#07 A Heritage Alive

| r |

Dear Nana, dear Internet,

I wanted to tell you about the things I found out about great-grandpa. After all, he is the reason I am here (at least that’s what I’ve come to believe.) He must be almost 30 now, born and raised in Berlin, with a master in arts, and as is typical for this degree in this era, barely able to provide for himself. I have no idea how he managed to keep his studio as a time capsule for almost 100 years. Maybe he got a grant? Or had some kind of patron? But this hasn’t happened yet for sure.

When I couldn’t find him, I looked for your mother and actually found her! They weren’t together anymore, but you are actually already born! You are maybe a year old, the cutest little thing, cuddling inside great-grandma Arjin’s chest in a long scarf.

When she talks about him, it’s with the saddest eyes.

She takes you everywhere with her. Your sister is already talking in full sentences, both of you have a head full of pitch black hair and dark brown eyes. The only thing that you got from Ben’s side is the light skin. I couldn’t very well tell your mother who I was, so I told her I was an old friend trying to get back in touch. She doesn’t have a clue where he is either.

But she is very sweet and worried about him, so I think they parted on good terms. When she talks about him, it’s with the saddest eyes, she pities him for his depressive phases, misses him for the manic ones. But, she says, as long as he doesn’t get help; he will continue to be too unreliable to be a good parent.

She is wise, your dayik Arjin, and in her soft-spokenness I can see the warrior you told me she would become. It seems like this isn’t the first time he disappeared. Arjin told me he was gone for 3 weeks a year earlier with no way of contacting him. When he came back it turned out he had been in Copenhagen or Moscow for almost the entire time, but he was not sure. He had friends in both of those places, but now that Arjin knew how to make contact, and he was too embarrassed to ask. He had lost weight, all the money, and gained some new tattoos. That was when she broke up with him, I’m not sure if you were already born then. I wish I could get to know him, but I don’t know where else I could look for him.

Society here is very negligent when it comes to the well-being of its’ members which is worrying. Talking to your dayik made me realize that I am feeling homesick for the first time in my life. Can you imagine? With all the traveling I’ve done… Remember when I got to visit mom in orbit? Even then I could see the blue marble and feel connected. But here, now, everything is still alien. If you ever wondered how it is to be completely alone, time travel will do the trick. I don’t remember ever feeling so lost and displaced (dis-timed?). I am really grateful I have the people that took me in when I “landed” here, but I can’t tell them who I am. Secrets as big as that create walls, really. And I can’t unburden the downward spiral of my thoughts on anyone; the best case would be risking my freedom, the worst to risk the continuum of space-time.

Psycho hygiene is still called mental healthcare here and bears the stigma of humans having to correct “wrongness,” instead of being a normal check-up for everyone under elevated stress levels. When society as a whole treats its members like a binary part of an equation, either your functions are valued for this one premise of everlasting growth, or they are not. If they are, you may obtain all your self-value and choices from consuming goods and market assets, if they are not, you are to see yourself as a worthless burden. Parts of society are breaking out of these patterns already, they always have. There are voluntary workers in social forts that offer technical relief, sustenance, and also treat the homeless, but it will still take generations to shake the feeling of being owned by the make and take of capitalism. 

I’ve had time on my hands, so I read up on things, the news and history. A lot of information about your time is available in mine because of the digital way information is stored, but lots got lost as well through the hack, dirty servers, and imperfect data backup maintenance.

In my history lessons, we’ve learned about this one way street. This economic phenomenon is even more entrenched into collective human cognition than religion… It starts with a childlike wishful thinking that resources, and thus growth can be infinite while on finite space. It then becomes the circular logic of those who own possessions having merit, because they own, because they have merit… And so on. It brings out the worst neurological patterns in people. Religious leaders, philosophers, and visionaries from various backgrounds figured this out eons ago, even in your past. But this ideology encapsulates a structure, a gravity-like mark, a law that cannot be circumvented.

The best case would be risking my freedom, the worst to risk the continuum of space-time.

When the /hack happened, people were mostly lost because their values didn’t work anymore. The infrastructure sorting out the meaning of money was broken, and while there were forces trying to fix it of course, in the end, society fixed itself before those forces could reinstate capitalism. In my history lessons, it was the least documented time since the invention of the net simply because there was no net for a while, so communication during that era is not recorded in bits. But during that time, people found out that better distribution meant less existential angst and suddenly time was the good to strive for. My bio-dad Claude was still a kid when all of that happened, so I only got a second hand account, but it sounds like a very interesting part of history. Almost as interesting as this one right here. Ben couldn’t tell from the depressing news right now, but his generation will be the beginning of a real shift.

I am part of you now,


4 thoughts on “#07 A Heritage Alive

  1. Dear Rielle,

    I came back looking for more inspiration and I again found something to think about. I‘d like to read more about that /hack that‘s about to happen. It is an interesting idea that society has the potential to change fundamentally after a shock like the one you describe. I am trying to find one in my time‘s past but find none. Even after massive destruction in wars, societies quickly returned to their previous modes of organization. So I wonder what was so special about that /hack. Is it that society became so dependent on the resources for communication and economic transaction that the internet provided that without it, it totally collapsed? Was putting the net back together that time intensive so that society had no other chance than reorganizing to prevent destruction? Even then, what triggered the change in the collective perception about our planet and about our use of it, about the way we interact as humans?

    Looking forward to reading more,

    1. Dear towe,

      The /hack is shorthand for -as you guessed- a complex of events rather than just the one. From what I know it was influence for a lot of overall developments. And, like in so many other instances, it has been named /hack longer after the fact. I guess in your history you could find comparisons in the Manhattan project effect. When science evolved to understand how to manipulate matter on a nuclear stage, it had great impact not only on the energy question, but also on nation states political decisions.

      Things were pretty messed up. Some of the bigger companies had finally taken charge and basically bought countries, making deals with them to pay of their national debt. In exchange they became a sort of fifth estate beside the 3 branches that you know and the press. In any case that was the official story. In actuality… imagine if you lived in the land of Amazon, where everything is available but nothing is affordable to you. It’s not very hard to picture, is it? Shortly after a Zambian crypto-company found a way to fight quantum crypto with quantum machines, the algorithm that more or less replaced any other currency, things hit the wall in a major way.

      In hindsight, no one can figure out how the hackers organized themselves, as everything from the following years wasn’t recorded. I doubt they used digital communication in any case, it would have been intermitted, but who knows. The /hack was only the beginning of an uprising. Work couldn’t provide for people’s livelihood, neither could authoritarian leadership models. I think the disruption just came at the right time. This all happened before I was born so I only know the history lessons and anecdotes I’ve heard from people older than me. My generation is the first, who are truly benefiting from the de-nat and de-cap movements.

      You say that society tends to return to previous modes of organization. Could that be only the illusion of a narrative that seems linear in hindsight? I feel like even in your history were groups and ethics and rules formed and reformed and questioned over and over again.
      I can’t really tell you how humanity became aware of their collective responsibilities. But can you explain to me why they don’t seem to be like that here? From my perspective, your present is definitely a lot harder to understand than mine. You have all the solutions in your hand, yet most of the species is bent on self-destruction.

  2. rielle

    i think a lot about what’s happening to you right now. i wonder what it would do to me if i woke up in 1929. or how someone from the year 1929 would feel in 1840. i suspect that with each leap forward through the ages, the diversity of worldviews increases a bit. in 2018, some want the good old days back, some want to quickly become immortal cyborgs. i can tell you, the opinions about the people of 1929 are diverging, too.

    you have a certain look at us. at this epoch. what do you think, how representative is your view on 2018 compared to that of your contemporaries?

    i think you discover more suffering than joy. you know what will happen next, that might influence you, that makes you search for the dark premonitions, that makes you drawing a dark picture. i want to encourage you to take a closer look, to go and find the joy. mankind always lustfully evolved with fail-forward strategies. for the better, to the worse? If the sence of life is to evolve, and the route is the goal, mankind is so unchallenged that it tends to put stones in its way to make life more exciting. whether simulated or not: i think you have to recognize that life is a game to successfully play it through.

    so, where can i buy you a beer? 🙂


    1. Dear m,

      please don’t be too concerned. The things that worry me in your time and the turns they have taken in mine are cause and effect in the end. You questioned the representative nature of my perspective. I might be the single person who skipped ahead some pages in the book, offering some spoilers. It’s not that I just see the problems in the presents, I can also see their developments on the horizons. I am happy to see you subscribe to an optimistic world view, as this will be what will help your present to become mine! What you base on hope, I have the luxury to base on my personal experience. We can be better and we will be. I just wish we wouldn’t have to go through so many dark valleys first.
      Thank you for the invite, but as you can guess, it’s vital for me to stay anonymous for now.

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