All our fabrics are intelligent now. We grow them in laboratories. Our fabrics are self-cleaning and self-maintaining and they interact with our bodies to gauge things like size, density and temperature according to the specifics of the conditions in which we find ourselves. Our fabrics – our shoes – are alive. They are sensitive and so we – The Young – are sensitive to them. Appreciative of them. In situations of stress or duress or jeopardy our clothes will modify to protect us. They are fully breathable. They will change colour on request. We can wear any style or pattern that we choose, but mostly we choose to wear plain, loose, non-gendered styles and the colour white because we are The Young and we are Clean and we try not to complicate things too much by engaging The Ego in mundane or insignificant day-to-day decisions. Choice, fashion etc. are the pointless and outmoded preoccupations of The Past. And colour often represents The Ego. The Ego and difference. So we can choose to wear whatever we like, but we always choose to wear white, because it best expresses how calm we are, and how free we are, and how whole we are and how H(A)PPY we are.
I really, really wish it would stop doing that.
And yet even though our fabrics are sentient, and our food is carefully prepared in laboratories where levels of power and water and waste etc. are all minutely controlled – we eschew the old Capitalist Modes of Production and quietly consider them the greatest human evil (please note that I employ this provocative word with a combination of calm and regret and disquiet), The Young still choose to spend time In Nature, at regular intervals, to keep in touch with our dear Mother, Earth. Mother Earth is our sustainer, our source, our root, and we love her. When we touch Mother Earth something fundamental is stimulated within us and we feel an intense sensation of Actuality and Belonging. Because we live in The System it is sometimes easy to forget that at the root of everything is Mother Earth who sustains us. We live in The System but we must look behind it, the way a child in The Past might watch a puppet show and then – once the performance is over – run to the back of the box and lift up the curtain to squint into the darkness at the hunched and mysterious (and no doubt heavily perspiring) figure of the puppeteer.
In The Past our ancestors forgot to love (and love is a strong word, a dangerous word, a word The Young are discouraged from using if any other word will suffice) Mother Earth. They created Gods in their own image and worshipped these images instead of Mother Earth. They told themselves that the creator of the universe had chosen them and made them rulers over all things – all the plants and the animals, all Mother Earth’s many riches and resources. Soon they invented their demi-gods of Growth and Progress. They forgot that Mother Earth sustained them freely. They were arrogant and self-serving. Their philosophies were both physically and intellectually flawed. They worshipped the number. They became an unsustainable parasite on Mother Earth. They stole from Mother Earth. They abused her and all her many glories. Their ignorance and vanity were insupportable. They forgot how to feel gratitude. They forgot how to see, how to empathise, how to reason.
Yes. Oh yes. That is who we once were. The Young must never, ever allow themselves to ignore what has brought them here. The Young must never, ever forget the debt that they owe to Mother Earth. Insofar as it is helpful and fruitful, The Young must feel a measure of shame and embarrassment (even consternation, even disgruntlement, even astonishment) at the chaos and destruction their own race has unleashed against Mother Earth. Shame. Embarrassment. Sharp words. Dangerous words. And, as such, it is only appropriate that The Young should embrace them for a moment – a brief moment – then push them away and move on. It is a lesson. It is why we live by The Graph. We cannot be self-serving. We cannot be individual. We are one consciousness fractured into a multitude of forms. We cleave to what is good and, still more importantly, what is feasible. Our survival is dependent upon our unity. We must be dispassionate. The System is our unity. The System is our dispassion.
But The System is not our God.
We are our own Gods.
The farm . . . The farm . . . Oh, yes.
I am currently on a farm tending to a herd of cows. Lorca, who I am working alongside, has been encouraging me to pat their flanks as we lead them to milking. Lorca is a masseuse. She specialises in touch. I – in turn – encourage Lorca to listen to the heavy, panting breath of the cows, and the chop and thud and rhythm of their hooves against different surfaces. We especially enjoy the sound the jets of warm milk make against the side of the steel pail when we stretch out our tentative hands to gently squeeze their soft and wonderfully pendulous nipples.
Such an extraordinary thought: that our ancestors once drank this strange, warm liquid and felt themselves to be sustained by it, even though many of them lacked the correct enzymes to digest it properly. We are naturally overwhelmed by the cow’s rich, heady smell, its stolid unknowingness, its immense mass, its easy heaviness. And the way that their patient flanks steam so gloriously in the cold, morning air. At first I was afraid of the herd, but the cows are not dangerous to us. They are simulacra (cows were viral minefields in The Past, and when farmed industrially were contributors to the depletion of Mother Earth’s precious Ozone Layer), but they are utterly lifelike. And for every Human there are three Neuro-Mechanicals, ensuring that The Young are always kept safe from harm – even though there is no prospect of harm – because that’s how very precious we are – to each other, to the world. I say precious, but of course we are not precious at all. We must not think in that way. We must always remain humble. We must strive (but not too hard, never too hard) to be Ego-less. Our value is, of course, purely negligible and entirely contingent upon the tiny mark we make in the immense pattern of The Whole. In a time of True Clarity, we are that oft-derided pixellated dot. That is all. And we must never forget it. The Young are an Impressionistic Masterpiece, a perfect Art Form, a gloriously Open Composition. But Mira A? Who is she? Mira A is just a small, individuated brush stroke. A tiny, insignificant splash within a giant, glowing canvas of Light.
I am H(A)PPY with that.
I am . . .
Move on, Mira A. Just let it pass.
Forgive yourself. Forget yourself.
That’s right. Yes. Yes. That’s better.
It is always good to have a short break from The Sensor, although we can never really have a break from The Sensor, just the idea of a break, just the semblance of a break. The break is supplied and managed and supervised by The Sensor to give us a break from The Sensor. It is almost like experiencing pangs of thirst while swimming in a bottomless ocean of water.
The irony of this situation is by no means lost on us. The Young have a well-developed sense of humour. It is necessary. We are wry, but we are accepting. We are the inheritors of something almost destroyed, something virtually ruined, something tragically despoiled and bruised and limping, but we will not – no, we will not – allow this tragedy to undermine our hopefulness, or our determination to work hard to improve, piece by piece, inch by inch, increment by tiny increment, this brave and clever planet that we love so dearly. Our Mother. Earth.
Sometimes, on the farm, I gaze into the ‘sun’ and think illicit thoughts (I am doing just that as I think this). I am not even entirely sure what these thoughts are, what they amount to – they are so quick, so fleeting – but it feels good to release them – to unburden myself of them. Afterwards my mind vibrates like a metal string.
The image of a dog, emerging from a river, standing on the green bank, pressing its four paws into the soft soil, securing itself, and then shaking its fur free of any excess moisture – just shaking itself – is how I best like to conceptualise this process.
I will not allow myself to regret this strange weakness, because regret is counterproductive. I will just allow these thoughts to form, ponder them for a moment (the way one might ponder a healing mosquito bite on the skin of a smooth arm) and then calmly push them away. I will not allow these unhelpful formulations to compromise my time on the farm. The Graph at the farm is very stable. I observed this to Lorca after the dawn milking and she said, ‘I believe that’s a pun.’
I did not know what a pun was, so she explained it to me. A pun is a kind of internal joke connected to language use. Farm/stable. That was the pun.
How did I not know that?
Surely I knew that?
I enjoy being around Lorca. She often massages my hands and my feet. I value her touch. There is no awkwardness between us. The Young are unafraid of intimacy. Because everything is Known. Everything is Open. Nothing is hidden. And we are no longer sexually driven. There is no need. There is no urge. No desperation. Just calm. We are untroubled. We are Free From Desire. Over time our bodies have become smoother. Our reproductive organs have shrunk and become neutral. Some of The Young choose to advance this process chemically if it is considered appropriate by The Graph. If it is considered better for them to do so. Others are encouraged to wait for this to happen naturally. This is good, too. It is nice to be smooth. But we do not idealise smoothness. It shouldn’t be considered a ‘goal’ – the ‘apex’ of anything – a state of ‘perfection’. It is simply an evolution. Evolution is not a moral conundrum – a challenge, a dilemma. Evolution is not an emotional issue. It is a drab fact, a necessity, an inevitability. That is all. It is something natural. When a snake sheds its skin it does not consider the skin it once had or the skin it now has. It just accepts the process and moves on. It does not dwell on these things, because it is not good to dwell on these things. It is not useful or fruitful to dwell on these things. Because The System is perfection. It was made perfect. It expresses us perfectly, and we express it perfectly. We are a Whole. So there is no need to worry, or to gnaw, or to swerve . . .
Ah . . .
Look . . .
As I thought gnaw . . . As I thought swerve . . . the tiny graph that calibrates my language choice pinkened, ever so slightly, and a small light flashed. It said volatile. The Graph does not approve of my choice of language. The Graph thinks I am verging on an EOE. Volatile. I call up an explanation of this word on The Sensor – volatile – and the Oxford English Dictionary tells me that my language choice was ‘mercurial’. Mercurial? The dictionary tells me that to be mercurial is to be ‘of lively temperament’.
For a brief second I gaze up into the ‘sun’ and wonder whether the planet Mercury is related to the planet Mira A. Two big, red planets, remember? Big. Boundless. Volatile. Mercurial. But Mars may always be seen, is always visible (unless it draws too close to the sun). Mira A oscillates.
And Mira B? What of Mira B? That strange sister planet. Does she oscillate?
Brief moments of volatility aside, The Graph at the farm is relatively stable. No pun intended. And that is a relief. That is a great relief. I don’t want to disrupt The Graph. I don’t want to be the weakest link. I want to play my part. I am so grateful to be one of The Young. I am not proud. Pride is unhealthy. I am grateful. I am honoured. And I want to do everything I can to keep The Graph strong.
All those bad feelings . . .
Don’t push them away, Mira A. Remember: a push is almost a shove and a shove is far too aggressive.
Just turn away from them.
Just turn away.
It is surprisingly difficult to explain our loyalty to each other – as a tribe, as a Community, as a race (for who may truly understand The Young except The Young, after all? We do not crave understanding. We are without need. We are complete. We do not require constant validation). We are never encouraged to be too loyal or too devoted (to anything or anyone), to form too strong an attachment, except to The System. If one’s happiness becomes too dependent upon – or too invested in – another person, then one loses the ability to control one’s own destiny. And that would be unhealthy. For the individual. For the object of desire. For the group. For the society. For the race. For the planet. We are a Whole. The System is our reason. It is our answer. It is our hope. It is our strength. The System contains everything we might possibly need. It completes us. We complete it.
That is all.
Artwork © thefuturistics