I own a little cottage on the coast of France. "Which coast?" you ask, and well you might. I might too, since I don't know.
It was a bargain back when the family fell off a hay cart and were chased off by the caravan's mastiff. By bargain, I mean free, as it had clearly been vacant for three generations of foxes.
I've never understood the need to own land. Of course I feel the compulsion, which you surely understand in your bones. But a cottage that occupies 40 paces by 20 paces is much smaller than the sky, and looking up on a clear night, I know exactly how long the word "own" applies.
Teetering stacks of hay lean against the trees all around, shoring up the family's wall of silence. My cottage is so small, so quiet, and so unremarkably located, I sometimes think it is a proof of existence. If you can believe it, a proof disappears when nobody knows. Regardless of the facts.
I need an iPhone that has a tiny hand, no more than an inch long. The hand should extend on a thin rod, and the phone's camera should track my hand to control the iHandi fingers. No boxing should be supported. I need to pick up increasingly tiny pebbles, dust, soot, and germs. Force-feedback should prevent unintended crushing of desirable germs. After I inject bluetooth pellets throughout my graymatter, I won't need the camera.
I need a Hummer that has a large hand, no less than a kilometer long. The hand should be supported by four pyramids the size of Cheops, and should extend into low earth orbit on antimatter beams from the Large Hadron Collider. The large hand will be controlled by the tiny hand after I have sufficient bluetooth coordination. I will drive the pyramids to the location of my orbital tests. Again, no boxing should be supported, but I do intend to catch asteroids so it must be tough. Preferably made of political opinion so that once made, it cannot be dented.
With my new articulations I will not rule the world. I'll just mess with it. Technology should support tradition.
I never mastered the art of illusion. Never even apprenticed, really. Or is the real me faking off and I wouldn't know? Only my hairdresser knows for sure.
Once I was on the bow of a boat skimming a glass river. The wind in my ears played the Star Spangled Banner, stopping partway through for me to turn my head. I never knew which band it was, but I figured out the wind section has all the tunes. Just grab a noisy chunk of entropy and carve away anything that isn't your song.
The ratio in our neighborhood has shifted noticeably towards the songbird part of the spectrum over the past month.
We went a year or two mostly skies of drifting black spots and no intricate trills in the morning back yard.
I don't know the ecosystem's motive, but I'd prefer it stays this way. When you hear so much bird language, it lends perspective to the intricacy of the daily political news.
No disrespect to crows. Seems like good evolution there, and I appreciate function's form.
It is never calculated the way you might think.
First of all, it's never singular. They prefer multiple twists of fate. They have a trajectory even when you think they stopped.
Second, let's just say they are embedded in a different spacetime. By which I mean "Each one of them." So they create different laws of curvature unto themselves.
All you have to do is read between the curves.
It is today. It is today, 2009. You are reading this using a computer. You are right there reading. You have a keyboard.
How can you not write what you think? How can you not learn what somebody else thinks?
What holds you back? Are you worried someone will learn what you think?
What do you think?
I think you are probably a good person. See, that is part of me, right there where you can see it. I say it is a moral statement, because it is about whether you and I agree what is right. It is also about whether you may tend to do the right things, good things, where people have agreed some actions are "good."
I do not think you are like me. That is also moral. We are similar - genes, many thoughts, many feelings - but we disagree on certain issues. List all the hot buttons: racism, abortion, war, religion, the future, the past. We disagree somewhere. So what? If you do not write what you think, I will never know.
Though you are probably good, you may have done wrong things. Because you are everybody. That is what "everybody" means. I hope you know this word.
Though you are like me, you may not like me. That is different. Morals are not feelings. Morals are about your position: you are standing on a small hill, looking around at the fields, buildings, trees, birds. You see them but they don't see you. You see people, and they see you. What do you say to them? What comments do you make to yourself?
I am an invisible particle like yourself. We float on the surface of a ground, on a planet, near a star, far from a massive scary hole in space. Many holes in space have collected stars, and planets, and grounds.
What is moral is not the ground. It is you, and me, and people like us.
Alfred hammered nails into his desk until the entire codebase was built. "Wham," he said softly to his hammer, peering at the round flat interface between metal mass and tiny nail. There were no marks. It was hard like solid, not hard like complicated.
"Hey, Allo-man, what's breaking?" said Clif from outside the cubicle. He kept his hands in the pockets, not touching any of the buttons on the cube entrance. All were labeled "Push me" but they'd seen no recent action.
"Good," thought Alfred, "He knows the value of distance. Most people in his position only see the value of direction. Vectors with half missing." He waved the hammer hello at Clif. Back to his "computer" or "thing where little lights put on a play, acting the parts of informations."
Clif wandered away towards coffee. It was a law like gravity or sleeping.
Alfred put down the hammer and picked up his keyboard. "If I type at three hundred words per minute, not stopping for punctuation, how much more could I get done?"
Gene next door said, "Huh?" But Alfred had not been aloud as far as he knew.
Alfred typed and typed. Furiously typed typed typed. After a few screens of it, he lifted his eyelids and considered the world at large. Resumed high velocity ejection of words and symbols, function calls, local variables and logical intricates. At a point, he wondered about coffee. It was askew, feeling the world with its 23 degree tilt, or chromosome count, or a combination of the two.
Alfred dropped his keyboard on the desk with a whack. Definitely too plastic. Got to glue some metal on the bottom, possibly dance taps.
He wasn't really paying attention then, or the rest of the day. In his daydream, he had created a system of interactive human emotions, sent from your screen to your friend's, with minor delays for analysis and auto-tags. He had lifted your life above morning concerns, flying you above day-ending relief to splash endless waves into the soft shores of sleep.
In reality it seemed like a database program to others. But it was so hard to tell them what they knew, and framing it as quite rectangular normalcy was the only way to cause progress. The only quiet way. Alfred was quiet, after all. And when he sent the network through the system itself, the result was not exactly a thing of will, but it did stay quiet for its own reasons.
At first glance, the API doc says the method name as "sortOf".
As I finish the program, I picture a broad plain of steel boxes, each containing a Knuth. Some Knuths watch a Geiger counter that produces a monotonically sorted sequence of integers. Some Knuths watch a sortOf'd list that mostly increases (fizzy monotonic).
The handles on the set of all box lids are grasped by every possible Schrodinger. On a few boxes he is rolling dice with his other hand. At many others the box lid is already off, and the reek of rotten algorithms and if-then-else'd Knuths spreads, convincing some nearby Schrodingers to flee holding their lids, others to calmly walk away and leave their waves uncollapsed.
An arbitrary number of Knuths walk away from their boxes, each claiming the key realization.
How much faster is a sortOf algorithm than the fascist monotone?
Self-timed asynchronous circuits we are, multi-stable, full of maxima until the last one impedes its successors forever. Look in your ancestors' pictures and ask them yourself. They'll tell you, in a way.
Up on the fence post beside the latest shreds of fur rubbed off by Cow in her pursuit of happiness, the mosquitoes were having a ten second strategy roundtable to work on their next food runs.
"I have never worked a day in my life," said Harry. "And I never will. Just don't believe in it. Did you find any water today?"
"Bernice was down by the cow pond," said Valery. "You look so plump and juicy I could go cannibal in a country second."
"Anyway," said Tom, who was always the most practical, "I only have another day or so to live, so I'm off to The House to find any kids playing in the yard. The yard is the safest place for them, I say. If I don't see you guys, remember to keep the pointy end towards food." Off he flew, gray ninja of the air, fighting the evil forces of wind.
They chatted for the rest of the ten seconds about the slowdown in the economy, and the nice surge in people at the nearby campground. They split up when Samuel made a tiny twitch and fell off the post, stone dry dead.
"Yeah, good meeting!"
The surprising thing is not that they all liked their meetings so much. It was that they got so much done without a scheduling application.
In the corner office, a swarm of children slaps paint all over the windows one palm at a time. Floor to ceiling, a stretch standing on the chairs and little jumps. The light inside is pastel, shades of a cathedral's stained glass, autumn leaves in the breeze.
Soon the kids are gone. New colors flow onto the business's logo, all the business cards, and the company website. Once you've seen it, the colors are not lost. Orange, pink, blue, green hands cover it all. You'll remember.