Welcome to a Rabbit Hole for TNET‘s March-April 2018 Game Event.

The following piece is FRActal MEtafiction (FRAME); a Futurist Arts & Culture paradigm which draws upon the concepts of Culture Mining and Gamification, and is inspired by artists such as William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Joseph Cornell, Andy Warhol, and Marcel Duchamp, in addition to Postmodern theorists such as Jean Baudrillard.


[17 6486] This City Only

[from “The Republic” by Plato]

Perhaps there is a pattern of it laid up in heaven for him who wishes to contemplate it, and so beholding to constitute himself its citizen. But it makes no difference whether it exists now or ever will come into being. The politics of this city only will be his and of none other.

[from “Men Among The Ruins” by Julius Evola]

The essential task ahead requires formulating an adequate doctrine, upholding principles that have been thoroughly studied, and, beginning from these, giving birth to an Order. This elite, differentiating itself on a plane that is defined in terms of spiritual virility, decisiveness, and impersonality, and where every naturalistic bond loses its power and value, will be the bearer of a new principle of a higher authority and sovereignty; it will be able to denounce subversion and demagogy in whatever form they appear and reverse the downward spiral of the top-level cadres and the irresistible rise to power of the masses. From this elite, as if from a seed, a political organism and an integrated nation will emerge, enjoying the same dignity as the nations created by the great European political tradition. Anything short of this amounts only to a quagmire, dilettantism, irrealism, and obliquity.

As in the 19th Century, questions of the nature of State and sovereignty are again ascendant amidst the rise of new technologies and new ideas. Entire continents seem ready to give birth to new superpowers, while in America the concept of “individual sovereignty” and various social-political tensions seem to conspire toward disintegration. Transhumanists, meanwhile, are left wondering what kind of nations might best serve the heirs to our civilization. One possibility is that of the Zero State, or virtual, decentralized network-State. What alternatives might you suggest?

[18 7874] The Parent Organism…
[from “Neuromancer” by William Gibson]

Case had always taken it for granted that the real bosses, the kingpins in a given industry, would be both more and less than people… He’d seen it in the men who’d crippled him in Memphis, he’d seen Wage affect the semblance of it in Night City, and it had allowed him to accept Armitage’s flatness and lack of feeling. He’d always imagined it as a gradual and willing accommodation of the machine, the system, the parent organism. It was the root of street cool, too, the knowing posture that implied connection, invisible lines up to hidden levels of influence.

It is currently common to insist that a person can exist entirely on their own, rather than as part of any greater community. That is, quite simply, an illusion created by the level of support afforded by modern societies. Like it or not, we all have “implied connection, invisible lines…”. There is no question that you must rely on some kind of broader community; the only question is which kind of community you choose to support, in the hope that it can and will support you in turn. Do you know how you would (or could) answer that question, if the answer became a matter of personal urgency and importance?

[19 2954] …Its Hand In A Steel Trap
[from Philip K. Dick’s “Exegesis”]

…finally the organism [VALIS] – or at least this part of it – is in trouble – has its “hand in a steel trap”, as KW put it, and is extricating its members, i.e., us. We must have partially fallen out of the organism – or maybe it has – like a great animal – been snared by a titanic iron trap! It is in trouble. And is reclaimed, repairing, itself. It is, in the final analysis, a magna-mind as well as a magna-organism, and it is – has been for some time – in trouble. We are the distressed fraction, member, circuit or element, or organ, part or unit.

Most likely of all, it is a self-repairing AI mind system, and this repair activity (known historically to us as “salvation”) has to do with (ah!) reactivating a subsection (i.e., us) which has fallen below the message-transfer level (known to us, as the Essene terms, as “falling into forgetfulness and ignorance”). We are a memory coil, presently inoperative – i.e., malfunctioning: asleep, and, as in a quasi-dream, we are not where [and when?] we think we are (cf. Maze and Ubik).

This is the heart of the matter; we are an impaired section of the megamind; we misperceive. That which we see – our reality – does not exist. I am acosmic in viewing this; as in Maze we collectively hallucinate. The megamind is attempting to stimulate us back to being in touch with itself. Which is the “other slice of bread”, i.e., back to consciousness of it and ourselves as parts of it – which will, when successfully achieved, abolish this false world, whereupon it will be instantly replaced by the divine “abyss”.

Lest I reify the whole concept into sterile intellectual jargon, let me finish by saying:
“Love is the life and joy and heart of the system. Love is its boundless energy, its soul. And the voluntary force drawing its elements together into a happy krasis, where it is more fun to dance than to think, better to play than to talk. If I am right, it is laughing right now, at my abstract model, or at least smiling. I sure hope so.”

Philip K Dick saw earlier than most that the most radical science fiction speculations only serve to revivify the most ancient concerns of identity and spirituality. He saw that in a world where we can control more and more about the human condition, the more we will come to wonder what “being human” even is. If you are interested in these issues but feel you need some help exploring them, you could do worse than reading some PKD. If you feel that you know everything there is to know, then that goes double for you.

[20 7686] Grim Social Pathology
[from “Post-Scarcity Anarchism” by Murray Bookchin]

Unless we realize that the present market society, structured around the brutally competitive imperative of “grow or die,” is a thoroughly impersonal, self-operating mechanism, we will falsely tend to blame technology as such or population growth as such for environmental problems. We will ignore their root causes, such as trade for profit, industrial expansion, and the identification of “progress” with corporate self-interest. In short, we will tend to focus on the symptoms of a grim social pathology rather than on the pathology itself, and our efforts will be directed toward limited goals whose attainment is more cosmetic than curative.

Transhumanists forever find themselves defending technology and the idea of Progress against people who see these things threatening the environment, and so on. As Bookchin says here, how can you know that “Progress” is the problem if you don’t even know how it has been defined?

In our current age and society, we have been manipulated into collectively believing that Progress is something that must be bought, and that things which cannot be bought have no value. That is not Progress but degeneration, and it is not a worldview which can sit comfortably alongside transhumanism if transhumanism is to survive. Just as we would define ourselves, on our own terms, we must be ready to take ownership of the very concept of Progress, rather than asking someone else to sell it to us.

[17 6486] The Hyperreal
[from from “Simulacra and Simulation” by Jean Baudrillard]

The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth – it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true. – Ecclesiastes

If we were able to take as the finest allegory of simulation the Borges tale where the cartographers of the Empire draw up a map so detailed that it ends up exactly covering the territory (but where, with the decline of the Empire this map becomes frayed and finally ruined, a few shreds still discernible in the deserts – the metaphysical beauty of this ruined abstraction, bearing witness to an imperial pride and rotting like a carcass, returning to the substance of the soil, rather as an aging double ends up being confused with the real thing), this fable would then have come full circle for us, and now has nothing but the discrete charm of second-order simulacra.

Abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the territory – precession of simulacra – it is the map that engenders the territory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting across the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire, but our own. The desert of the real itself.

Baudrillard infamously predicted that the Iraq War (the first one, Desert Storm) would not happen. When dull-minded critics joyously pointed at the outbreak of war, he replied that it was not happening. Later, he said it had not happened. What did he mean? Was he a complete idiot, denying the existence of events in the Middle East? No. His point was that for almost everyone, the events in Iraq (and all events, all around the world) were at (at least) one remove, mediated by television, the internet etc.

You have never been to Iraq. You have never seen a child shot as a suspected bomber, unless perhaps you are/were a soldier, and even then you’d have seen and now remember the event through a fog of HUDs, propaganda, and orders. Now, nearly three decades later, apparently the entire Western world has lost the ability to distinguish reality from “fake news” and “alternative facts“. As George Orwell once infamously noted, true power is the power to assert that 2+2=5, and have that assertion go unchallenged.

We already live in Virtual Reality.

Thoughts to frame@zerostate.net or in comments below may be rewarded with ARG info. Conversations held elsewhere and linked back to that address or comments below will definitely win clues, hints, & info.


ARG1 Zone of Nothing

ARG2 Twenty Thousand Years

ARG3 Cataclysmic Renewal


ARG5 Houses of the Outer Court

Ready Player One: AR Gaming Meets Transhumanism