must be a full moon
Posted by jeanne
i’m up another night at 3 am, driven awake by the relentless pressure of the full moon on my eyeballs. as bodies of water, they too are affected by the moon’s tides, and so shit happens and i lay awake thinking for hours. but now i’m down in the studio, with the dogs settling down around my feet, and i can proceed to think with my fingers.
tonight i was musing about the great and growing wealth disparity in this nation. it pisses me off. i’m not part of the 1% and it would be laughable to think i could ever get that way; nor would i want to be that rich, because i’m not stupid and i don’t think money buys happiness. in fact, i’m fully aware that the rich have so much more debt than i ever will and so little free time, that they’re actually poor, and i’m the one who’s rich because i don’t owe anything or anybody.
but this is getting ridiculous, and people actually make $30,000,000 a week. thirty million dollars a week. one week.
my problem is translation. how do i take the actual reality – the powerful are grabbing more power and the masses are getting fed up – and translate it to a fight over quantum physics, where the status quo is classical physics and the quantum side is suppressed?
they’re not even congruent subjects, they’re not analogous. they are to me, emotionally, but my reason just sputters to a stop when i try to make a statement of it. so let me see if i can work it out digitally.
the similarity is this. when the gamers start manifesting quantum powers, the status quo is threatened to its core and responds with violent suppression. when the huddled masses start manifesting the power of numbers, the plutarchy is threatened to its core and responds with violent suppression.
the problem is this – when a few people grab all the resources and leave the rest to fight over the crumbs, how do the rest behave? we can see the result when we look at the middle east this year, but when we turn our eyes to our own country and a similar situation, we forget our words. and when i try to translate it to quantum, i freeze up and my brain spins on a tangent.
i guess the analogy of quantum power is taking to the streets and saying we will not be moved. it disrupts the hell out of the old order, calls all sorts of inconvenient things into public discourse, and illustrates novel ways to organize life.
when quantum effects begin occurring in the realworld, they disrupt the hell out of the way things are done, calls all the unspoken attitudes and inequalities out of the closet, and empowers a bottom up way of running the world.
this of course scares the hell out of people who live in reality, because reality is classical, newtonian, there’s one right answer, things are mechanistic and predictable, and if you started fucking with that you’d bring the whole thing down. the old argument springs to mind – if everybody stopped paying their credit card bills, the whole financial system would collapse. and this would be bad because? because, duh, our current system wouldn’t work anymore, the system where we live on credit and people take profits from labor they didn’t do, the system that uses debt to enslave people into bad jobs.
and this would be bad because?
i don’t think i’m hiding the fact that i think capitalism has had its day. and this is not yet an offense under the law. but it would be if the radical right had its way. treason, it would be. direct antiamericanism, because true patriotism and capitalism are the same thing.
or some such reasoning. and that’s going to be an issue with me because i find it very difficult to understand how people can think this way. how people who have no chance in hell of joining the 1% nevertheless act like poor people deserve nothing, and in fact, they really deserve a whole lot of nothing – negative nothing, to punish them for not being rich.
again, it makes no sense to me. until i understand it as fear. fear-based people think there’s not enough to go around, they have to get theirs first, and if they can have it all they will only begin to feel secure once everybody else is permanently prevented from even coveting it.
i’m the kind who want everybody to have theirs, and for those with more than they need to share theirs, because it’s not the money that counts. it’s the happiness that counts.
and i can hear a whole bunch of my friends and family snort and chortle at that. because happiness is unimportant. it’s the things you have that matter. it’s winning, being right, having everything you ever wanted. but it’s never enough; none of my friends and family are happy with all they have, they’re actually unhappy because they don’t have enough yet, and they spend all their time focused on their lack and their abundance and they never enjoy themselves and can’t stop worrying and all that crap.
and if i never enjoy myself and can’t stop worrying, at least i’m not in debt and don’t have to go squandering my time and energy on someone else’s project in return for not enough to pay the extra bills i uncur by doing paid labor. it’s like the simple solution to having more than one kid – the mom stays home because it would take all she could make just for childcare. at a certain point, you can’t afford to work because of the hidden costs.
i’m going back to my analogy of the quantum videogame to the occupy movement. quantum effects begin in the realworld. they go unregarded by most, but certain watchful elements are freaked out and start screaming in the ears of the powerful that this is a really urgent threat. the powers that be have enough problems, and ignore these early warnings. shit continues to happen as a result of the game, and the warnings spread and grow more shrill. when more shit happens, the media pick it up, and suddenly regular people feel threatened, and call for the powerful to do something to protect them from this evil menace. so leaders are arrested and made examples of. laws are passed. sympathizers protest, and troops are called out to restore order, which means more sympathizers, etc, escalating right up to pantomime proportions where the powers that be are leaving the country and going underground while mobs rule the streets and the army fights its own people. all the while, the evils of quantum are pounded into peoples’ heads, and those who use quantum are demonized, and punishments are bizarre, and neither side can talk to the other at all, and families turn against each other and civil war breaks out with one side having all the weapons and the other side having the weight of numbers.
i can’t get any more specific than that. i have an emotional block i can only sense. i’m going to have to get really specific about all this repression and struggle, down to the level of characters and named and faced Thems. like in the moon is a harsh mistress, a reworking of the 18th century revolutionary war. whereas at the moment i sound like a conspiracy theorist.
it’s just a tiny little quantum change in the realworld. it starts when the testers are on level 1 fucking with the arcade game settings. they are minute settings, but some instrument somewhere registers a whole bunch of realworld anomalies. like maybe a satellite somewhere out in space collects a bunch of different measurements of the weight of the earth. some unique measurement, anyway. how many satellites are out there measuring the earth’s mass? can’t be that many. or maybe a whole bunch of sensors detect a wild fluctuation in the visible light spectrum. something.
it takes a few tiny little things in a few different areas to freak people out. maybe at first they think it’s an effect coming from the sun, like a solar storm. or massive instrument error. or massive human error. or maybe it’s the core of the planet suddenly hiccoughing. but then they realize that it’s happening to everything, everywhere, and that in fact it’s fucking with the fabric of the universe in a perhaps permanent nonzero way.
maybe one day the sun pulsates with the rhythm of something kurt’s listening to on his headphones while he’s working in the quantum kernel.
quantum effects on the macro level, maybe computer calculations start coming back with multiple answers, nonconsistent answers, quantum possibilities forced by classical mechanics to show up as consecutive different answers, so you could add 2+2 and keep coming up with different answers. that would screw things up immediately. there wouldn’t be a computer around that could cope with that for more than a few operations, say a tenth of a second. we’d have to leave that for the end, i think.
it’s only after the public is exposed to kurt’s face in the clouds that the authorities admit there’s anything going on.
the boy and girl are busy making the game and putting all their quantum energy into making the game real. so they don’t generate any quantum effects in the realworld. kurt generates fleeting but definite effects when he’s working in the kernel, before it’s locked down and he dies. the alpha testers start creating weak effects as they learn the game’s quantum techniques, but these are baby steps and very local. however, it’s enough to have watchers notice them at dragoncon. the testers notice the effects, think they are side-effects of gameplay, and only report them in the bug database. the beta testers notice the effects, and assume they’re part of the game experience. their quantum skills add to the effects the other testers are creating, and the notice is much sharper and more organized among the watchers. the players notice the effects and begin to use them openly in their everyday lives, exulting in their quantum skills. this is what freaks Them out.
the joyful use of sticks of dynamite by babies. that’s why snake’s religion has so much purchase in the game, even the players are freaked out by their own quantum powers. they believe it’s too dangerous for individuals to use, and think it should be owned by an elite few who can use it for everybody. or so. and this is really crazy, because they’re in the game learning quantum skills to be used by all, and insist on locking it up for the use of a few, even in the game.
but people are like that. like my ex, over the other evening, who insisted that there is only one reality out there, and that at best, subjective reality is in error particularly because it differs according to one’s reference frame. there is no relative reality, he insisted. but quantum physics says there is, and quantum physics works in our everyday world. your gps isn’t in error, is it? but he ignored my arguments and called me arch.
so even among otherwise hip, reasonable people, you have this instinctive insistence that there is one right way, arguing for a punishing daddy god right out of the box. you have to drag people kicking and screaming into being their own god. most will willingly play god in a videogame, but suggest that they can live their own reality and they will scoff. we do of course all live our own realities, and that’s why our memories of the exact same events will be markedly different from one another. we call it subjective, and dismiss it as a lie our minds play on us. but quantum physics suggests that these are actually different universes that we are remembering and that there’s nothing wrong with our minds. we just need to learn to trust our own selves. and who can do that, really? who isn’t full of doubt really should be, and saints have the most doubts of all. imagine how doubtful god is, especially if there’s only one? if we’re all god, then we can talk it out and come to a consensus about reality, but who’s going to say there’s one right reality when we’re all god? which of us has the one reality that the others are supposed to acknowledge?
this of course is why there’s only one god in the classical system. because it’s easier. there’d be endless argument about when the sun was going to come up if we all pitched in. but this kind of classical view breaks down as we move from babyhood to something approaching adolescence as a species. we learn to think outside our little heads, to experience wider reality, which isn’t as nice and orderly as classical physics would have us believe, and works a lot more on individual levels than anybody’s comfortable with.
except kids growing up with it. and that’s why the change from classical consciousness to quantum consciousness is inevitable. because the old order just fucking dies out. it won’t change. classical realists will never give up thinking there’s one god and it happens to be their god, and everybody else is going to hell. but to quantum realists, they just look calcified and flattened. and not part of the consensus, which is the reality.