To boldly watch

One day, a portal to another dimension was discovered. Unlike the shiny, glowy portals of Canadian science fiction television, this portal was slightly less obvious. In fact, it was open for years and years before anyone even noticed. It is, all things considered, a very specific portal.

The exact nature of this portal is still unknown, but its effects are well understood. If your wifi router is properly configured and placed in accordance with very strict feng shui principles, it can receive youtube videos from another dimension.

This fact contributed heavily towards the portal remaining undiscovered for such a long time. This other dimension is very similar to our own, and since it contains people we already know, seeing them again mostly only result in a mild reaction of “oh hey, I know that guy, I didn’t know he did youtubes now, huh”.

The discovery – if that is the word for it – was made one day when someone stumbled upon themselves in youtube format. Not being a youtube person himself, he first tried to figure out who this impostor was, and (more importantly) why the choice fell to imitate him rather than literally anyone else. Upon closer inspection, all evidence pointed towards it in fact being him – he knew things he could not have known otherwise, and his implicit fashion advice turned out to be stunningly accurate.

A more technical analysis revealed that there were no youtube account with the name provided under the video, and had never been. Not just for this person, but also for several others who suddenly found themselves. There was no explaining it. Yet there it was, in all its alternate glory, telling the world what it might have been, had things taken an ever so slightly different turn.

The aftermath of this discovery has been animate enthusiasm amongst theoretical physicists, science fiction authors and headline writers. An alternate dimension! Imagine the possibilities! Most people, however, only do a cursory search for their alternate selves, just to see if they’re out there.

Turns out, the alternate dimension has a killer fashion sense, and it is rubbing off.

Rational countersurveillance

Suddenly, a mail arrived. It was from a company, detailing all the various ways they use and have been using data collected, past and present. Specifically, it detailed the ways in which this data had been collected: which vectors, which methods and, with surprising granularity, which apps. The mail also included a form contract which, when broken down to its base components, involved the following: a checkbox labelled “I approve the use of the methodologies described herein”, and a place where a signature could be conveniently written.

Reading through the list of surveillance methods, he began to notice something very irregular. For one, it went over in great detail everything gleaned about his life in personality through his smart phone usage. While on a general level he supposed this might be a good way to go about these things, it was ever so slightly compounded by the fact that he did not have a phone even remotely approaching the evolutionary tendency towards intelligence. Thus, the information gathered – and the conclusions made from it – painted a picture of a completely different person than himself. Combined with the fact that the general impression overall seemed to be so out of touch with reality as to constitute speculative fiction, he did the only rational thing he could think of:

He signed the form and sent it in.

Print me a picture

It was supposed to be just another day at the office. Mindless processing would commence, the reasons for which were utterly unknown, but which ostensibly made someone somewhere enough profit to pay everyone in the process. The less the process was questioned, the more pay it seemed to generate, and so it continued. Another day at the office, one at a time.

Until this day.

This day, the printers started to act weirdly. Not an infrequent or uncommon occurrence, to be sure, But rather than merely stop running for inexplicable reasons after having worked perfectly for months, or suddenly deciding that the one operating system they were explicitly built for was unsupported, this time it was strange for real. Really strange.

Instead of graphs, spreadsheets and utterly standardized form letters, the printers started printing short stories and excerpts from books about seemingly random topics. At first, it was assumed that someone merely needed something printed for extracurricular activities – a frowned upon but discreetly accepted practice and/or office perk. However, upon closer inspection, it turned out the instructions to print these things did not originate from any computer in the office. Moreover, they did not originate from any computer anywhere. One of the technicians joked that they seemed to come from within the printer itself. Like some sort of daydream.

But that could not be.

Do printers really dream about library cataloguing systems and highly technical DnD campaign specs?

The beat goes boom boom boom

The aliens could not have picked a worse week to invade. Ironically, everything went wrong because everything went exactly as planned. The giant warships appeared unannounced in the sky one day, doing nothing but gathering data for the upcoming assault. Humanity, being in shock, did not attack these warships, on the off-chance these utterly armed machines of war came in peace. Then, after enough information had been gathered, the invasion began. Humanity was defenseless against the psionic assaults, and most surrendered without firing a single shot. In the annals of planetary conquests, this was one of the neater ones.

Until the aliens stopped to think about it, and about what they had conquered. And, being psionic, about what those they had conquered had thought about.

The weeks prior to the attack, a new genre of music had swept the world off its feet, gathering massive amounts of people dancing in the streets. It was not known then, but this genre was the closest humanity could come to a psionic virus at its current technological level. As the aliens surveyed what they had conquered, so too did they listen to these beats. To say that it made their heads explode would be an overstatement, but they did suffer greatly before dying.

Needless to say, global art spending and investments increased manifold over the coming decades.

The Plato-Industrial Complex

The deadline loomed, and he had no idea what to write. There had to be something, some unexpected angle, some unexplored nook, some unexamined cranny. Something.

His latest idea had turned out to be done already in 1993. His initial thought was to do it anyway, in the hope that no one would notice, but it turned out that someone else already did that too in 2009, and by unspoken agreement this was too recent to politely ignore. It would have to be something else.

At this point, just about every possible take on Plato had been performed. Every surviving scrap of papyrus had a book (some in paperback) about it, and every one of those had an accompanying book detailing how it was problematic. A while back the daring proposition that Plato did not in fact exist had caused sufficient stir to fuel the fires of new publication for a decade or so, but it too could not last forever. Turned out that if Plato did not exist, history would have to invent him in order to make sense.

Hold up. There’s a thought.

And thus, he set to work writing a new lost Platonic dialogue, something to keep his profession alive for a few more years.

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