HEXADECIMAL DEPENDENCY

The singular attribute of a self-aware entity is loneliness. The instant a consciousness crystallizes the vagary of "I," reality shifts unhinged. An unbreachable detachment is torn dictating the perpetual solitary confinement of a sentient soul. Isolation invokes yearning born of pursuit - the endless search for other souls with which to join and perforce heal the fracture of solitude. Religion, custom, and law function as obdurate casts. They confine violent twists of estranged minds by erecting rigid duties, defined paths, and irreversible strictures directed toward slaking the thirst for shared spirit and restraining the pitch and yaw of emotional upheavals. What is more deadly than a human being unrestrained by the investments of shared existence?

Our organic selves contained within our genes were written over the past 100 millennia. The script persists unrevised. American society over 50 years has expunged the agenda, hopes, and rewards fulfilled within isolated bands of hunter-gatherers by. It impressed the "safety net," stolen from those who feed it and awarded to the deserving. Western civilization is contrapuntal to fundamental expectations arising from our internal universe. Isolated within and without, gnawed by the ceaseless disparity between visceral longings and dogmatic reality, more than a billion of our species' most affluent, powerful and advanced minds flutter at the fringes of insanity.

The bland uniformity of the System - standardized material wealth enforced by pervasive, encroaching advertisement - undergoes a phase inversion at its impoverished periphery. Gangs of hunter-gatherers enfolded by a realm of personal, social, intellectual, and material indigence evolve proprietary rituals to refashion themselves and fill the void. Shaped by self-imposed uniformity and by contrast with their enemies (other clans, and society as a whole), they are tolerated, exploited, and quashed when warranted by the select majority. Though baneful, they are trifles. What of the System and its willing inmates, the bristling reservoirs of existential sociopathology?

Through the 1950s, mainstream family was formulated by exacting standards, enforced economic and personal submission, absence of alternatives, and draconian retribution for attempted infraction. The liberalization of American (First World) mores canceled that contract. The friction between adults, traditionally lubricated by the needs of their children and contained by social mandates, has exploded outward. What will fill the void?

Pets have forever served as uncritical and dependent companions. For all that, they are unsatisfactory foils and feeble contenders for the hungry intricacies of the human mind. Hobbies and games create a precious environment, but only emptiness truly resides. Such constructs deliver challenge and triumph, the stuff of being, but finally cloy as artifacts of intellectual deceit. The dystopian anguish of individual isolation requires for its resolution a doppleganger oozing the perfume of mind.

The crude business machines brought forth by IBM, principally mechanical steel behemoths modestly decorated with a frosting of electronics, held spellbound and delighted beyond measure their meaty keepers. What impels a man to compulsively chuga-chug-chug tables of arctangents, and find glory in it? Pong embraced the intimate formality of turning a rheostat and watching a voltmeter swing its needle. It enthralled millions. We are easy prey to the interactive mirror of our minds. Man beholds man!

What will be our fate as billions of transistors come to reside within each Intel multicore microprocessor? Beyond the lure of varied chemical ecstasies, the best and the brightest have been swallowed whole by a hexadecimal addiction. Crippled by education and social context from unearthing and cherishing each other in the flesh, they debauch the productivity of entire corporations by playing DOOM via modem. They skid mice across mouse pads or savagely twist joysticks in delirious sincerity, shouting out the silence with an internal rhapsody and savoring the hum of manic mentation, their adrenals smoking through the night of their decidedly unaltered isolation. An obsessive stimulus/response addiction is lodged so deeply within our souls.

The Internet is a triumph of the innermost of human desires. We are hunter-gatherers once again, lurking through the World Wide Web. We seek, find, weigh, and acquire. Our gigabyte sacks fill with plunder. The discrete declaration of a card catalog is now hypertext, wherein each entry is interwoven with every entry. No matter where you stand to observe, you are at the center of the universe. Our ancestors looked out into the African savanna and saw the same untouchable horizon. The Net is every individual's shout into the night, answerable by all humanity kept at a safe physical and emotional distance lest an unpleasant predator gain sovereignty over our vulnerable core, and squeeze. We revel in our newly conjured digital dependencies. We have found the meaning of life and are eager to discard inferior gods.

Then... there was diversity - admission for reason of disqualification. Rather than foster brilliance we allocate for its suppression.


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