UPON READING FUKUYAMA’S LINE //THE END OF HISTORY WILL BE A VERY SAD TIME// by Michael Sheehan

in Fiction/Issue Two

My house, this place and body,

I’ve come in mourning to be born in.

– Wm. H. Gass

//CONSEQUENTLY EVERY HUMAN ACTION//

The last attack was a mall; now this nail parlor they were talking about in those studio-hushed tones on the commute news. Pixelated images of lines of ducked heads crossing a strip mall parking lot appeared and then dissolved on the windshield’s lower right frame[1]. Police were saying the shooter was no threat to the public, that the shooter was dead, that the shooter had shot himself and three others, not in that order, killing two and seriously injuring a third.

The commute was slowed because of lane closures, which MTRAK[2] called “routine maintenance” on the windshield’s lower left. Canton’s car jerked, stuttered, like a hitch in the invisible chain pulling him to work. He looked up from his synthetic cappuccino. SAMi said, “I’m sorry. It is a bit bumpy.” The words “Poor Connection” flashed briefly onscreen.

“It’s fine,” Canton said.

“I’m sorry. I could not understand what you said.”

“Nothing.”

“I’m sorry. I could not understand what you said.”

He knew better than to repeat it. There was another jerk in the car’s forward motion, and he could see looking out that the cars around him were, in uneven rhythm, stuttering forward as well. The images on the screen briefly froze and the music slipped into a pulse’s repeated beat, a stuck note. The revolution of a white rectangle—followed by the ring of fading remnants—around a circle indicated the system’s brief buffer, then his personalized playlist resumed.

Canton tapped on the screen, swiped left, left, right, brought up the picture of his wife, Antietam, and their son Raleigh, the two of them beneath cherry blossoms, Antietam holding him up, his pudgy wristrolls, his hand reaching up to touch and crush and tear away the synthetic sakura petals, the Obama Monument out of focus in the background.

It was easy to love a picture, to tap the throbbing heart icon along the picture’s frame, to proclaim his feelings on social media, but it was harder to love the reality behind or outside this image. Things between he and Antietam had been strained since Raleigh’s birth, the easy independence they’d had before had become a tense need for each other, a sometimes bitter resentment of the other’s even momentary freedom. They were tired all the time, and Raleigh was nearly 18 months old now. After Antietam started sending him links to listicles with titles like “Ten Things You Need to do to Save Your Marriage After Children,” and “The Five Things Divorced Couples Say They Wish They’d Done,” and “The 52 Most Important Steps to Being Happy Parents,” they had agreed six weeks ago to take a test online that would tell them how in sync they were across various datapoints: wants, needs, goals, values, triggers, regrets, hopes, dreams, wishes, emotions, and love language. The test was multiple choice, with questions either vague or narrowly specific and boxes you could tap and fill with a glowing checkmark.

They had scored terribly.

Their wants and needs were unfit and unmet; their hopes, goals, dreams, and wishes were aimed in opposite directions; their triggers overlapped slightly, but were linked to different particular parts of their daily lives and routine; their regrets and emotions had the most overlap, but still their score was only in the 80th percentile for compatibility; they spoke different love languages. They had no recent intimacy, no shared affection, no postparenthood sex. Their financial statuses were similar but how they felt about their statuses differed.

For almost a week after they’d sat side by side tapping checkmarks and discovering they were far apart in all the ways that counted, they didn’t speak or communicate other than terse texts and sporadic snaps about renewing the ecodiaper subscription and downloading an app that could quantize Raleigh’s growth rate. But then Antietam started sending him links to articles with titles like “Recovering Romance,” and “Ten Tips to Improve Your Love Life After Children,” and “What Couples Who’ve Stayed Together for 30 Years Say is the Key to Their Happiness (Hint: Sex),” and “Positions for Parents NSFW,” and “Sex After Children, A Primer.”

So without needing or wanting to say more or discuss it too directly (for fear of thereby ruining the emergent intimacy in its infancy), Canton sent her a calendar invite to “watch Solaris,” which had once long ago been their secret code for sex when within earshot of roommates. She accepted the request, he ordered an ubersitter, opentabled an 8pm at LeuvenSpoonful, her favorite Belgian bistro, and after sharing two 75cl bottles of Brasserie de Rochefort (a red-capped 6 they were not that into and a green-capped 8 they both enjoyed), they slipped out of their street clothes and into their oculi rifts and had intercourse for several minutes before falling asleep.

Her watch alerted her the next morning that she was pregnant, but she didn’t say anything. Though she didn’t know it, Canton had linked their healthstats (a privacy setting of their healthbook profiles), and so, sitting in his car his watch notified him of her labwork’s results, congratulated him on the happy news. Forget that it was illegal to have two children without a religious exemption, this was a Trojan horse they’d unknowingly downloaded in their attempt to troubleshoot their marriage’s post-progeny bugs.[3] They were trying to alter the algorithm that found Canton was not the answer to Antietam’s search, and vice versa. They wanted to get out ahead of the autocomplete that negged their unasked question, “what happens after?”[4]

And so how would they face the fact of this future?

Despite the abnormal system glitches and turbulence, he arrived and SAMi slotted the smartcar into his assigned space and he stepped onto the peoplemover and then elevated to his office.

 

//FROM SOME ACT OF THE IMAGINATION//

Canton’s building, albeit unfinished, was the third living building to be installed in the National Harbor. Tiktaalik rose out of the harbor’s water—which it fed off for energy and which it also dynamically responded to as sea levels rose over time, its supports a sort of proto-leg that could extend, raising or lowering the building’s harbor-edge—several stories into the sky where its feathers and fins circulated to capture wind and condensation, its solar scales sucking up what sun there was when there was sun. Though the building boasted an alien vision of the city’s space, his company’s offices within it were obscenely atavistic, structured and run like 19th century clerk’s offices, where the fe/male and agender employees were stationed at smartdesks not near windows—the building’s solar efficiency meant no natural light made it in during daylight hours; the sui generis power lit phosphorescent wall panels instead all along the terra nullius out beyond the company’s quadrangle footage—and expected to arrive and work an eight-hour shift despite years of research and studies and advocacy that the 21st century economy made most sense when based on digital workspaces, flexible time, a multi-device driven interface across employees without corporate overhead or polluting commute mileage, etc. Nonetheless, the baseline expectation was a minimum of 24 and an average of 32 hours a week in the office at the desk, though Canton would’ve preferred not to.

There was a persistent piss-inducing burble from the aquaponic and the hydroponic elements of the building, which were integrated into the open spaces of the building and so were pretty much all throughout the areas Canton passed to get to his desk. There were, as yet, no fish or plants being farmed here, since the design was still not fully constructed; it was just water circulating in tanks within the walls. The building’s feathers and fins were static and harvested nothing thus far. It was a big, expensive, strange structure that mostly sat functionless and awaited funding.

 

#thesiege had reached Canton’s office sometime during the night. Their servers had been surrounded by ransomware, all their information held hostage, and so there was no work to be done all morning as Canton sat near the streaming screens[5] that paralleled the ribbons of bioluminescent flora as a transhuman team of network security was google-eyed with diligent coding, trying to break through, to reach the imperiled information, their magnetic-implanted fingers spasming slightly over screens like they were tapping invisible strings, vibrating messages through air and space. Most of the time these magnetic fingers were only useful for collecting paperclips and sensing the grid yawing through the walls, or so they’d tell you, the ecolectricity and the quantalytics humming in the air above. As for the origins of #thesiege, pretty much it was anyone’s guess. Divine dispensation was almost as likely as the Chinese government or like some zombified noname working for hourly wages in a squat Russian office park someplace.

Because the bioluminescent lighting took time to glow and gradually increased in intensity during the day, the first notice was what seemed to be slight blurring or marking, spotting, blemishes on the walls’ bioglow. This made the process of revelation that much more mysterious, as it seemed almost as if the figures and the text were emerging, the words being written, the images being drawn. The walls themselves were alive and so it should not have been possible to write on them, to change the uniformity of their luminescent emissions, but there it was: scribbled, repetitive drawings of horses, of hyena, aurochs, of even a megaloceros, lines and lines to convey motion, strings of dots or maybe a primitive star chart, an exacting simulacra of Lascaux or so it seemed, and then one floor up and on the other side of Tiktaalik’s living lobby the blemishes resolved into trim lines then into letters in a fine, digital font, words sprawling across and down and all over the wall’s evolving light:

//All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and go back to the beasts rather than overcome man?//

Elsewhere arose:

//Whoever is the wisest among you is also a mere conflict and cross between plant and ghost.//

And then the third emergent bit of bioluminescent blemish read:

//What does your body proclaim of your soul? Is not your soul poverty and filth and wretched contentment?//

Finally, the dying light spelled out:

//The last man lives longest.//

It was viral, whatever it was. Language as infestation, some sort of deep hack, a malware, an expedited process of evolution, history rearising. But how did they hack the organisms living in the walls? How did they infect this pure and simple ecology with the memory of human progress?

It had to be part of #thesiege[6], though nothing like it had ever been described in other attacks. Any answer other than that was, well, what could it be?

 

//LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS FROM OUTER SPACE//

Though at first it was open to everyone, the Deep Space Initiative had had to put a filter in place after the crash. Like any AI or bot or open comment stream[7], trolls had porned it up, clogged the intended message with hatespeech and rape threats, violent historical references reduced to abstractions—Hitler, Nazi, ISIS, KKK—that for whatever reason still held power. So they threw all of those messages out and invited the public to create an account and apply to have his/her message included, and then only after a multi-step user identification process and a couple layers of content screening could any hoi polloi project his/her voice out on the unmanned probe in the hope that someone would find the simple mechanism that would contain the millions of messages from Earth and be able to access its information. The idea was an update or a reboot of the Voyager Golden Record, but democratized and crowd-sourced and crowd-funded, since there was no longer any federal support for space missions, especially those that merely acted as a time capsule. The messages would be transmittable in Morse, in all the world’s active languages (and two or three dead ones), and in binary[8]. It was maybe a ploy, since all visitors to DSI’s site were repeatedly offered the chance to donate to the mission and help DSI launch the Salviati probe and there was no guarantee—in any meaningful sense—that any message would ever actually be included, or even really that there was any rocket with the technological capability to make the trip. Sitting at work, holding a multiverse inside, chaos, a dancing star, unable to express it or ever explain it to any other person, Antietam got a link in a msg from her coworker, and shortly thereafter donated to the mission, sending first the equivalent of $3, or 3USDE, via Ethereum and then 5USDE and then 3USDE again. What she found was it wasn’t about the message being delivered, ever being received—because there was that issue, too, the overwhelmingly remote possibility that the universe contained any thing at all that was capable of hearing her voice in any language many years from now across a great distance—but really just the expression, the telling. The compressed recording of her voice, along with who knows how many others, would be adrift for tens of thousands of years before it passed by the nearest star. By the time any being could be believed to find it, the recordings would be from long-dead persons of a probably long-dead civilization, but still it was an attractive idea. She couldn’t help herself. It was, for one thing, a deeply hopeful act, a statement of her belief in the existence of a future, even if one she wasn’t in and would never know. But she wanted to believe. She wanted to believe. She wanted to believe.

 

 

//STANDING APART FROM THE GENUS OF MORAL ACTIONS //

By the afternoon of #thesiege, even the streaming screens were glitching. They could do no work. Then, right before rush hour, three suicide bombers hit DCA, which meant no street traffic within a two-mile radius of the Capitol and the White House, no Metro, flights redirected to Dulles and BWI and beyond. Canton was stuck on the George W Bush Parkway, with glitchy service compounding the traffic overloading the MTRAK and causing large-scale system crashes. His car had not moved more than a few feet at a time in the last half an hour.

He tried to send a message to Antietam, telling her how he was stuck and would be late because: bombing. The progress bar stayed stuck at around 80% along the bottom of the windshield; finally the words “Message send failure” flashed across his screen.

The luminous golden dome of a Scientology Temple hung like a gibbous moon above the tops of trees. It was easy to mistake its shape for a mosque, though there were no more mosques other than in ruins in images out of the caliphate or on the Arabian peninsula.

You couldn’t help but think sometimes that these transit bombings and attacks were less about the immediate impact and more about shutting down the whole system for a day or more. It’d be curfews and no public gatherings, business closures all over town, etc. The transit hits seemed more systemic than personal, despite the high tally of in-situ casualties.

His only choice other than a night in the narrow swivel seat at the center of the smartcar was to take the car offline and try to selfdrive it via surfaceroutes. He restarted the car and began navigating it along the wide rim of the MTRAK and finally down the steep ramp. Now that he was down on the ground below the compression on the MTRAK, he slowly piloted the smartcar across the rutted debris and through empty streets. He had selfdriven before, but never in this area, never so close to his office. He continued on along the broken roads until he saw rising before him the grim skeleton of Bezos Stadium, the coliseum shape of it, grayblack against the dull sky. Matte striations of filtered light slipped through the spiral parking structure that had been built beside it in an age of optimism and dumb profiteering. Concrete columns intersected the rays of grainy light beneath a low, flat ceiling that pressed down, seeming to occlude the sky, the horizon available as a dissipating edge, where the light blurred into nothing.

He was headed home to Antietam, to Raleigh, and to the potentiality inside her. But there was more than system glitches acting as impediment: the data had said they were not a match. When they looked at the hard, quantified, measurable reality, they were not supposed to be sharing any life together, and there was no future for them to grow into. They could do a deeper dive into the data but it didn’t seem like that would matter. He knew this was irrefutable, was solid as anything around him right then, that when they stacked their individual data side by side the answer was plain: there should be no them, they should not be together (married or as parents), someone had to act responsibly in the light of the data they’d already received and so it should be him and so he should leave—but he didn’t want to. The truth of their incompatibility was as evident as the massive concrete shape he’d pulled up alongside, and maybe all the Message Send Failures were fate signaling to him, but for no reason he knew he felt a push against it inside, a welling up of something that seemed only capable of saying no.

No.

It was an impossible position, to know what was right and yet to not will it.

He was only able to get the smartcar up the first two floors of the garage before its heat sensor showed red and he had to stop. He walked the third and fourth spirals, walked out finally onto the roof and into the olivaceous sunshine. From here, Canton could see the ruin of the east, the renatured north, the turbulent sea to the south. A flock of birds was disturbed out of the wilds where the National Arboretum once was, the collapsed capitol columns somewhere in that overwhelming green, that vast reclaimed landscape bracketing the busted beltway, the neighborhoods fallen into the void, somewhere sunk in the understory.

This was the province of the poor in all its reality. He had many times heard what the lives of those in the ex-exurbs were like, left out in the storms that passed and ravaged, but here he could see the tops of the trees that shaded them, if anyone really lived out there at all.

It was strange. There was no noise. There were sounds, but there was no noise.

The river people on the Anacostia, if there were really any left there after the floods, were nowhere to be seen. The only sign of them was a desolate kibasha that floated gracefully in a calm pocket of the water’s whitecaps near the wooded shore of Kingman Island. The wilds continued as far as he could see, encircling the enclave that is DC, demarcating it from the corrupted places far to the east occupied by those pushed past Fairlawn and Woodland and Skyland and out toward Lincoln Cemetery and beyond[9], along the edge of the District’s diamond shape, past the irregularly tall boundary stone, one of the final markers of the map which was completed in 1791 and whose history, albeit overgrown and forgotten, was still signified by these hidden, dirty pillars.

He could see, too, to the south, the collapsed v of the Whitney Houston Memorial Bridge, the litter of shattered stone that was the congressional cemetery, and he could see the smoke still rising over DCA.

And there was Tiktaalik, an enclosed and isolate ecosystem, an anthroposystem, a holon. Since construction on it first began, where Buzzard Point Park had been, the shore had receded far enough that now it looked as if its body were poised out over the water, it looked as if it were walking into the waves, returning to the water, abandoning life on land.

 

ENDOSYMBIOSIS

“You can’t have two at a time,” the waitress, Daytona, said. “You need to either finish that one or I can take the bottle.”

“I can’t just order another now?”

“It’s the law.”

“Here,” he finished his draft Moon Shot hefeweizen obscenely in front of her. “Sorry about that.” He offered her the glass.

“So you do want another one then?”

The models advertising Vitalis are arranged around the Oscar-winning actor who played Batman in one of the many bad versions, though he won the Oscar for his role as the shipcaptain taken hostage by Libyan pirates in the Mediterranean, who on screen was cold and steely-eyed and outlasted their graphically-depicted torture until a Special Ops team in Mesa Verde and a quartet of synced drones over open ocean had executed the pirates with simultaneous headshots, only wounding the captain in his chest, neck, arm, and leg (though in reality the captain reported his captors had treated him with almost deference, that he had seen in them a crushed humanity, the result of the world’s depraved indifference toward their extreme poverty and the violence that had ravaged them and their families and communities in the years since the Arab Spring, that he had felt the dramatic dronestrike that had saved him was an illustration of the problem, the distance that allowed us to be so uncaring and detached from the real lives of these very desperate men), but the models are laughing and drinking (one a highball, one a snifter, one a beer, one a bourbon, one a champagne flute, one a German stein, one a weighty wine goblet, one a fusion cocktail) as the Oscar-winning actor described the benefits of Vitalis, ending on the dubious but repeated tagline, //Live. Forever.//

“Yeah, that’s why I,” but she cut him off and turned back toward the circular bar with its faux-wood trim and the stadium-style three-sided chandelier of curved screens, each showing a different sport’s game. Canton’s line of sight was almost directly centered on the asymptotic edge where two screens never quite converged; he could see a flattened basketball game’s flurried progress into the fourth quarter and a Holbein’s skull of a classic tennis match, the 2008 Wimbledon final. Drafts were 1.99USDE and the frozen breaded cheddar-stuffed jalapenos were half a dozen for 3USDE. A newsfeed crawled across the two screens describing another passenger flight hacked by cyberterrorists and crashed into the Indian Ocean.

After standing on the stadium and surveying the lost landscape of the north and the east, Canton selfdrove in no particular direction, trying to let the surfaceroutes lead him. They led him to It’s Always Five O’Clock Somewhere and its Happy 24Hour drink and app specials.

And what would he tell Antietam? Should he go home, face her, or should be begin to be gone? He didn’t have any sense any more what would happen when he left this bar. He was suppurating in a feeling he couldn’t quite pin down, that what he wanted was subsumed by the data, that his life from here out would only be ever more determined, his role in it ever more reactive, passive, a smartcar merely sensing objects and knowing when to stop or go, with no sense of itself outside of the system.

He was a body made of many moving parts, a complex system of chemical and biological interactions, all quantified and trackable, all datacaptured and uploaded to apps and enmeshed in the paradisal cloud, the #neverforgetting info atman; from the moment of birth onward he’d been an ecological site for whole eons of bacterial development; his CNS and skeletal architecture did the acting, the motion, the movement, kept his body motile in space. And here in the franchise bar in the strip mall just off the exit ramp from the MTRAK, this was his environment, his own ecological site, that on which he fed and drank, the light that helped him navigate, hid his shame, the circulated and temperature-controlled air he breathed and that allowed his business causal to be a comfortable second-skin. But where, exactly, was he? If his body could be quantified, both internally and externally, as integrally connected to a vast and depersonalized system, where exactly was what made him him? It was a stupid question, and he understood why they didn’t allow two beers at a time, for fear of soul-seeking, maybe, the tennis match long since ended with a collapse to court and a handshake, autographed balls being lobbed up into the stands, their luminous color tracing the arc of their disappearance.

And so then who was he? What did he want?

He did not want these discount beers, was only ordering to make himself feel like he was here at Happy 24Hour for a reason, making the best of bad traffic service and another system-failure-inducing strike but really each beer was a twofold way of not facing forward, not looking at himself in the Check-Ur-Self-B4-U-Wreck-Ur-Selfie™ mirror and not considering what was the future he wanted[10], what was the world he wanted to step out and into? And would he be able to shape that world or only ever be shaped by it?

 

//NOT A BODY, BUT THE ACT OF A BODY//

Thank you for creating a Deep Space Initiative account. You can record your audio message by clicking below. You can listen to your message and re-record it as many times as you like. Click save when you are done. Click submit to upload your message to the Salviati Message Bank for release. We appreciate your support for our mission and we thank you for including your message.

//My unhappiness is like a lead apron laid upon my chest. The x-ray sees right through me, my alien bones, my glowing architecture, the self beneath my self, these lines of light, but no light gets through my unhappiness, no radiation, no feeling but the weight of it pressing down, a dark imprint against the light within me.//

//So much about my life feels already past, so little about the future feels like it is my own, like my will can do anything now but want.//

//And now: new life. I know it should be happy, but I can’t help feeling or fearing a displacement of my self. After Raleigh, I felt changed, like I subtended his self. I occupy the place between these two, one son born and another to come.//

//Law of identity: I can’t be two people in the same body. I can’t be different from myself and the same with another. Law of non-contradiction: I can’t be me and not me.//

//I am become nothing, nothing, nothing.//

//A whole soul growing inside me, my womb an ecosystem unto itself, sustaining life, but the dual nature of my soul’s self takes away from or dilutes me, I. My identity is twinned, is reliant, is aligned—a moon orbiting another life, governing its tides, and watching over it as it sleeps.//

//And why send these words to you at all? To have an impact on existence, project my words and my will outward, shape or at least smudge the future? Maybe a little. Even if far away, even if not for me. I wanted to think about a future, send a message out, not to my unborn son but a message of my own, private but preserved, a truth that may maybe never ever be heard, but one which would outlive me.//

//I can’t communicate it to Canton, can’t say how I feel, because how do you name this feeling? How do you reject the binary—mother/not mother, self/other—and occupy the space between? How can I quantify this love and this desire to assert my soul’s self against the pull of the waves washing over?//

//I heard an astronaut describe being in space, in total darkness, the complete lightlessness that must surround my voice now. These words, wherever and whenever they are, can become a part of everything. Forever free.//

//I can only imagine you,

can only believe

despite knowing better that

my words

can reach you, that

across time and

across distance

you and I

are

here

together,

connected,

these words are your words,

in your head,

whoever you are,

wherever you are,

whenever you are.

And maybe that is enough.//

 

 


 

Michael Sheehan has been an editor for DIAGRAM and was Editor in Chief of Sonora Review, where he curated a tribute to the work of David Foster Wallace. His work has appeared recently in Electric Literature, Agni, Mississippi Review, Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere.

 


  1. In the screen’s lower left, the models are playing football, and as the speaker describes the side effects of Vitalis the one-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback zings a tight spiral up and out of frame before it descends neatly back into the hands of a body that crosses close in the forefront. The models rejoice in unconvincing bro dances. This is happiness? Adult men, men in their 30s at a minimum, the MVP himself probably 60 by now, these men gather in an urban park and zip passes at each other and grapple like linemen in their cotton shorts and unmarked sneakers? Huzzah, the models toss up their hands. Great catch the models might cry; great pass. It is a luxuriated image—this historyless propaganda, selling a nostalgia for a past and a present, neither of which exist—these models, this urbane setting, the idyll fantasy that a Super Bowl MVP quarterback would have a group of beautiful bros in workout clothes gather on Sundays to play touch football.
  2. “Invariable and uninterrupted service.”™
  3. if [every human action is an event]
    if [every event has a cause]
    }[every human action has a cause]
    if [every event with a cause = ¬free]
    }[human action = ¬free]
  4. what happens after death
    what happens after we die
    what happens after divorce
    what happens after love actually
    what happens after love never dies
  5. In a streaming window at the screen’s lower right, The Xtreme Rescue Team had roped up to climb the chiseled face of exposed granite that had once been deep under the glacier. The actual foot of the ice was someplace in a high fold between the choppy Himalayas, even smaller this year than last, which was maybe why the two tourists got trapped out there. They’d been on a Vanishing Ice day trip, which was only supposed to be a three hour tour, but somehow out on the ice things had gotten complicated and two days later, out of water and food, they were huddled together above the moulin the tour leader had disappeared down. It may have been an obvious mistake (made from too much comfort with the shifting landscape of ice, causing the Norwegian national to forget the ice did not consider itself a tourist destination) or something else; though the science wasn’t there to back it up, there were suggestions that the glacier had opened up beneath them or that it had widened rapidly, that the flow of the water through the picturesque Grand Canyon they’d hiked up to to take selfies by and which terminated in the abrupt descent at the mouth of the moulin had increased so much that the ice was melting off by the minute and the geography slipping and deflating and changing even as the tour guide had set his first cramponed foot down on the ledge above the water disappearing into the disappearing ice, to offer his guests a human-sized comparison for scale. When the XRT found them and interviewed them—on the ice for the effect of it, rather than just getting them down (because that was how the show imposed drama—and ad breaks) low enough to be loaded onto the Spinning Spool, which was a poorly-designed drone and no improvement on the helicopters it had replaced up at high altitude, since the spinning spools of its name and their flight’s reliance on the Magnus effect meant a pretty turbulent descent down and more often than not a crash landing—they described the accident as:
    TOURIST #1
    I didn’t see him fall.
    XRT [LAZER]
    Did he slip? He didn’t call out?
    XRT [TANK]
    Probably couldn’t hear him from this heighth. Height. Is it height or heighth?
    TOURIST #2
    It was like, he just blinked out. He was there and then he wasn’t there. Nothing else happened. He didn’t fall, he just, it was, he blinked out.
  6. By May of 1863, the citizens of Vicksburg, dug into their clay caves, were down to eating mules, horses, and dogs. Ulysses S. Grant, who successfully oversaw the siege, would later write “I now determined…to incur no more losses.”
  7. Decorated dickpicks and face swaps, twitter rants and twitter feuds and twitter storms and hacktivisim. Social media psychology experiments and hashtag activism, the balance between oligarchy and consumer culture, the myth of agency. Technology as inhibitor, technology as mass convenience, technology as infantilization, technology as facilitating passive response. Uploaded consciousness and the quantified self, the digital soul disembodied.
  8. After Antietam, a Proclamation:
    //  Whereas, на twentysecond день सितंबर के, in anno Domini un sol mil de vuit centenar de seixanta per i la de dos,
    מנשר הוצא
    من قبل الرئيس
    de los estados unidos, enthaltend, 다른 것들 사이, zifwatazo, 以机智:
    01010100 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00100000 01100100 01100001 01111001 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01001010 01100001 01101110 01110101 01100001 01110010 01111001 00101100 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01111001 01100101 01100001 01110010 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01001100 01101111 01110010 01100100 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101111 01110101 01110011 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100101 01101001 01100111 01101000 01110100 00100000 01101000 01110101 01101110 01100100 01110010 01100101 01100100 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01110011 01101001 01111000 01110100 01111001 00101101 01110100 01101000 01110010 01100101 01100101 00101100 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01110000 01100101 01110010 01110011 01101111 01101110 01110011 00100000 01101000 01100101 01101100 01100100 00100000 01100001 01110011 00100000 01110011 01101100 01100001 01110110 01100101 01110011 00100000 01110111 01101001 01110100 01101000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01100001 01101110 01111001 00100000 01010011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101111 01110010 00100000 01100100 01100101 01110011 01101001 01100111 01101110 01100001 01110100 01100101 01100100 00100000 01110000 01100001 01110010 01110100 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01100001 00100000 01010011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01100101 00101100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110000 01100101 01101111 01110000 01101100 01100101 00100000 01110111 01101000 01100101 01110010 01100101 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110011 01101000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 01101110 00100000 01100010 01100101 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01110010 01100101 01100010 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100001 01100111 01100001 01101001 01101110 01110011 01110100 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01010101 01101110 01101001 01110100 01100101 01100100 00100000 01010011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01100101 01110011 00101100 shall be then thenceforward and forever free//
  9. Lincoln’s body, when last it was seen, after several exhumations, was still recognizable thirtysome years later; his gloves had rotted, his suit had mouldered down in the grave, but his beard and hair were intact, his mole was there, too, his face badly bruised even then from the way the bullet had broken his bones. It was like he was a mummy, it was like he was a ghost, it was like he would remain, forever, some semblance of himself just out of sight, just underground, his existence not ended, his soul and body still one yet, somewhere.

10. Merleau-Ponty:

  1. History flows neither from the past nor to the future alone: it reverses its course and, when you get right down to it, flows from all the presents.
     2. The flesh is at the heart of the world.
     3. True reflection presents me to myself not as idle and inaccessible subjectivity, but as identical with my presence in the world and to others, as I am now realizing it: I am all that I see, I am an intersubjective field, not despite my body and historical situation, but, on the contrary, by being this body and this situation, and through them, all the rest.
   4.  If this world is a poem, it is not because we see the meaning of it at first but on the strength of its chance occurrences and paradoxes.