmen, a whale and four squids, were seen and attacked by both sides, each thinking they were an attempt to flank the others.

Then this Earth timeline splits again. In the nice timeline, the skirmishers see the whale and squid tribesmen defending one another and it stops the battle. Then they find out about the whale-squid tribe and everyone is inspired and slowly but surely both societies change and yada yada yada you got your happy whale-squid planet.

In the regular timeline all the tribesmen were killed immediately. The skirmishers understood the whale and squid tribesmen were defending one another but they were disgusted by it and considered them traitors to their species. 

The tribe later discovered their dead, and went to find out what the hell, and found a world where whales and squids hated each other.

Well the tribe was a tribe, and they said screw both these idiotic species for messing with our tribe, so the whale-squid tribe set out teach whales and squids you don’t mess with the whale-squid tribe.

It took the whale-squid tribe a while to catch up both in population and technology, but they had some willing converts from both species that helped them get started. And most importantly they had both whales and squids, and whale and squid technology, and new and interesting intersections and synergies with whales and squids and whale and squid technology. The whale-squid tribe deployed increasingly overwhelming force against remaining whale society and squid society. Though the war between whales and squids had raged for a 1000 years, it took less than 100 for the whale-squid tribe to end the interspecies war and annihilate any semblance of the global powers that once struggled for dominance.

After that things went a lot like human civilization. The whale-squid tribe only remained unified as long as their was a whale and squid society to fight against. After they ran out of common enemies they just became whale-squid society and started dividing along all the other stupid lines people find to divide over. They have regional differences, biological distinctions, even identity politics, which is super weird with two entire species. It’s pretty stupid, but they do have but way cooler movies and TV because it’s not all from one species perspective.

The space program was pretty interesting. They never had combustion but they started with high atmospheric balloons and eventually were able to use a combination of buoyant lift and rotational launch mechanisms to deploy small vessels to orbit, which could then use cold gas thrust and slow aerobraking to deorbit. Whales obviously never saddled up but squid could basically pack themselves into a padded bag with a water circulation system and withstand upwards of 30G’s.

Interesting footnote, the aliens in Star Trek IV weren’t aliens, they were timeline-jumpers from the nicer whale-squid timeline where they all got along better. The ship was broadcasting looking for whales or squids, so the crew could have saved a lot of trouble building that giant whale tank by just taking a few squid back instead.

Sep 132020
The Cosmic Mystery Machine – A promotional vehicle unique for being the only known spacecraft to employ functional wheeled propulsion. The wheels actually do generate directional thrust using an extraordinarily inefficient mechanically timed mach-effect. Though wheeled propulsion is possible, it’s acknowledged as a gimmick and the ship can deploy large solar sails for additional delta-v from its wing structures, which are also used as control surfaces in reentry maneuvers.

I like the quote “The total number of minds in the universe is one”, and also “atman equals brahman” but I’m probably not using that right and I prefer to explain what I think more explicitly rather than rely on other people’s associations so I’ll just do that.

There is only one mind in the universe to me just means that consciousness is a property of the universe. It’s like combustion in that it just happens whenever and wherever it can, and it’s uniqueness is its initial conditions and the environment it interacts with. Of course it doesn’t work to say “there is only one flame in the universe” but I use the analogy because nobody has a problem with the idea that ‘flame’ is just a phenomenon.

But each of our flames of consciousness feels pretty distinct to us. It’s hard to argue that I’m not you and you’re not me, but I like to say we’re both just different versions of “I”. Of course that sounds solipsist because “I” is me, when I say it, and I’m the one writing. But “I” means more than me to me.

“I” is really a whole continuum of I-ness. At one end is a unit system of biologically active materials that feels things and at least thinks it thinks things, at the other end is the universal phenomenon of self-aware consciousness. Let’s call them lower I and upper I respectively. It’s a first person plural but it’s distinct from ‘we’ because there’s only one upper I’s, and all lower I’s are the same upper I.

Upper I might share some features that others might identify as a soul, but if it’s a soul it’s more accurate to say it’s the soul of the universe. It’s the part of consciousness that is the universe trying to understand itself. I like that description because it’s both functional and aspirational. Even if you’re using your consciousness to understand how to eat all the chocolate you can, it’s kind of true. I like to think it’s most true when you’re trying to understand physics and consciousness, but that feels arrogant and elitist, so it’s good to remember it’s just as true if you’re trying to understand the digestive system of cockroaches, or how to teach little humans to wash their hands and tie their shoes.

Of course you can do all of that for 1000 motivations, it’s not like everyone who studies the universe walks around thinking “I am the universe’s brain!” all the time or anything. It’s a continuum for everyone every minute of every day. Nobody stays very upper I for long. I think that might even apply to alien consciousness. Being a lower I is pretty demanding. I just think there’s some truth to the idea that consciousness has some intrinsic curiosity and that’s a thing that really does connect all minds.

So what good is all that? Well, you can have fun with it if you imagine it means you get to be everyone, and everything. Not psyched about all the shittty human lifetimes, but if it’s universal that means aliens. So I might get to be a giant alien worm person that uses its cilia to perform on some thousand toned musical instrument. Also get to be their backup band, and their fans, and maybe the giant beetle thing that eats the whole band in a tragic onstage accident.

But I don’t think that’s useful except for fun. It’s not parallel reincarnation or anything like that. There’s obviously no physical connection between the minds of the giant worm and the band and the beetle that could join as a ‘universal mind’ to understand all their experiences.

That’s a seductive idea and it would be the only way there could be some kind of comparative analysis of experience itself, but I just don’t think that’s a thing. There’s no ‘great mind’ in the sense that it knows us or our experience just because we are all it. Even if we just say a ‘great mind’ doesn’t exist on this plane, say it exists in some 5th dimensional space and the connections are invisible to us because we exist on a lower dimension or something, it still doesn’t work. I think the experience of upper I through a lower I is kind of an atomic unit. It cannot be anything but what it is without becoming something else entirely.

There’s no way to know what it’s like to be a bat, as a human. Even if you could, somehow, force the neural information from a bats experience through your mind, and forget you were a human for that time, when you woke up your memory of the experience would be as a human analyzing their human memory of being a bat. You would recall the experience only through human recollection, with human faculties. If you could truly ‘share’ the experience of batness with your human consciousness you might be overwhelmingly compelled to eat bugs and hang upside down, but you can’t. You cannot share the experience of a mind, it’s a totally isolated phenomenon by it’s nature.

Just wanted to be clear that this isn’t an edge to work in a new age philosophy of oneness or anything. It’s a perspective that accepts the fundamentally isolated state of self-aware consciousness, but tries to put a more entertaining spin on it and maybe derive a functional framework for morality from it.

This seems related to the idea of karma but to me that is just an expression of the symmetry of the fact that in this arrangement we all experience everything we do to one another because all conscious experience is fundamentally the same phenomenon.

Seems like the idea that all minds have a similar basis of experience is a decent rationalization, maybe even a justification for empathy and compassion. Not that we should really need all that to understand reciprocity, but it helps take it beyond human cultures and lifetimes, maybe even to AI, and it works for aliens if we meet any. It takes the theory of mind out on a limb a bit, but I think that’s probably where it belongs.

It’s probably a good idea to just say minds are minds and humans happen to have them. But when we find anything that looks remotely like a human mind, it gets the same status, so we avoid any robot uprisings over sentient being’s rights. If we’re going to get wiped out by machine life I’d prefer it was because they actually were evil or indifferent to human life, not because we deserved it.

Sep 062020
Field Weaver – An entirely theoretical vessel designed to function in an entirely theoretical universe with entirely theoretical physical properties. A precise description of its function requires an understanding of the radically different physics that exist in the theorized universe, but it’s been summarized as non-locally buoyant with inverse-anti-inertial thrust and quasi-uncertain attitude control.

The punchline is a six-base DNA sequence describing proteins found in the eggsacks of a red siphonic coral.

DNA Radio is a general term for various forms of one-way, mass communication in societies with languages relying on chemical information transfer. There are a number of variations of the practice depending on the species individual chemical cycles and environment, but all share the common feature of being a branching or broadcast style of chemical information transmission.

Some advanced technological civilizations have developed DNA Radio into a sophisticated medium for art and social discourse.

The Anurog people are vaguely amphibian-like and evolved to communicate by exchanging a form of saliva encoded with subtle but highly complex variations in acidity. One long lick may exchange the information and emotional equivalent of a 3 page letter, a drawing, and a pressed flower. In effect they communicate by creating and sensing specific tastes while kind of making out with each other.

Their technology is largely biologically based and their implementation of DNA radio is entirely organic. An Anurog DJ licks into a device that functions as ‘microphone’ but is a genetically engineered sponge colony that converts their saliva acidity into a serialized stream of chemical data. The data is encoded in the same chemical sequences of base pairs the Anurog’s biological equivalent of DNA.

The DNA is conveyed by fluid or aerosol to a similar receiver sponge that then converts the DNA back into tastable acidic patterns that can be understood by any Anurog. There is a small loss of subtle tone and intent in the conversion to DNA radio, but the fidelity to their natural communication is more than adequate.

Since the Anurog DNA Radio chemical format shares elements with DNA from their planetary ecosystem, it didn’t take long before they started experimenting with including natural DNA elements in the DNA Radio feeds, much like human DJs might sample sounds from nature.

Red siphonic coral creates stunningly beautiful structures, and its eggs have cultural significance and preserved eggs are highly valued in some older traditions. More modern cultures prioritize protecting the coral and consider decorative egg harvesting a sadly backwards relic. Though it is tolerated in moderation, the practice is a regular subject of ridicule in the media.

A popular DNA Radio children’s program popularized a villainous character who desperately sought preserved coral eggs. The villain’s entrance was always accompanied, much like a theme song, with a theme DNA sequence, which was borrowed verbatim from DNA found in the red siphonic coral eggs. The program helped turn cultural values against coral egg harvesting, but even long after the program was considered outdated, references to the egg loving villain remain in the cultural memory.

The human analogy might be the end theme of a looney toons episode, but for someone to synesthesia who hears it as a smell that also smells a bit like roasting Porky Pig.

— — —

The punchline is a human with a blackhole alien pet named “spray painted grapefruit the devourer of paint”.

Though the punchline is a human, it’s not an offensive thing because the human it’s about considered himself a member of the alien society he’s a joke in and he didn’t mind being the source of amusement and even enjoyed it to some degree, but since he considers himself an alien, and other aliens laugh at it, it’s an alien joke.

Blackhole aliens have nothing to do with black holes. They just don’t reflect any light because their fur is like that carbon nano vanta black stuff, but from radio to xray frequencies. They are humanoid bipeds, but if you saw one even in broad daylight you’d just see a cavity black silhouette. They call themselves blackhole people because they do strongly identify with the celestial black holes. It’s a kind of sun worship combined with some weird narcissism because they say it’s a big version of them, but it’s kind of cute and it’s not a big deal in modern blackhole alien society.

Blackhole aliens are curious researchers, and they have a strong advantage in doing things they don’t want advertised to other species, so they’ve become one of the galaxy’s most prolific abductors and probers. The stereotype of a big headed green alien is totally unfair, those guys barely abduct anyone. And though the blackhole aliens were actually quite gentile and generally humane, the fact that they appeared as two dimensional shadow beings is enough to invoke primal fear in pretty much any species that has any kind of vision sense.

Though the blackhole aliens had abducted many, many humans, they were unprepared to meet young Franklin Weiss. He was accidentally abducted when they scooped up an entire RV to save some time. He was brought all the way back to the blackhole alien homeworld before he was discovered. His actual age is unknown, but he was less than a meter tall and extremely rambunctious, but had a generally pleasant disposition.

It’s unclear what Franklin’s deal was, he might have been a little simple, or maybe really smart, but unlike pretty much every other being they abducted, he demonstrated unprecedented contentment with his circumstances. Once he was provided basic sustenance he was astonishingly chill. He was not afraid of the blackhole aliens and interacted with them freely and delighted in making shadow puppets with them, which he and a few of his handlers developed into a fairly sophisticated language since Franklin could not understand the tactile language used by blackhole aliens. By the time he reached adulthood he was considered essentially a blackhole alien, but with a disability that he could only communicate in a made up language.

Franklin was given a pet companion, a smallish blackhole fur animal not unlike a dog. Franklin named his pet after the most significant celestial object in blackhole alien culture, a particularly gigantic black hole. The culturally significant black hole was called “Dark Sphere Drinks Light” in the highly literal blackhole alien language, but since Franklins handlers had the limited base conceptual vocabulary of a juvenile human to work with, their direct translation to human concepts somehow became “spray painted grapefruit the devourer of paint”.

The error was only discovered much later, after Franklin began participating in abductions of other humans. Upon learning more human words and the correct associations, he was able to piece together the chain of misunderstandings that led to his well meaning but misinformed black-hole handlers teaching him that their revered celestial object was a spray painted grapefruit.

So I guess that’s not really even a joke, just a humorous circumstance, but I started this alien joke thing with a punchline first format so apparently I’m sticking to that even when it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Also I forgot to number the jokes at first but then I wasn’t sure why I started doing that in the first place so I’m not numbering these. It was only funny for number seven and I don’t think you can do that twice so I think this way is fine.

Sep 052020
Tube containing a 4D shock-field map captured during the superluminal passage of a single spin 3/2 carbonium bubble through a non-linear Crystal Pepsi.

Jesunauts follow the original, uninterpreted lessons of Jesus of Nazareth as they pertain to the struggles of sentient beings on and beyond Earth.

Jesunauts recognize the literal truth that the kingdom of God is not of this world, and follow his ascension to heaven in mind, spirit, and as possible- body. Each Jesunaut seeks to contribute their lives and work to the physical and spiritual ascension of humankind.

Jesunauts practice, teach, and advocate the duty of radical compassion, humanitarianism, and self-sacrifice. God’s gifts of intelligence and empathy are to be used as tools to analyze and minimize causes of unnecessary, involuntary suffering. Jesunauts hold humans responsible for defining and challenging their own morality by its rational benefit to humans and humanity.

Jesunauts are wary of the inevitability of human weakness. Jesunauts do not judge humans for their moral failures, but rather seek to create and encourage circumstances that allow human beings to live and coexist in the universe peacefully and sustainably.

Jesunauts commit to stewardship of the Earth. The Earth and every living creature are God’s gifts to humankind. These blessings are ours to honor and cherish as examples of God’s perfect creation. Jesunauts preserve and study the perfection of nature as the living word of God.

Jesunauts minister by studying and teaching God’s creation as God has presented it. God’s creation itself is his word and no human word is to be given precedence over what God shows us in nature. God’s will cannot be translated into human language. Creation itself is the only language rich enough to convey God’s will. Any human who tries to condense God’s will into specific human action authorized by God is fundamentally mistaken.

Jesunauts dedicate themselves to the provision of healing arts for all humanity. Jesus healed through direct divinity to show primitive human cultures that healing is possible through God’s power. Humans are guided to God’s power by the diligent study of His creation. Jesus’ examples of healing were a clear mandate for human beings to use God’s gift of reason to understand, share, and diligently support all knowledge and practice of healing.

Jesunauts share communion with Jesus and one another through model aircraft and rocketry. Building and launching gravity defying machines is necessary to experience the truth of God’s gifts and laws, and represents Jesus’ diligent work on Earth and final ascension through God’s grace.

Jesunauts are unconcerned with the state of an individual consciousness beyond a mortal existence. God has given human beings mortal life and anything beyond mortal life is exclusively God’s domain. Jesunauts glorify God with efforts to extend, preserve, and enhance mortal life. God’s perfection and the perfection of his gifts of life necessarily imply that whatever lies beyond mortal life will also be perfect.

Jesunauts mourn the tragedy of Jesus’ torture and execution on Earth and do not make or possess monuments or relics symbolizing the brutality done to Jesus. Jesunauts celebrate Jesus’ life and message of peace, compassion, ascension.

Jesunauts party with any other ‘naut or non ‘naut that share the above sentiments.

A Jesunaut does not identify with any belief system and only follows their own personally validated beliefs. A Jesunaut makes no claim to represent any system of belief. A Jesunaut does claim to be a Jesunaut. There are no Jesunauts. There are just people who have heard about Jesunauts and share their sentiment and generally act like they think a Jesunaut would.

Aug 312020
Imperial Femto Target Drone – A 1:9e74806 scale replica target drone created for highly efficient femto-scale wargames conducted within the Schwarzschild radius of a Planters Peanut shell.

At some point I stumbled on the term misanthropic humanitarian, or humanitarian misanthrope to describe my general sentiment towards humanity. I don’t think anyone would argue that I’m a misanthrope, but the humanitarian part might be more debatable. And misanthropy seems like it’s mutually exclusive to humanitarianism, but I actually think they can be complimentary.

I think my brand of misanthropy can be a basis for a kind of humanitarianism. Definitely not the same kind as actual good people that take risks and make sacrifices to help people, that’s a more applied humanitarianism that does actual good. This is a more theoretical framework that doesn’t help anyone but just arrogantly suggests that if we all thought this way the world would magically be a better place.

I’m not suggesting you have to be a full-on misanthrope to be a humanitarian, but I think some of the principles of misanthropy can be applied to humanitarian goals.

So I’m a misanthrope, what’s that mean? Basically it means that as a rule I don’t trust humans. Not as a species, not as a civilization, not even as individuals, and definitely not in large groups. Some of that is because I think the word ‘trust’ is too subjective to mean anything, but somehow it still feels right to say I just don’t trust humans. To me trust is just a weirdly sentimental way of measuring the accuracy with which you can predict or rely on a desired behavioral outcome, and by that definition, humans are very untrustworthy animals.

But trust has all this intent and value attached to it, and I don’t not trust humans because I think they’re all bad people or evil or any of that nonsense, it’s just because we’re incredibly complex and the more complex things become the more bizarrely unpredictable their behavior. And maybe I’m socially inept or whatever, but I’m talking about history here- sacrificing to sun gods, wars between incestuous ruling families and over religions, steam powered flat earther rockets 50 years after the moon landing, like 80% of the internet, this is humanity, just absolute batshit craziness on tap.

It’s partially biology. We’re mammals, and mammals are all pretty nuts, plus all life is nuts. Evolution works with what works, not with what makes sense or doesn’t suck. Humans are the product of what worked on Earth, and we do have some amazing advantages, but we’re just complicated animals, and even simple animals are nuts.

But we don’t really talk about trust with animals unless we’re anthropomorphizing them like with dogs. We describe wild animals as ‘unpredictable’ sometimes but I think we know intuitively they’re not, their nuttiness is within well established parameters so whether we say it or not it’s pretty easy to ‘trust’ animals, because we trust them to be animals. That’s really the only kind of trust that makes any sense to me. But if you just trust things to be what they are, then trust doesn’t mean anything, but I guess that’s kind of my point so, yeah…

But so I trust animals to be animals, and humans are animals, so why not trust humans to be humans? Well because like I just said- they’re animals. The human part is not a given. Humans are precariously built out of animals and if much of anything goes wrong with that construction what’s left is just the animal.

We accept this on a sort of medical level. From full-on lobotomies to Phineas Gage to meth-brain and just regular old dementia, it’s no secret that human minds can degrade into functionally different beings, sometimes to the point they are only human by biological standards. But those are the hard-core, obvious cases where the faculties necessary for doing human things are damaged so they just stop acting as much like a human.

But a lot of things can go wrong with people that are not really biological, and they continue to act exactly like humans. A sociopath is, for all intents and purposes, much better equipped to deal with the complexities of modern culture than someone burdened by empathy. They act more human than most humans, they’re good at it, but- I don’t think they’re really being all that human. Obviously that puts a judgement on what human means, so I’ll say I think ‘human’ is the part of ‘human animal’ that makes civilization together, and a sociopath doesn’t seem like they’re really using that part.

Our culture doesn’t really teach much about the human-animal duality of human nature, so people tend to think of human beings as atomic things, you’re born human and you die human, no matter how much of an animal or otherwise not a human you become along the way. So we may casually say a sociopath is an animal, but they really do get all the benefits of being a human being.

And for moral clarity we it’s probably best to say they’re all still human. It’s hard to argue the value of humans just saying all human life is sacred, full stop. And I think we can keep that value, but with a modified understanding that actually doing ‘being’ a human being is more than just being of the species homo sapien sapien.

Unfortunately the whole ‘human animal’ thing is pretty easy to run afoul of the whole ‘sanctify of human life’ thing, because where do you draw the line except by literal species without the danger of some people being labeled less than human life? I think the simple prevention is just don’t think of human being as a permanent state, but a potential, and give the whole species credit for the potential no matter what. That way you can say accurately when people are animals, but you can’t cross the line of treating them like animals because they have a body that has the potential to be human.

That said, I’m not saying ‘thou shalt not kill’ or anything. If people try to kill you, I think it’s acceptable to try to kill them right back. And there are some threats that cannot be neutralized any other way than permanently. But to me it’s a pretty simple rule- if you can neutralize a threat without death, do that, if not- stay alive. In simpler terms I can deal with a death penalty for a stranded colony with no means to effectively neutralize dangerous prisoners, but not in places with the means to build literal prison cities.

Also while I’m on the death penalty I’ll say I’ve actually come around to the position that there is a moral basis for a death penalty even in prosperous civilizations, but only for abuse of public power. To abuse public power is to undermine the basis of civilization. If someone tries to make you do something against your will, you have the right to fight them. But if they wield the power of the state, you may willingly, or unknowingly give up that right. So it seems fair that the price for wielding the power of submission is enhanced punishment for its misuse. I also think that this is the only case where capital punishment actually would be a deterrent. I don’t think violent psychopaths are pensive enough about mortality for a death penalty to really change their behavior, but I’d prefer anyone who assumed public power would be.

Sorry, I kind of accidentally then on purpose shoehorned my death penalty shpeil in there, but back to the thing…

So the gist is- I’m misanthropic because humans are animals, and animals are nuts, but I don’t not trust animals, and even though humans are sometimes animals they’re still humans and we can’t not treat them like humans, so what the hell am I talking about?

I’m just trying to get around to the point that to be a very effective humanitarian, especially at large scales, you have to recognize and account for the human animal. We’re weak, imminently corruptible, and intrinsically vain, but- we can help each other rise above it, and that’s kind of nice. Maybe misanthropy takes it too far, and brings the implication of disappointment or something, which goes against the point that this is about looking at the ‘human animal’ dispassionately, but I like the juxtaposition of misanthropic humanitarianism as a reminder that responsible compassion isn’t always snuggly.

It really helps when you need to look at humans as data. We are raw data, sucks to think of ourselves that way but we are, and that data is valuable. Humans actually are fairly predictable in large numbers. Being a little misanthropic can help you get over the fact that we’re just numbers, and being a little humanitarian can help you use your ability to get over our statistical predictability and use it to create beneficial outcomes for human beings.

When you want horses to do something, do you don’t moralize about it being the right thing to do, or why they should have done it. You create the conditions in which that horse will be most likely to do the thing you want them to do. There’s no judgement, just observation.

Of course you can create conditions that make the horse do it because it’s terrified not to, or because it associates it with a reward. Both can be called for in various circumstances. But most handlers tend to understand that horses are better to you when you’re better to them, but more importantly, they’re better when you create the conditions that are favorable to them being better.

Also just to be clear none of this is an argument for philosophical zombies. Everything feels, even sociopaths. I do think some meta-cognitivie capacity varies wildly between humans, but I don’t think that’s a critical defining factor of the human experience, it just can be. And again, it’s the potential to be human that grants the rights of humanity, so it doesn’t matter either way.

So that’s the main point I want to make about humanitarian misanthropy, the human-animal thing, but it actually goes a little further into cultural connections for me too. I don’t advocate this level of misanthropy for everyone, and it’s not as well coupled to humanitarianism, but I think the best way to avoid an us vs them mentality is to not be an us. 

The ‘them’ part is pretty hard to ignore. I see ‘them’ everywhere, but everytime I think I find an ‘us’, it turns out to be another them, or just a few of us with a bunch of them hanging around confusing things. So for expediency I’ve just taken to assuming there is no us. Or I guess I’ll qualify that by saying there is no ‘us’ beyond people you’re on a first-name basis with, and even there- people change.

There’s a lot of focus on human’s destructive tendency to identify ‘the other’ as the enemy, but I think the easily disprovable ‘us’ part is what creates the unfalsifiable ‘other’ part. But as many times as the ‘us’ is disproven, the ‘other’ remains compelling. Best way out, just be a ‘me’.

Sounds too lonely to be right though, right? Because humans are social creatures, etc… yeah, fine. I’m not saying you have to be a hermit over it. You can hang out with people, and like I said- people know actually know by the sound of their voice can be your ‘us’, just don’t join any clubs. That seems like a great rule to me. And by clubs I mean anything. Political parties, religions, ‘isms’ of any kind, maybe even fan clubs, but that’s a bit too literal. You speak for yourself on your own behalf and no one else’s, always and forever, and no one else can speak on your behalf by group association. Every club you join inherits some of your character and will, but you can’t control how other members use that association, so I consider it irresponsible to grant it.

Also the jackie gleason thing- won’t be a part of any club that would have me as a member. Great recognition of the paradox of self-standards. You should never meet your own standards, so if you meet someone elses, theirs aren’t as good as yours, but that’s not really a misanthropic humanitarian reasoning, just a good one.