Dream Journal

A Twin with a Tail

Massively sped up time-lapse of one early civilization, a primitive community building itself from raw nature over generations of real time. Just as a thought comes that “they’ve reached the stage where they need walls to protect what can now be destroyed”, and one wall of an enclosure has been built, I watch as a gigantic rhino beast smashes in and tramples all their work into splinters. I realize: this is my ancestry, although not a part which survived.

At Burning Man, I lounge with many friendly acquaintances in a communal camp where we spend most of our time. This day we’re in the midst of a low-key engineering competition. I go on repeated walkthroughs of a semi-outdoor hardware store scrounging for the right supplies. The desert is less dusty than usual, more crunchy.

Dara Vinne introduces me to her twin sister, called Dana Vinne. She appears mostly identical but has lived a distinctly different life — she was born with a clumpy, fleshy, twirled-up tail. I find I’m still just as attracted to her, which is an odd conundrum; I feel like the tail should make a difference, or that my existing intellectual attraction to Dara should instead favor her, but… well, no conclusions there.

I get a good look at the tail while we’re all sitting around naked. In the open space between couches she’s facing away from me, semi-squatting on a mattress. Her tail gives the conflicting impression of both a deformity and a banality. I watch then as she lazily maneuvers her hips to hump down onto a fresh tampon, driving it in no-handedly. Vulgar but bemusing, comfortable with her body and her company, the shocking gesture comes off as bizarrely endearing. Uncommonly feminine, too — a rakish femininity that’s happy with gross-out humor even at one’s own expense.

Later I pass by a camp on the corner where I again spot her (Dana Vinne), and consider backtracking for the chance to hang out with her. But I soon notice several other individual twins from my communal camp all headed that direction. I decide there must be a twins meeting of some sort, and head back to my own camp… still very curious about this new person.

Dream Journal

Rusty Oil Truck Island

Array of plastic tables indoors on first floor, light streaming in through the windows. Lynae is there, many others, Dara V. too. We’re all waiting for something in enforced silence while outside a dense, tall city bustles.

Lynae and I are looking for a suitable oil truck to make deliveries on a small island in the central valley delta. In a steep, small dirt harbor we check out out a poorly maintained rustbucket with catwalks, the tanker alone costing our total $1500 budget. Chicken steams in on the Relentless and tells us we need to buy it and get started already. I expect we’ll get stuck working on the island, but consider that we’ll be the first to settle the area — we’ll be pushing the edge of civilization.

Dream Journal

An Inferior God

Story interpreted from a dream in three parts. Recovered/copied from where I originally wrote it, a wiki maintained for my own creative writing.

Suppose a technologically advanced alien civilization does somehow accidentally interferes in the development of another culture. They are forced by circumstance to rescue it from annihilation — a rogue individual sets himself up as a world dictator, or some such disaster, a disaster which could in fact be their fault. The damage is done and the worst happens: the aliens (or their agents) begin to be worshipped as gods. The culture’s development shifts focus to them instead of keeping any semblance of forward momentum. The mentality of a cargo cult sets in.

Then the only moral thing for those aliens to do would be breaking the culture of its dependency; the only way to do that is to further interfere. Very methodically they must instill the idea that god has limited resources, that [a] god isn’t omnipotent. To do so such that seems it’s been this way all along. Offerings to the gods might come in the form of donated energy. CCTV cameras are the way to watch over worshippers and guard holy places. The central idea is for the “contaminated” culture to indulge its obsession and work through it, to raise its collective self-esteem by doing as much for the gods as the gods have shown they can do for themselves. Outwardly it may appear as an oppressive and subjugated society, but the ultimate goal internally is to subvert the entire artificial structure.

The deals with a few things: how oppressive societies contain the seeds of their own destruction, but also how [human] nature inherently desires order, explanation, even its own subjugation. It also deals with the pace of enlightenment, in that the artificial boundaries are only crossed when an individual chooses to cross them. It contains the hope that, even with senseless repression, some good may come of it.

Glot Smartglot

Specialized Civilization (and Clowns)

Let me become suddenly, emphatically clear on something: the pervasive specialization of human skills frightens me. Our civilization is endangered. Empirical knowledge compels me to think we have a fascinating, frightening condition called “Whole-Picture Anemia.”

In academia, one can major in increasingly specific subjects. The still-infectious ideal of scientific reductionism makes believe we can split things into smaller and smaller units. Until what? Until they all fit together and we understand how the watch was made. Hey, organizing into more complex forms worked for single-celled organisms, right? I read Future Shock. I’m not so sure it’ll work for us.

Doctors are a great example. Allow me to give an awful example of this example. Say you’re a dermatologist, and discover an unusual skin condition. It seems your patient’s top layer of skin is eroding, producing a mottled pattern over their body. While it doesn’t seem like it’s getting worse (and there’s no apparent bodily irritation), it’s interfering with his work as a children’s party entertainer a.k.a. clown. Let’s call this patient “the Mystery Clown.” Now I’m not a doctor, and I hate clowns. Clowns are scary old men who play with children (most clowns). But—bound by the hippocratic—you’ll treat him anyways. While it could be a lot of things, the only thing that works is having him wear gloves at night. Big polka-dotted clown gloves, let’s say. Problem solved (freaky excema and clown-shame aside, right?). On to the next doctor, his shrink, to whom he reports that he can no longer sleep at night. Hormones? They’re ok. Personal life? Same. No increased stress on the job? Nope, still a clown. Well, here’s some nappy-time pills. That works.sorrk..wko..rkr.wrso….s.k.rokrwossss… What’s this? My fingers are stuck to the keyboard? Hmm, that’s unusual. Seems this whole time the Mystery Clown had been handling children his hands had gotten so perilously and annoyingly sticky that he had to remove the child-goo by unconsciously scraping his skin off in the dead of night. That is one devoted clown—he loves at his work; it’s all he knows. He’d never admit his disgust by washing away all the friendly child-smells. Whoa, Mr. Shrink, you totally should have caught that “reverse OCD” thing. That and all the makeup still caked on, too. And wouldn’t he smell? As I said, this is the worst great example written. Take that, House.

I’ve lost my point. Clowns are still very disconcerting for me. Ah yes… I’d like to express my dislike for the idea of becoming a liver cell by age 30. Wait—lemme try again. The prospect of human beings becoming separated by unbridgeable esoteric chasms of knowledge is an alarming one. It seems to me that this thing called “the internet” could just be serving as a prosthetic to bridge the great divide.

Homo sapiens grew up in tribal groups, divvying roles out to who could do them. And we thrived! But can we really take biology meant for groups of about 200 (maybe) and use it in societies of, say, 300 million plus? It worries me that it doesn’t seem to be anyone’s job to oversee “the Big Picture,” and invigorate this damned anemia. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d like to be something greater than the sum of my part.