A relationship horoscope

Aries

There are abandoned cities where everyone left because the reason for having a city in that location disappeared. At no point were there an official decision to abandon the town; for a myriad of small reasons, all local and rational, everyone just left, one by one, until only the buildings remained. So too with your relationship – it just might be time to let go

Taurus

In the long run, your aversion towards hurting others will cause exponentially more pain and suffering than being the straightforward, unequivocal jerk you fear to be could ever inflict

Gemini

Ask not for whom the bell tolls. You do not know them, and they will only remain happily married for so long anyway

Cancer

Love is not something you have but something you do, and you do it in such excess that poems should be written about it

Leo

You will find someone with whom you will say “this is life, and we are doing it, right now”

Virgo

Cats will gravitate towards you

Libra

As society becomes an ever more entangled mess of interlocking systems, each with their own internal logics and tendencies, the individual ever so gradually becomes of secondary importance. You, on the other hand, are the kind of person who do not shy away from hacking international supply chains to give your sweetheart the perfect Valentine’s gift

Scorpio

She dreamt she was a bulldozer, she dreamt she was alone in an empty field

Sagittarius

The contradictory and incomprehensible rituals of modern dating have so overwritten your notion of what it means to get into a relationship, that you have in essence giving up all hope on ever finding someone. This resignation, writ large, has profound effects on the real estate market

Capricorn

Things just might become easier if you give up the distinction between vaporwave and the things it ostensibly remembers; memory – like love – being something you do rather than have

Aquarius

Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face?

Pisces

Just remember to fall in love. There’s nothing else

100% cat

Here sits Jaspers
regal of bearing
proud of stature
listening to things beyond hearing
cat from head to tail

Here loafs Jaspers
legs tucked away
all snug and comfortable
pondering the day
cat from head to tail

Here flomps Jaspers
belly for all to see
petted and rub’d
that’s what he wants to be
cat from head to tail

Terminal velocity

She liked to listen to podcasts. Specifically, she liked to load up a gazillion episodes on an ancient, barely digital mp3 player and walk around the cityscape with voices talking in her ear. Sometimes, they said interesting things, but most of the time they were just good company – friends and travel companions in a handy, portable package.

Until one day, when she was in a hurry to get out the door, and forgot it.

Being in a hurry is a strange state of mind. You miss things you’d see in a non-hurried state, and conversely notice things you’d not otherwise notice. This particular day, she was in a state beyond hurried – the need for speed was worthy of an ancient Greek poem suddenly being rediscovered in a forgotten monastery. As she arrived at her destination, her hurried self was mostly on autopilot, and thus reached for the off button on her mp3 player. It was not there, but being partly metaphysical at this point, she pressed it anyway. Through some unknown means, she had reached through to the control panel of her universe, managing to – through the pressing of one single stop button – bring her internal monologue to an end.

The most secret society of them all

Since we have recently been asked about this a number of times from very different groups of people, it seems prudent to add an answer to this FAQ. The question in question is:

Why are your secret teachings – the most secret of all secret texts – for sale on Amazon and other online places of commerce?

There are many reasons for this, but the two most important reasons are logistics and the nature of epistemology in modern society. The logistical angle is quite straightforward. Passing secret texts around in secluded secrecy is quite time consuming and labor intensive, and some of our chapters found that they did little else than to find ways and means to discreetly transport things back and forth. Meanwhile, Amazon and those other stores already send packages to just about everywhere, so someone receiving yet another package is basically as mundane and ordinary as it ever could be. Basically, it means less work for us, with a slightly higher rate of anonymity for our members.

As to the nature of epistemology in modern society, it basically comes down to two things: no one believes anything anymore, and there is so much of everything that even those who believe don’t know what to believe in particular. As we learned in the early days of our movement, shouting out the revealed truth in the streets did not open the eyes and hearts of those who listened. Rather, they were quite annoyed by the whole ordeal, and wished to avoid further contact. The same principle also applies on a larger scale: the safest way to get someone to ignore what you have to say is to communicate it straightforwardly in a direct fashion. To outsiders, our teachings seem like so much mumbo-jumbo they’ve seen elsewhere, and they just can’t be bothered to care about it. Therefore, putting our teachings out there available for anyone to peruse ironically means that no one will actually make the effort to do so. Our secrets will, for all intents and purposes, remain secret.

There are other reasons, but they all more or less come back to these two main points. We hope that you are, if only ever so slightly, more enlightened by this answer.

A meta-horoscope

Aries

A cute person will tell you their sign. You will scare them off by telling them that you do not believe in either signs or introductory small talk

Taurus

You will find yourself reading a horoscope for the first time in years.  This will be a strange new experience

Gemini

A prediction will come true. Make it a good one

Cancer

A prediction will fail to manifest. Fortunately, you are a pessimist

Leo

You will tell someone your sign, and they will brush you off. It wasn’t meant to be

Virgo

You do not believe in the stars. Then again, the amount of data is so overwhelming and so utterly out of proportion to the human capability to process, that sometimes the rational choice is to just wing it, lest you be indefinitely paralyzed by indecision

Libra

Cats will gravitate towards you

Scorpio

You have survived an immense amount of bullshit, and do not need vague horoscope predictions

Sagittarius

You dreamt that you would read these very words at this very moment. It is a very strange confluence of events

Capricorn

You will hear someone tell someone else their sign, only to be rudely brushed off. This is your moment

Aquarius

That one song will finally be out of your head

Pisces

For every person, there is an equal and opposite person. Except for you. Your opposites have clearly gone for quantity over quality

Community service

And so it came to pass that the local municipality set out to discover exactly why its young members harbored such anti-police sentiments. Being good social scientists, they employed a wide range of methods, from interview to surveys to participant observation. It was a very large and – for purposes of efficacy – unannounced study, working so far as it could in the shadow of ordinary everyday uneventfulness. Some concerns about ethics were raised, but largely ignored due to the severity of the situation.

As the results came in, several themes emerged. Or, rather, one major theme and a few supporting side themes all relating back to the major theme. As it happened, the results all pointed towards one thing: the youths were all radicalized against the police by having one time or another – more often than not several – been beaten up for no discernable reason by these very same police officers. The study controlled for a number of other variables – communist propaganda, violent subcultures, computer games, violent subcultures using computer games as their primary recruitment tool, poverty, family relations, gender, class, and so on – but even after extensive quantitative analysis, police-initiated violence stood out as the main factor.

Of particular note is the team engaging in participatory observation, who displayed a marked increase in anti-police sentiments after having suddenly found themselves on the business end of a police raid. Whether this is a significant find or a methodological problem is an open question. They did, however, write an extended analysis of a particular incident: a youth on his way to school being suddenly beaten up by a police officer, deciding to attend anyway despite the bruises, only to be beaten up by a different police officer a few minutes later.

Upon publication of the report, the local police were asked to give a comment on these findings. They did not.

It is your destiny

“Hmm, oh, yes, of course” she mumbled.

The insight that had stumbled upon her just prior to this mumble was based on the follow chain of events:

In the Golden Age of comics, there had been a limited run of a particular comic where a rather peculiar phrase occurred. No one had taken any notice of this for decades, until it very randomly was mentioned in a podcast by someone who read that very comic as a child, and came to think of it a propos of something completely different. Given that this was a rather small podcast, it had garnered absolutely no attention whatsoever, until someone browsed the archives five years after the last episode was published. From there, the phrase had made its way into a blog post about differences in intertextual practices then and now. Three years later, the tenth reader of that blog post picked up on the phrase, and used it at a local party. By serendipitous happenstance, the writer for an upcoming movie adaptation of that very comic franchise was there, and heard the phrase in action. A short while later, the phrase was included in the movie, and subsequently used in memes all over the internet.

Upon taking in this chain of events, she had intuitively understood that this was the only way the letter could have arrived. While impossible to predict beforehand, retroactively it was equally impossible not to have happened this way.

A cry for help

“Welcome to the support helpline. How can I be of assistance?”

“How could this happen to me

I made my mistakes

I’ve got no where to run

The night goes on”

“Sir, I understand that you are upset about whatever happened to your computer, but if you could please be a little more specific in your explanation of the problem”

“I open my eyes

I try to see but I’m blinded by the white light

I can’t remember how

I can’t remember why

I’m lying here tonight”

“I see. Can you describe the problem in more detail? Which part of your computer seems to be broken?”

“And I can’t stand the pain

And I can’t make it go away

No I can’t stand the pain”

“Is it that your monitor is too bright? Is that it?”

“Yeah, that’s it. It hurts my eyes”

“I see. There is a thing called night mode. Have you tried activating it?”

“Holy moly, it works wonders. Thanks!”

“You’re welcome”

“…can I sing the rest of the song?”

“Please don’t”

“Okay. Have a nice day. And thanks again!”

Reverse impostor syndrome

He was in quite a predicament.

By all accounts, he was the most successful musician in the world. Album sales were through the roofs, concerts somehow sold out even before the tickets were released, and scarcely a month went by without him on the covers of this or that celebrity gossip rag. By all reasonable standards of measure, he was the thing.

Problem was. He had no idea how to play the instruments he was ostensibly performing. Worse, all attempts to learn were actively discouraged by means of busy scheduling and public imagery. He could not be seen (or worse, heard) practicing at his actual skill levels, and he was at all times surrounded by people whose approval his career needed. The one time he actually found time to practice, he was walked in on by accident, and had to do some fast talking (and startled autograph signage) in order to cover up the whole ordeal. At no point did he actually have an opportunity to learn the things he was supposed to know.

Every month, he received more awards and more notoriety, and every month, he became more and more disconcerted by the whole thing. He contemplated just telling everyone, honesty being a virtue, but his manager had an uncanny knack of reminding him of the positive impact he had on youngsters everywhere. There even was a special pile of letters, from people contemplating suicide but changing their mind after listening to this or that song. It had accumulated to quite a pile.

A predicament it was indeed.

Competitive cost/benefit analysis

He had a problem. Or, rather, something more akin to a nuisance. His job was to oversee the logistics of moving stuff to and fro, and a non-trivial amount of this moving happened by means of containers. Most of these containers were full, but some were not. Some were definitely not full, and incurred the administrative fee levied on containers containing less than a certain amount of stuff.

His first solution was to encourage the marketing people to up their marketing efforts. More stuff in motion meant more stuff to cram into those not-quite full containers, after all. After an unfortunate series of misunderstandings, he and the marketing folks reached a mutual understanding that there would never be a need to talk about anything at all ever again.

His second solution was more indirect. Instead of moving more of the company’s stuff, he arranged to move other people’s stuff. Specifically, he would pay them to fill the available container space where there was a risk of incurring the dreaded (and outrageously disproportionate) administrative fee. This would incur a non-zero cost, to be sure, but it would be substantially less than the fee, so the result would overall be a net positive.

To his surprise, and to the dismay of the marketing people, this turned out to be a widely popular service. Customers showed up left and right to move single items that otherwise would cost a small fortune to ship. For some thirty-odd months or so, he was the only logistical administrator to not incur a single fee, and was suitably commended for it. Profits were made, and everyone involved (except the marketing folks) liked the status quo.

Then, disaster struck.

Due to a glitch in the system, he ended up with an empty container. Due to it being a particularly busy day, he did not have time to look too closely at what cargo the company was shipping. His eyes were fully focused on the quota needed to avoid the fee, and boy did he avoid that fee. In a fit of administrative and logistical prowess never seen before or since, he managed to fill the whole container with miscellanea, and have everyone paid as per usual.

The company was not pleased at finding that it had paid twice to ship an entire container of other people’s stuff for no reason or profit whatsoever.