Ladies and gentlemen, the result was inevitable in a way. It all turned on a subtle shift of perspective. Then, what was an impossible problem to resolve, one beyond the mechanical geniuses of the age, became the axis around which a new society, a completely new range of possibilities developed. I am, of course, referring to atomic power, the awesome power which had become both the hope and despair of mankind for about eighty years. Gradually it became evident that solar energy was a wild goose chase since inevitably the number of necessary crystal prisms geometrically increased as its application widened and finally moved towards infinity, whereas atomic energy, as one poet called "this most domestic of energy sources," was all around us, in our rooms, in the table on which we wrote, in the ever active molecules of our body, a thumbful of which could light a city, a roomful of which could light a country for a year, if only this infinity of matter did not release undue problems in its disintegration, like a wild child, the taming of which became the challenge of the age; yet, this energy couldn't be tamed; rather, it could be tamed but not made safe. Of course, through arduous work the margin of accident decreased. From 10% it came down to 3% to 1%, to 1/10th of a percent, 1/60, 1/90th of a percent; but still the ultimate certainty could never be achieved and the uncontrolled raging power released at that unlikely moment was so great that the risks were unacceptable; of course, some dreamers, mere theoreticians, pushed that margin of error lower and lower to the esoteric regions of 1/150th and 1/200th of a percent where the risks would be acceptable; but the procedures necessary to bury that possibility of error were so vast that they made it economically impractical.
It was at this moment that Watson Crickshaw's name appears in relation to one of the pivotal events in the consciousness of mankind. Of course, conditions were ripe for his intellectual leap but the suspicion with which his engineer colleagues regarded him, dismissed his second rate training, mocked his indolence in research, show still how much he was a revolutionary, beyond the perceptions of his age. His initial axiom was simple and to us, in retrospect, dazzlingly inevitable. In the disintegration of atom, perfect safety is impossible. Any attempt to achieve it only delays the final accident (accident only in the popular sense since its advent is inevitable) and, creating an illusion of safety and stretching it into the future, places it beyond man's control, whereas once the inevitability of accidents (he termed them disequilibrium disruptions) is established, its timing can be controlled; it can be made to occur in a specific time, in one day, in three hours, in three years, in five years, in fifty years, etc., etc. This is the First Principle of Disruptive Inevitability. Then, Crickshaw took his second revolutionary step by applying his principle to automobiles. Crickshaw's automobile is a vehicle run by atomic energy with a pre-determined life span at the end of which it self-destructs, or self-disrupts, destroying everything inside itself but with negligible effect on its surroundings. The life span of a given car is, as you well know ladies and gentlemen, completely unknown, from one day to a hundred years, and the disruption can occur while the car is in motion or in a static state and any surviving owner of a self-destroyed car can buy another car, and this process can go on indefinitely. The far reaching consequences of this invention were not at first apparent and many first thought it was a joke and named it Crickshaw's bus.
As I said yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, the compelling genius of the idea was not apparent at first, the fact that Crickshaw's car attacks the major energy need of a society, mainly transportation, and consequently frees the other sources of energy to be applied to heavier, more industrial uses; therefore it creates an essentially safe environment and releases the creative energies of a nation to concentrate on the questions of health and longevity. It is as a result of Watson Crickshaw's idea, my dear children, that every member of our society can live now a healthy, youthful life, without the debilitating effects of old age, until the day he finds himself inside one of Crickshaw's vehicles during its disintegration; but the real power of Crickshaw's idea is more subtle and only in the last thirty years has our society begun to understand its meaning. Crickshaw's bus acts as an invisible hand, a supremely democratic tool that balances the conflicting forces of a society and helps society respond to its needs. First of all, it induces people to be more efficient, "don't take two trips when one will do," which, after all, is the very essence of efficiency. Second, it induces them to live closer, which had become an absolute necessity with a population of 18 billion. An increase in population required habitations further away from the work center and therefore entailed a decrease in life expectancy. Leisure travel became the greatest of luxuries only undertaken in periods of euphoria about one's well being.
Interestingly, the records of the introduction of Crickshaw's car into our society are unclear, partly due to a five to seven year gap in documentation, and partly corresponding to Pure Democrats' coming to power sixty years ago. For fifteen years prior to that, Crickshaw and his supporters consisted of a vocal, active, nevertheless fringe, political group. Crickshaw was called "that third rate scientist, crack-pot engineer" by his detractors. His supporters, that resourceful, courageous group of visionaries, were contemptuously called fanatics, "bus people," and were systematically maligned and pelted, yes even pelted, every time they tried to organize and explain their ideas.
Nevertheless, how this handful of people formed the Pure Democrats Party is part of our history, though some details of it are still obscure because of the burning of their archival office in Washington by their enemies during those years. It is enough to say that Pure Democrats' grip of power coincided with the greatest economic crisis in our history, when the country couldn't afford to produce its loaf of bread or feed its hungry children, and by the time they were firmly established they had full control of the automobile industry of the country and began a mammoth effort to produce Crickshaw's cars and eliminate all other sorts of automobile production; because, don't forget ladies and gentlemen, the concept of Crickshaw's car is not valid unless its application complete. Who would accept to step into such a car if another alternative is in front of him? Some heads might have been cracked, some blood might have been spilled in the process; but that is the way of history.
It still took several years before the country began to realize the essential democracy of this vehicle, that it was the only means that enabled the old institutions to survive the crisis in which the country found itself. Tranquility, social equilibrium gradually returned. The pejorative term, Crickshaw's bus, partly because of its oriental associations, was officially abolished and replaced by the term, automic pile, which Crickshaw used to refer to his invention in his major book, Principles of Radical Disruption.
Of course, the first decade of its establishment Pure Democrats' Party was far from the peaceful, monolithic structure that appears to us from the telescope of history. There were numerous factions, splits, heretical movements. For example, Mr. Mendes, who called himself a populist, asked why should the life span of an automic pile be secret. The exact disintegration date of each automic pile should be given so that a person may avoid being in it at the moment of its disruption. We have only a few minutes left, ladies and gentlemen. See if you can come up with answers against Mr. Mendes's argument.
Lowry Bobson present Turn Campaign present Mary Delius present Mike Depaw present Watson Levy disrupted John Masters present Haynes Martinelli absent. (gosh is he disrupted too. Of course Mr. Martinelli has a tendency to be late, since, I hear, he prefers to walk to work.) John Megosa present Hans Reagan present Susannah Richie present Home Spark present Sekura Tukogu present David Turnsten present Chuck Zift present
As I said yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Mendes, who called himself a populist, asked why should the life span of an automic pile be secret. The exact date of the disintegration of each automic pile should be given so that a person may avoid being in it at the moment of its disruption. Crickshaw had already died during the wars of transition. It is at this moment that a concept casually mentioned in his book by Crickshaw, the bias disequilibrium factor, becomes of prime importance. The concept has to do with the radioactivity emitted by an automic pile during the instant of its disruption. Crickshaw states that the radioactivity remains below a danger level only if the emissions occur at random and are evenly distributed. The bias disequilibrium factor claims that foreknowledge predisposes the owners to junk the cars at similar places, for example, intuitively away from their homes and, therefore, destroys the randomness and raises the radioactivity above the danger level. The existence of such a factor was vehemently disputed in some cliques, who claimed that it was invented by the government to control, to keep its thumb on the populace, even that by now people had become immune to low dosages of radiation and didn't have to fear it; but the issue was theoretical since an experiment could never be carried out, a large enough sample group could not be told the disruption moment of their piles and the resultant consequences observed. Finally, the issue was settled through a mathematical model built by a government grant, entitled "The Principles of Scattered Inuendos in Polyfacial Equations," which proved once and for all that the bias disequilibrium factor does exist. Mr. Mendes died in an automic disruption soon after that and after his death the power of the movement dwindled.
Following that initial dispute, which in our history is called generically the Mendes Heresy Debates, only one crucial question had to be settled. Who decides the disruption age of each automic pile, and who knows about it? From the beginning there was general agreement that this point could not be left solely in the hands of automic pile manufacturers. They would tend to build piles with as short a time span as possible to maximize their profits. This would create panic and chaos among the people beyond the beneficial effects of the whole enterprise. Still some neo-purists, descendants of Pure Democrats, believed that even then government intervention was undesirable. The automic pile manufacturers would realize quickly enough the counterproductive effect of their policy and increase the life span of their vehicles to draw back customers. The guiding hand of the market should be trusted; but, after a series of debates - see, Intervention Papers, Pros and Cons - the principle was established for at least a minimum of government participation. A special board would be formed which would determine annually the aggregate age for all automic piles: four and a half years, five years, seven years, three and two-tenths of a year, etc., etc. If the activity in the population, the degree of its mobility excessively increased, the aggregate age (AG) could be officially lowered, and if human euphoria, economic production became too sluggish, too anxious, the AG could be raised to act as a tonic to human and economic endeavor. Consequently, AG or the general aggregate age (GAG) is the linchpin of social order and human prosperity.
We discussed yesterday the importance of GAG as a social, political and psychological instrument. Now only the fine print of GAG remains. Should the government determine the disruption point of each individual automic pile or only the aggregate age of each model or should one aggregate age (GAG) for all models be enough? Ladies and gentlemen, one can see at this point the origins of our present political system. Descendants of pure democrats, our Watsonian Libertarians, believe that one general aggregate age (GAG) for all models is enough. The rest can be determined by choices in the market place. On the other hand, Booster Rocket Economists (the loyal opposition at this moment in our history) believe in greater fine tuning, that by establishing aggregate ages for each price range model one can control, for example, over expansion, by giving shorter life spans to more expensive cars, or decrease the population of the less-well-to-do by drastically cutting down the life span of the economy models. As a matter of fact, some Boosterists believe that one can gradually achieve a redistribution of income by making the age of the extreme pile models on each side, the very expensive and the very cheap ones, almost prohibitive. The Watsonians of course cry havoc at that believing that an individual's choice of an automic pile and how long he would like to ride it should be in his own hands and the government has no right to discriminate one economic group against another; but, as you know, ladies and gentlemen, politics is not within the purviews of these walls. Suffice it to say, the pendulum swings back and forth. Periods of expansion, of giddy living, are followed by periods of retrenchment and putting the house in order.
On the average, it has been determined that every citizen spends 1/8 of his life in an automic pile. This number 8, called the standard inside constant (SIC), is the norm around which variations upwards and downwards may occur during different cycles of economic and social activity.
Multiply GAG, the general aggregate age of automic piles in a given year, by SIC, standard inside constant, and one gets LEY, life expectancy of a given year. For example, if the general aggregate age of a year is 4 and 1/2, the general life expectancy for that year is:
4 1/2 x 8 = 36 years.
It has been a surprising discovery that SIC is essentially a constant. The time spent by an average citizen in an automic pile is inelastic. GAG has to be moved upwards and downwards very drastically to effect significant variations in the value of 8, particularly in the down direction. The graph designating the relationship between GAG and SIC, the Life Expectancy Graph, is an S tilted 90 degrees with a stretched middle section, very much in the shape of a car seat:
8 S I C GAG life expectancy graph
During the years when boosterists are in power, the general life expectancy of different economic groups could also be calculated by using the aggregate age of different price range pile models for a given year, provided the government at its rise to power declassifies this information, which generally is classified and locked in the archives of manufacturers.
One should realize, in all this, the crucial importance of the division of power, the fountainhead of our moral structure. The Department of Aggregate Age, which determines the yearly aggregate age, should be utterly separate from the manufacturers of automic piles, and those completely separate from the sellers. And, of course, in this the department of core placers, DCP, is absolutely sacrosanct. No one can know the disruption point of a given automic pile. Each vehicle coming out of the department is intact, virgin, an automic pile with a ten minute life span looking exactly the same as the one with a hundred years. The records showing the built-in age of each individual pile are shredded and incinerated. They must be. Collusion among departments is the greatest crime, one act of treason, the rat, attacking the very foundations of our society. Of course, there is one exception to this status. Our president is guaranteed an automic pile surviving the term of his office to insure social stability. In that respect, one can say that the president, during his term of office, is eternal. From your faces, ladies and gentlemen, I can see that you heard rumors that rich people can still buy themselves automic piles with long, pre-determined life spans and that murders, even political ones, are committed under the guise of automic disruptions; but this information is false, an illusion, contributing to the erosion of the moral fiber of our society.
Only a few interesting historical footnotes remain to be clarified. For example, as one knows, to avoid any inconvenience on the road, four seconds prior to its disruption, a red light goes on at the center eye at the back of an automic pile enabling the nearby automic piles to move away and clear the lane for the event. In the early days of automic piles, quite a vocal group of Pure Democrats insisted that a man had the right to know the moment of his annihilation and suggested that the same red light go on inside the pile four seconds before the event and simultaneously have the doors lock themselves automatically to discourage the rider of the car from any notion of last minute escape. The detractors of the idea argued that the person inside the car may act rashly in a moment of desperation, for example, by ramming into another automic pile; but everybody agreed the argument was spurious since so complete and quick was the disruption of the automic pile in question that it would completely melt and disappear before it could arrive at its target. Finally, the Pure Democrats partly won the day, and a compromise was reached. It was decided that the choice should be left to the individual buyer. In those early days models were offered with or without center eyes inside the automic piles and in those models with inside eyes the time span between the lighting of the eye and the disruption was cut from four to three and a half seconds to leave an additional margin of safety against ramming; gradually these models with inside eyes were discontinued because of a lack of significant number of buyers for them.
Every statement must have a counter statement, cancelling each other out. Subliminally, this leads to an erosion of will, an air of defeatism to make the citizen obey. The key is not to let the citizen interfere with the argument. The counterstatement - the logical contradiction - is introduced then elaborated on in its equally involved logic, without missing a beat. For example, GAG, the general aggregate age to regulate the use of automic vehicles, by SIC, the standard inside constant, that is, the amount of time a person spends inside an automic pile is essentially constant.
Initials are very important. As much as possible, they must reflect the psychic state of the citizen towards the facts he is presented with, fear, revulsion, hopelessness, etc.; but they must seem to come out incidentally, out of the pristine logic of the system, therefore being a natural, inevitable part of it.
Here an old horse like Aristotle can have a contemporary application: a subliminal release of frustration to accept reality.
The nature of the information released is more important than the facts. GAG must be maintained on a median level to provide maximum efficiency, to avoid excessive obsolescence of people.
Yet public announcements can be made that GAG is being pushed lower, and the governmental determination be reinforced by announcements in the press of an increase in the number of deaths. Perhaps some in depth features in popular magazines, about some well-known entertainers, for example, being caught in the disruption of their vehicles.
This divorce of public information from facts, which is the essence of anaxomic approach, contains the solution to the problem of keeping a steady actual level of GAG and the inflationary demands of a public addicted, therefore immune, to fear
The committee should pay more attention to the rampant use by our teenagers, even by older people, of the back seat of an automic pile for sexual intercourse, to enhance excitement. This attitude saps the moral fiber of our youth. First, it trivializes automic piles. What is more important, the practice is spreading to the population at large and becoming a fad. The consequences of such an epidemic are incalculable. Ultimately, it may destroy our society the way we know it.
This sexual deviation is part of the general problem of addiction to fear. Our committee recommends, ultimately, modifications in our thought structure; for the moment the release of a study showing back seat intercourse may upset the bias disequilibrium factor and that the lowering of GAG may be necessary as a result, if the practice continues.
The committee recommends the following strong set of initials to describe the practice: Back Seat Horror Intercourse (SHIT).
I'm a Shitter
I'm a Baffer
I'm king of the leather
As I'm doing it to her.
Oh oh oh
Who fixes an automic pile that goes out on a blink? To fix it is a moment of extreme pain. People tolerate the idea of getting into an automic pile to go from one place to another, but they don't want to be near it just to fix it. Anger bursts in them; but since machines will be machines, they sometimes do go wrong.
In the early days of our society, quite an elaborate industry developed around this need. Certain people, calling themselves mercy fixers, or booth hunters (because the engine of early automic piles was placed inside the booth), were ready to take care of the malfunctioning of a pile at a fee. They were courageous, dare-devil adventurers, wild cowboys, who got hold of the people's imaginations and were affectionately called mercinaries. Songs, comic books were written about them. The most famous among them reigned supreme. For example, Hippo Hippo is said to develop an instinct about when a pile is about to disrupt (though this is in actuality impossible) and would get out of it just ten seconds before. People believed he could tell the disruption point of a pile by just looking at it. Whether true or not, Hippo Hippo survived an incredible four years. This fast and loose age is called the decade of mercy fixers.
But the facts, despite people's lingering emotional attachment to these characters, are less glorious. Even though early mercy fixers were ennobled with a pure sense of adventure and public service, the later ones were not so. They began to charge such exorbitant prices that only the very rich could afford them and bullied and aroused a great deal of anger in the populace. Finally, with the help of our executive branch, which interfered to fill the vacuum, the mercy fixers priced themselves out of the market and were extinct; they went the way of another exorbitant group of bullies, plumbers.
Our present system is a direct consequence of that lawless period. SAP's are our true heroes. That's why children, at the age of sixteen, are taken from their parents and for a period of one year taught everything there is to know about automic piles in automic pile academies (APA). Of course, they work on mock models in a safe environment. Then, each one of them, for a period of six days, is ready to work in fixing actual automic piles. The young lads and girls at APA, affectionately called SAP's, are the most cherished members of our society. Their every wish, their every whim is indulged since they are performing a vital function. And the ones that survive the six day service period are welcomed by their parents with feasts and celebrations and are then considered to be, at the age of sixteen, full fledged members of society. They are BAH's. They are showered with gifts, fountain pens, electric shavers, an official life of Watson Crickshaw in gilded leather binding, etc., etc.
A shredder under a flood of light, surrounded by columns, is shredding 24 hours a day the records of the disruption point of each automic pile. A flow of thin shredded paper streams out constantly in a ticker tape. Four uniformed officials stand guard around it. The public may visit the shredder any time, day or night.
A copying machine being pounded constantly by a pneumatic hammer.
Holographs of both The Temple of the Eternal Shredder and The Parable of the Copying Machine must be mass produced for every household. Candles, surrounding the holograph of the Shredder in a special corner of the room, replace the floodlights.
Ideally, the holographs must replace the Department of Core Placers (DCP) in the public mind.
DCP must have a clear location on the map, but that location must not exist. How does this paradox occur, and what is its purpose? For example, on Route such and such a turn to the right after County Road 17 (the location on the map should be an isolated place reinforcing the inviolability of the place where each automic pile is assembled and its age determined) before reaching another milestone; but every time one goes past County Road 17, one reaches the next milestone before noticing the turn to the right. The first reaction would be that one is careless and has overlooked the sign, but over and over again the same elision, slip should occur. The whole purpose is to inspire in the searcher the feeling that he can not read a map, reinforce his sense of passivity, of defeatism, and make him forget the whole thing.
Ideally, The Temple of the Eternal Shredder and The Parable of the Copying Machine must replace DCP in the public mind as the real thing. Department of Core Placers, as the seat of justice and fairness, must be a concept twice removed from daily life. To use an old image, the populace must be made idolatrous. Then, the government will have the freedom to function in peace.
Certain sample movies and other kinds of shows selected at random to be shown every year under the guise of reruns and revivals. Comparisons are made from year to year. Their attendance is recorded, the anxiety level of the spectators compared through secret sound recorders of laughter, the twitching of legs, the squeaking of chairs and counting the number of people going to the toilet after each show. What kinds of shows attract what number of audience in a given year, musicals, war movies, mysteries, simple dumb shows, movies that are food for thought, horror movies, comedies, biographies, etc. The attendance in a given year of spectator sports also is recorded, from ice skating to pistol shooting, to demolition derby, to hot car racing, to professional wrestling; the degree of quiet or rowdiness at each of them is tapped. The yearly anxiety/euphoria scale is also measured through the state of the tourist trade, the microscopic variations in it.
Epidemic attraction to fear is the central problem of our time. Automic piles have stopped being a regulating agent; they have become a lure.
Populations are committing suicide in millions, and how long can we keep it from public exposure?
The lowering of GAG whets the euphoria level, and it has the very opposite effect than the one intended. Factories can't run efficiently.
The linchpin concept of our society is crumbling, and unless we find a solution to it, we must anticipate progressive chaos.
Copyright @ 1986 by Murat Nemet-Nejat