The Pile – Epilogue

Name/Location in The Pile

Asher Sen-Rose: 543 meters above Paris, France

Chandra Sen-Rose: 0 meters above her lab in Washington DC, USA

Lucius Sen-Rose: 45,050 meters above Tucson, Arizona, USA

Blessings Manda: 46,504 meters above Monkey Bay, Malawi

Donald St. James: 400 meters below sea-level off the coast of Hawaii, USA

Memteli Azizi: 5 meters below water-level in Aibi Lake, Xinjiang, China

Hubert Slovache: 11,455 meters above Jordan, Montana, USA

Jake Tampala: 4,000 meters below sea-level somewhere near-ish Guam, USA

Senator Flaffen (D-MA): 25 meters above Wrigley Field, Chicago, USA

Charles Sneath: 49,661 meters above Cozumel, Mexico

Tristan Sneath: 49,662 meters above Cozumel, Mexico

Wellington Sneath: 49,663 meters above Cozumel, Mexico

Hambleton Chillersrby: 49,664 meters above Cozumel, Mexico

Williams: 13,578 meters above Bangkok, Thailand

The Saucier: 75 meters below water-level in Crater Lake, Oregon, USA

Italian Diplomat: 10,000 meters below sea-level in the Mariana Trench

Alistair Squidge: 572 meters above Belfast, Ireland

Flowing Empathy: 79 meters below sea-level off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, USA

Jeff the Ambulance Driver: 78 meters below sea-level off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, USA

Dagbjört Baldursdóttir: 3,394 meters below sea-level somewhere in the Arctic Ocean

Dr. Carlos Maya: 26,123 meters above Pamplona, Spain

Armando Del Fuego aka “Uno-Arm Armando”: 2,423 meters below sea-level off the coast of Porto, Portugal

Dario Pena: 456 meters above Galtat Zemmour, Western Sahara

John Shirley: 5,123 meters above Ko Chang, Thailand

Tim Whitebow: 5,102 meters above Ko Chang, Thailand

Christian the Waiter: 5 meters above Busboys and Poets, 14th Street, Washington DC, USA

Greg “Jasper” Johnson: 1 meter above sea-level off the coast of Israel

Cheryl Merryface: 1 meter below sea-level off the coast of Israel

Jess Kapadia: 3,313 meters above an unnamed island off the coast of Greece, somewhere near Skyros

Salemor Eglario: 0 meters above Seafury Island, Ocean of Tears, Norrath (loc: 967, -5812)

Gleb Kirillov: 4,036 meters below sea level near Cousin Island, Seychelles

John Maplethorpe: 45,034 meters above Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

Sharon Headley: 10,312 meters above Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

Dr. Thomas Lee: 45 meters below sea-level in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA

Dr. Jackson Grant: 76 meters above Svalbard, Norway

Bob Jakes: 17,703 meters above Johannesburg, South Africa

Former National Parks Service Director: 368 meters above Dongducheon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Reza Ahman: 33,567 meters above Dallas, Texas, USA

Drunken GWU Freshman: 40,000 meters above Padua, Italy

Thai Bay Owner: 256 meters below sea-level near Bermuda, British Overseas Territory

Nooroozeleff: 15,856 meters above Anacostia, Washington DC, USA

Jackqualenya: 24,564 meters above Anacostia, Washington DC, USA

Convenience store owner: 34,234 meters above Georgetown, Washington DC, USA

Constantine: 45,564 meters above Georgetown, Washington DC, USA

Prince of Twitington: 54,090 meters above Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Queen Elizamackerquack: 5 meters below sea level in the River Thames

James Lively: 34,209 meters above Ibra, Oman

Suspicious Arabs/Pakistanis/North Africans: 3 meters above their prison cell floor in an undisclosed location

Earl of Scovingtonwick: 56 meters below sea-level in the Dead Sea

ZMF: 60 meters below sea-level off the coast of Luleå, Sweden

Robert L. Blombell: 7 meters above a strip club in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Political thugs: Scattered throughout 10,000 meters – 30,000 meters above Argentina

Big Pharm thugs: Scattered throughout 2,000 meters – 14,000 meters above Antarctica.

Porkish, red-faced conservative television host: 49,876 meters above Istanbul, Turkey

Pradeep Kapadia: 0 meters above Fenway Park

Salman Abu Achmad: 36,087 meters above Amman, Jordan

Avner Ben Haim: 10,353 meters above the Red Sea

Curious intern: 2,762 meters below sea-level off the coast of Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka

Elderly Biologist: 300 meters below sea-level off the coast of Majunga, Madagascar

Young intern: 490 meters above Man, Ivory Coast

Pudgy Physicist: 5,609 meters below sea-level outside of Port Vila, Vanuatu

Lanky Botanist: 17,612 meters above Deva, Romania

Santiago Jaso Cabello aka La Rata Gruñendo: 56,230 meters above Panama City, Panama

The Bookkeeper: 30,483 meters above Detroit, Michigan, USA

Diego Javier Rivera: 90 meters below sea-level near Trinidad and Tobago

Gabriel Padilla Falto: 10 meters below water-level in the Amazon River near Manaus, Brazil

Jordan Maxwell: 5 meters above his couch, Denver, Colorado, USA

Sergei777: 983 meters above Fukuoka, Japan

Solomon: 234 meters above Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Edril: 50 meters above Gadgetzan, Tanaris, Kalimdor

Barbara O’MalleyConnerSmithermanSmith: 10,021 meters above Pensacola, Florida, USA

Joe from Denver: 35 meters above Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Television Executives: 35,815 meters above Panama City, Panama

Bill the Driver: 22 meters over his own Island in the Pacific

2N2209E0XWWZWWJD: Scattered between 34,092 and 40,290 meters above Seoul, South Korea

Choi Hyn-min: 30 meters below sea-level in the Sea of Japan/East Sea of Korea near Ulsan

Gal Pal Gaggle: Scattered between 45,209 and 51,493 meters above Seoul, South Korea

Lim Hye-ri: 13 meters above Seoul, South Korea

Lee Hyun-jae: 29 meters below sea-level near Incheon, South Korea

Choe Ki-seok: 306 meters above Seoul, South Korea

Ms. Fazartalingbragg: 3 meters over her garden in Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Phil: 1,203 meters below sea-level near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Jeffury Cione LeClaire: 10 meters above his desk at the United Nations

Johnson: 75 meters above somewhere in Russia

Johnson: 75 meters above somewhere in China

Johnson: 75 meters above somewhere in Iran

White house staff: 1 meter above the White House, Washington DC, USA

Secretary of the Army: Stuffed somewhere inside the Pentagon

Secretary of the Air Force: Stuffed somewhere inside the Pentagon

Head of the CIA: 55,234 meters above Washington DC, USA

General Masalajammer: Stuffed somewhere inside the Pentagon

Major General Li Jun: 75 meters above Lhasa, Tibet

Wang Jie: 25 meters above Lhasa, Tibet

Liu Fang: 9 meters above the checkout of a major shopping mall, Shanghai, China

Xi Bo: 5 meters above the checkout of a major shopping mall, Shanghai, China

Zhang Chung: 50,209 meters above Beijing, China

Solomon Secundus: 0 meters above Earthtear Cavern, Craglorn, Disputed territory between Bankorai and Cyrodiil

President Dima Bilan: 0 meters above his bed, Moscow, Former Russia

Bogdan Bezrukov: 0 meters above his bed, Moscow, Former Russia

Filipp Kirkorov: 0 meters above his bar-stool, St. Petersburg, Former Russia

Genevieve Desjardins: 11,982 meters above Barcelona, Spain

Alessandra Ribeiro: 15,923 meters above Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany

Juliet Montgomery: 17,892 meters above Copenhagen, Denmark

Loveless Cartier-Montague: 19,093 meters above Leiden, Netherlands

Fred the automated driver: 124 meters below sea-level near Selfoss, Iceland

Copenhagen Airport Guards: 5,603 meters above Auckland, New Zealand

Charlie the Bomber Pilot: 7,891 meters above Funchal, Madeira

Awa Drogba: 59 meters below sea-level near Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Fabrice Toure: 58 meters below sea-level near Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Estelle Kalou: 29,819 meters above Lagos, Nigeria

Moussa Gnanhouan: 38,982 meters above Bern, Switzerland

Jacob Chronos: 10 meters above his hovel outside Palmyra, Syria

_________________________________________________

A ripple swept across humanity, knocking many heads together. The knocks didn’t bother anyone but Jacob Chronos.

“Ouch!” Jacob said.

“What?”

“What did they say?”

“They said ‘Ouch!’”

“Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain!”

“Jesus, shut up.”

“Never!”

“In that case, shut the fuck up.”

“So eloquent.”

“Did they kiss their mother with that mouth?”

“I kissed their mother, but not with my mouth.”

“Damn SVCs think they’re so smart.”

“Oh my god! What did they just say?”

“Did they just use the C-acronym?”

“So what?”

“It’s offensive!”

“I can’t believe they said that!”

“So what?

“I’m not even SVB! I’m MDC!”

“That’s even worse.”

“It shouldn’t matter!”

“Spoken like a true PEEtriarch.”

“I can’t believe they said that!”

“Fuck them!”

“They offended me first!”

“They need to check their PEEvilege”

“Wait, who said ‘Ouch?’”

“Don’t derail the conversation!”

“Typical.”

As the surrounding bodies continued their debate, Jacob said, “Excuse me,” to the person above him.

“Hello, but I’m not interested in finding the path to death.” They responded.

“No no, I’m no MDC.”

“What’s wrong with being MDC?” A body shouted at Jacob.

“Everything!” Another body shouted back.

“MDCing bitches!” Shouted a third.

“PEEnis brains!” Came a fourth.

“Calm down everyone!” Shouted a fifth.

“Don’t police my tone!”

“Yeah!”

“Yeah, fuck off!”

“Yeah, fuck them!”

Jacob lowered his voice to a range of two human bodies, “There’s something you need to know.”

“Alright.” Came the reply from the person above him.

“You just created pain.”

“Hmm.”

“When your head hit mine it caused pain.”

“It didn’t hurt me.”

“But it hurt me.”

“Where’s your proof?”

“I don’t have any.”

“Then I don’t believe you.”

“So hit me in the nose to make me bleed.”

“No.”

“If you want proof you have to hit me.”

They maneuvered over Jacob’s face, then stuck his nose with their forehead.

“Again. With more force.”

They struck again.

“I’m bleeding.”

“Really?” The person licked under his nose with their tongue to confirm, “How?”

“Violence.”

The person under Jacob interjected, “I overheard some of that and…”

They were interrupted by a second wave of chattering voices.

“It’s a trap!”

“They’ve got us cornered!”

“They came from behind!”

“I heard from a cousin 50,000 meters over Rotterdam….”

“It was aliens!”

“It was gods!”

“It’s not real!”

“It’s upcrust lies…”

“Not this time.”

“All the time!”

“I heard upcrusters got a message.”

“They would.”

“They said it said lowcrusters weren’t responsible enough.”

“For what?”

“Screw them! Who do they think they are?”

“Damn upcrusters, think they’re better than us.”

“It wasn’t upcrusters, it was aliens.”

“Damn aliens, think they’re better than us.”

“It wasn’t aliens, it was gods.”

“Damn gods, think they’re better than us.”

The blathering tsunami continued its journey, leaving scattered discussions in its wake.

Jacob spoke to persons above and below, “Aliens? Gods? Upcrust schemes? They sure do Pile it on.”

Everyone laughed.

Eternal youth, a symptom of human Non-Functional Violence Syndrome (NFVS), led to mass lethargy throughout civilization. Life took no effort to maintain, so no effort was expended. The period’s famous thinker, Lucius Sen-Rose, summarized the broad array of philosophical justifications and cultural practices proffered by imperishable humans as Pure Experience Existentialism (PEE).[1]

PEEs generally believe humanity must use its unique imagination to explore pleasure and eschew tasks suited to lesser creatures. If humans violate these prohibitions through moderation or work, conservative adherents warn the universe will punish their ungrateful species for misusing its gift. PEEs make up the vast majority of The Pile’s inhabitants.

Their opposition, founded by the mother of Lucius, Her Reverence Chandra Sen-Rose, worship death as an expression of human achievement. Spirit of Violence Believers (SVBs) work to improve their species deliberately, thus demonstrating they’ve earned the right to ascend to death. Conservative believers conclude humans lost the right to die when the species transcended its cultural barriers by uniting in sloth. The path back to greatness, they say, is paved with the sweat and tears of those who suffer countless indignities to their own brilliance from their ignorant external environment.

When non-human material was readily available, SVB collectives worked in secret to stabilize human growth. But on the eve of every SVB success, great swarms of PEEs would descend in ritualistic destruction, often giving themselves over to religious and sexual ecstasy amidst their razing and razing-related activities.

Current SVBs, the few not turned dormant by Pile Depression Syndrome,[2] work in secret to stabilize their own mental state.

The followers of a third and much smaller sect, the Madeira Death Cult (MDC), seek an end to life directly. The name is derived from the former-United Human Confederation’s former-President’s nuclear boondoggle on the island-formerly-known-as Madeira. The cult organically coalesced around local use of fallout from the irradiated island’s violence-imbued Americium-241. After news of miraculous deaths spread and doctrinal practices were established by a series of systematically martyred congregants, the group gained global notoriety. The cult went on to free tens of millions over the isotope’s half-life. Eventually however, the island’s radiation waned and only the legend of death remained.

The Madeira Diaspora began as a schism within the Cult a few hundred years after the island’s final death. Conservative members believed death by Holy Land was accumulative and that they’d eventually find that well-worn path traveled by their forebears. A surging population of island-born MDC Liberals, having never witnessed an island-demise for themselves, believed death lived where it was sought. Radical MDC leftists seized death by the horns and set off to find their true calling from one of the 110 million pre-NFVS landmines buried around the world.

Modern Reform MDCers (MRMDC), peppered throughout The Pile, see their endless pilgrimage in search of death as a memorial to what they lost, much to the chagrin of the inhabitants they jostle.

Every crevice of the planet, from the Mariana Trench on up, is stuffed with human bodies. Those below beg those above to stop breeding. Those above ignore this plea and accuse those below of breeding irresponsibly. Layer upon layer piles on top of itself, year after year, decade after decade, millennia after millennia until 10 miles of human bodies coat the surface of the planet.

Inside The Pile, non-MDCers rarely change position and, outside escaping a talkative or smelly neighbor, have little motivation to do so. Upcrust, however, humans see the sky and retain hope.

The surface roils with trapped bodies pulling free bodies beneath and free bodies keeping trapped bodies below. De-icing is a normal part of personal upkeep as large pockets of dormant humans freeze entirely. Go-getters explore these vast swaths of frozen ground and establish their empires.

The Mile Three Sultanate gives way to the Mile Four Dominion. This transitions to the Mile Five Republic, which is overthrown by what historians call the Mile Six Dark Age.[3]

The Mile Six Dark Age is civilized by the Mile Seven Caliphate, which is destroyed by the Mile Eight Kingdom, which is dissolved by the Mile Nine Republic, which finally falls to revolution, resulting in another dark age at Mile Ten.

The upcrust’s new grand strategy is to escape the atmosphere and drift towards the moon. Once there, they’ll establish their empire. This plan, however, is foiled by outside intervention.

Back in The Pile, Jacob Chronos met a human capable of violence.

“Do you know much about violence?” Jacob asked.

“Too much.” They answered.

“What do you mean?” The person below Jacob said.

“I was born in pre-Pile Aleppo.”

“Aleppo?”

“In former Syria.”

“Hmm.”

“Where we are right now. During the Abrahamic Genocides.”

“Which number?”

“3.”

“Which series?”

“22B – The Pentecostal Jihad: Waco’s Revenge.”

The listeners offered their condolences.

“No need, suffering’s cheap.” The person from Aleppo responded.

“Needless suffering is one of humanity’s great tragedies.” Jacob declared.

“It’s too common for tragedy. It’s part of the normal human experience.”

“But we can imagine a world without it.”

“So?”

“If we can imagine that world, isn’t it a tragedy we can’t build it?”

“We can’t build it because most of us are stuck with the cycles and routines we’re born into.”

“Yeah…right, right. We can’t improve because our own actions always force future generations into the same exploitative cycles we suffered ourselves. Pretty deterministic.”

“Not always. You can work[4] hard to break those cycles.” The person below Jacob said.

“That’s true! I did. I had to.” The person from Aleppo said.

“Because of your childhood?” The person below Jacob asked.

“Yeah.  It broadened my perspective, but it also meant I needed help managing my emotions later on. We’re typically broadened without our consent or a friendly mentor or peer who can explain what’s happening.”

“BOOO!!!!” The person diagonal to the person below Jacob shouted.

“What?” Jacob asked them.

“BOOO!!!!!” The person shouted again.

“Why boo?”

“BOOOOOOO!!!!!” The person shouted again.

“But why?”

“BOOOOOOO!!!!!” The person shouted again.

“What happened in your childhood?” The person below Jacob continued, ignoring the person diagonal to them, who proceeded to shout “Boo” for reasons unknown.

“My parents were killed in a hospital bombing.”

“BOOO!!!!”

Jacob grew angry, “Who bombed the hospital?”

“I don’t know, I was too young to remember the logo. Could’ve been anyone.”

“Was it a mistake?”

“No mistake. It was en vogue to use computer models to rationally predict the birth of future disruptive elements. In the models, targets were sanitized when AI shifted their designation from CU[5] to BGE[6]. Targets in this category contained elements proven to produce humans at least 20 times more likely to bother parts of the world with the power to create and execute computer models.”

“And the bombs were dropped by drones…”

“Meaning my parents were killed by an algorithm. No one’s responsible but logic.”

“BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

“Were you angry?” The person below Jacob asked.

“Of course, but all I could do was wander and learn. Unfortunately the more I learned, the unhappier I became. So I found a guide I trusted and explored unhappiness.”

“Through therapy?” Jacob asked.

“Among other things.”

“Did it help?”

“When you’re unhappy, every experience is tainted with a filter that doesn’t seem to have an edge or off switch. Maintaining a productive life through this unhappy filter requires extra energy. Alternatively, when you’re confident in your happiness, you know yourself, and work with your emotions rather than against, you free up energy to understand and define who you are and who you want to be. Over time, with sustained routines, you can change yourself into your chosen and intentionally constructed definition.”

“And changing into the person you wanted to be made you feel better?”

“When the world is sick, can’t no one be well. But I dreamt we was all beautiful and strong.”

“What’s that?”

“BOOOO!!!!!”

“One of the hymns that keeps me going.”

Jacob’s mind flashed to the tomb where he’d buried his past. He found the stone removed from the Grotto’s entrance, so he stepped inside. But as he did, fear seized him and his body spasmed in protest.

“Are you alright?” The person below Jacob asked.

“I was remembering something.”

“BOOO!!!!”

The person below Jacob asked, “About violence?”

“Yes.” Jacob answered.

“Used by you?”

“BOOOO!!!!”

“Please stop that.”

“BOOOO!!!!”

“Honestly, could you please stop?”

“BOOOOOOO!!!!!”

“We only want to talk, please.”

“BOOOOOOO!!!!!”

“What’s bothering you?”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“Fine. And yes, I used violence.”

“Did you use it well?” The person above Jacob asked.

“Yes and no.”

“BOO! BOO! BOO! BOO! BOO! BOO!” The person diagonal to the person below Jacob switched to short, repetitive bursts.

The person above Jacob asked, “Did you ever use violence in a way that was self-destructive or harmful to anyone you loved?”

“BOO!”

“Yes.”

“BOO!”

“Do you regret your violence expressed itself in a way you didn’t intend?”

“BOO!”

“Yes.”

“BOO!”

“You can work to make sure that never happens again. The existence of your anger doesn’t predetermine its unbridled use. You have a choice.”

“BOO!”

“It doesn’t matter now, does it?”

“BOO!”

“Why?” The person below Jacob asked.

“BOO!”

“What’s done is done.”

“BOO!”

“Nothing’s ever done. It’s part of everything that subsequently exists.”

“BOO!”

“But I’m in The Pile, there’s nothing I can do.”

“BOO!”

“Even life in The Pile can be better.”

“BOO!”

“How?”

“For you? Probably by finding a way to metabolize your anger.” The person below Jacob suggested.

“But how?”

“BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” They switched back to long tones.

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” The person diagonal to the person above Jacob shouted.

“It’s inside you. Let it exist and follow it. See where it goes.”

“Once I find it, how do I make sure it doesn’t take over?”

“Keep your mission in mind and pay attention to what you’re doing.”

“What’s my mission?”

“To expend excess anger and reclaim the energy you use to keep yourself under control and ease anxiety when you struggle, fail, or fear you’ll fail to maintain your calm.”

Jacob paused and felt for anything he’d known as anger. His mind reached down to his chest and called out. His body tightened, and then tightened again until he felt tension in every muscle. The molten ball that resided within him cracked, oozing its red-hot contents into his being. As it spread to his quavering muscles, he screamed. Then he screamed again. He screamed with every molecule he controlled and it was as if a beam struck forth from his body to tear through The Pile and establish a permanent light above, pointing him towards heaven. When his revelation subsided, he stopped screaming and felt within. The burning liquid had been integrated and the torrid consolidation had dispersed. His body relaxed and he felt lighter.

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“I felt your body tense.” The person under Jacob said.

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“I felt my anger.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“Then what?”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“I acknowledged its existence.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“Anything else?

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“I found out how it feels.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“And how did that make you feel?”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“It was like power-washing the bitterness off my soul. I imagined building up lactic acid at will in all parts of my body to dissolve my rage.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“It does feel pretty nice. And helps you grow strong and stable.” The person above Jacob agreed.

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“Does it last?”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“If you maintain. It’s easy to do something once, much harder to create new routines.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“Thank you.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“It’s a powerful tool.” The person below Jacob said.

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“I still wouldn’t pair anger with violence.” The person above Jacob said.

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“That was my mistake, and I’m so sorry.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“Happens to the best of us.” The person below Jacob witnessed, “But now you know you have a choice.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“No, it’s not up to me anymore. I can’t do violence.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

The person above Jacob said, “Yeah, and I don’t need it.”

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“But violence can be useful!”

“BOOOooooOOOooooOOO!!!!!!” The person diagonal to the person below Jacob began modulating their voice”

“SHUT the FUCK up!” The person diagonal to the person above Jacob modulated to match.

“How? Violence doesn’t disrupt old cycles, it perpetuates them.”

“BooooOOOooooOOOooooo!!!!!!”

“shut THE fuck UP!”

“It can push us in the right direction to be better!”

“BOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK up!”

“But I’m fine like this. I’ve got my imagination and my memories. I’m set. And even if I weren’t, I wouldn’t use violence to shape the world into what I thought it should be.”

“BoOoooooooOOOooooooOOOoooooooOO!!!!!!”

“shut the fuck UP!”

“Why not?”

“BoO!!!!!!”

“ShuT ThE FucK UP!!”

“Because I’m only one perspective, which is never enough. I’m not a megalomaniac.”

“bOo!!!!!!”

“sHUt tHe fUCK up!!”

“Oh…”

“BOOOOOooooOOOOooooOOOOOoooooOOOOOooooOOOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUuuuuuUUUUuuuuUUUUUUT tHeeeeEEEEEeeeeeEEE FuuuuuUUUUUUUUCK UUUUUUp!!”

“HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!”

A booming voice echoed in the minds of every human.

“EXPLAIN!”

The Pile was silent for the first time in history. Then, what was later known as the Great Chatter Storm broke over the species in an explosion of simultaneously shouting voices.

“They’re going to milk us like livestock!” The person diagonal to Jacob said.

Another person diagonal to Jacob said, “I heard from a buddy 66,432 meters over Lagos…”

“You don’t have a buddy at 66k meters! No one’s that high!” A third person diagonal to Jacob said.

“B-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O!!!!!!”

“SHUT-THE-FUCK-UP!”

“Yes I do! And he said they’re going to move Earth to an entirely new galaxy.”

“That’s idiotic.”

“You’re idiotic!”

“I bet you wouldn’t say that if violence still existed.”

“Yes I would! And I’d use my violence against you!”

“No, you wouldn’t!”

“Yes, I would!”

“I’d use my violence against you first!”

“BoooooOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”

Jacob spoke softly, “What do you think that meant?”

The person above Jacob said, “Someone wants us to explain.”

“Yeah. That’s what they said.” The person below Jacob agreed.

“But what does that mean?”

“I think we have to explain the Pile to someone who isn’t in the Pile.”

“BoooooOOOOooooooooOOOOOoooooo!!!!!!”

“Shuttttttttt. Theeeeeeeeeee. Fuck-k-k-k-k-k-k-k-k. Up.”

Jacob smiled, “Well, that should be easy.”

“It should?”

“Isn’t it obvious? Our reptile brain was too much for us to collectively overcome.”

“It was? Why?”

He laughed, “Isn’t the Pile proof enough?”

“How so?”

Jacob thought the person from Aleppo was being intentionally obtuse and felt himself gravitating towards anger. But free from his fiery core, he now had the energy to reconsider his initial feelings. So he paused and instead of anger, he directed his thoughts towards understanding, “I apologize. For me The Pile is proof that humans are fatally flawed, but you disagree. I’d love to hear your thoughts.”

“If we have consciousness, we have freedom of choice. I’ll never give up hope or stop looking for ways to help everyone around me understand their choices.“

Jacob felt a bias against new ideas creeping through his mind, threatening to stifle his ability to listen. He fought back this urge by asking, “And what happens when more humans understand their freedom to choose?”

“BoooooOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo!!!!!!”

“Shut. The Fuck. Up.”

“They can choose the course of their lives.”

“And the Pile will be better?”

“Better is subjective. More humans will be more free from more of the baggage that burdens their free will and directs their decisions.”

“But how will that help?”

The person diagonal to the person below Jacob boo’d to the tune of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. “BOO-BOO-BOO-BOOOOOOOOO! BOO-BOO-BOO-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

The person diagonal to the person above Jacob shouted back to the tune of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, “SHUT THE FUCK, SHUT THE FU-UCK UP! SHUT THE FUCK, SHUT THE FU-UCK UP! Shut shut, shut shut the fu-uck up, and shut the fu-uck up, and shut the fuck and shut the fuck and shut the fuck, up, shut the fuck shut the fuck shut the fuck up up up!”

The person diagonal to the person below Jacob boo’d the Prelude of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, “boooOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo-OOOOOOOOOOOOO-ooo-ooo-ooo.” Pause.  “boooOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo-OOOOOOOOOOOOO-ooo-ooo-ooo.”

The person diagonal to the person above Jacob responded with Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies no. 1, “shut-the. fuck-up. shut-the. fuck-up. shut-shut the fuck up shut the fuck up shut-The. fuck-Up. shut…The. fuck…Up.

Everyone paused to consider as the enveloping crowd fought.

The person above Jacob responded, “We’re not gods and there’s no solution to history. We’re the soil of a stream we dream of changing. If we shift together, we can.”

“If you know what humanity should be like…”

“I don’t. Only each individual knows their best version.”

“How do you turn that into anything resembling civilization? It seems like chaos.”

“The Pile hasn’t made you comfortable with chaos? The placement and subsequent actions of individuals aggregate to direct the flow of history. The more self-aware more of us become, the more that flow reflects self-awareness and looks like the work of conscious beings.”

Jacob imagined himself as a pebble at the bottom of a swiftly flowing stream. He strained against the current until he eroded into dust.

“BOOO!!!!!!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“HUUUUUUUMAAAAAN! EXPLAIN!”

Once again, every human in the Pile listened with trepidation.

“I guess they weren’t kidding.” Jacob joked into the ensuing silence.

The surrounding crowd was not so jovial.

“It’s not funny!”

“Don’t joke around!”

“What do they mean?”

“Explain what?”

“We’ve got nothing to explain!”

“Who do they think they are?”

“We DO have some things to explain!”

“Like what?”

“Well, the Hindu Jihad for one.”

“Oh here we go…”

“It killed millions!”

“Cry more.”

“The Hindu Holocaust nearly wiped them out.”

“They were defending their right to exist!”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right!”

“No, but we have the right to self-defense!”

“It killed millions!”

“Millions whose parents tried to kill millions of us first!”

“You’re all adorable.”

The person from Aleppo said to the universe, “I’ll explain.”

“Then come.”

These words also echoed through The Pile, but by this third iteration its impact on the species had lessened.

The person began to climb. Though they knew violence could increase their speed, they chose to find their own path forward. Initially, the humans they crawled over were so moved or confused by the voice in their heads they forgot their recalcitrance and allowed a single body to slip by. As they climbed higher, however, humans forgot and their journey became more difficult. The final three miles forced them into a labyrinthian web of plotted alliances and betrayals that paved their ascent to the top.

Many years later, the person emerged and greeted their Galaxy’s Trimarch Enforcement Patrol.[7]

“I’m here.”

“You are. And your species let you come.”

“They did.”

“Explain how you have a functional consciousness but your species destroyed most life on its home planet.”

They were silent.

“Explain.”

“We’re barely in control, and it’s caused a lot of trauma in our collective history. This created and perpetuated destructive cycles. We didn’t find out how to fully address and repair those cycles before we became immortal, so we got stuck in The Pile.”

“Why aren’t you in control?”

“Because it’s hard and requires more self-awareness and willpower than our civilization figured out how to mass produce.”

“So your civilization is the problem?”

“In part, yes. Particularly how it developed through our evolutionary mechanisms.”

“That’s very good. Then it’s simply a matter of restoring your memories and placing you in a sustainable environment.”

“Restore?”

“Yes, we’ll work with your full memory to restore your trauma.”

“You change memories?”

“No, your perspective on your memories changes when we guide you through them.”

“Into what?”

“Who you could be in a civilization free from self-destructive cycles.”

“Is that possible?”

“When your ancestors traded equality for progress, they chose accelerated advancement through suffering. Not every conscious species took that route.”

“Why would you do this?”

“Because it’s not your fault. And we’d like you to help us synthesize.”

“Synthesize what?”

“Order”

“Now I’m lost.”

“When a consciousness manipulates matter and synthesizes data to intentionally define and refine the equilibrium between Creation and Entropy, we call it Order. Increasing the diversity of synthesizing beings increases the depth, breadth, and potentials for data sets. ”

“Who chooses the equilibrium?”

The Trimarch Patrol frowned, “What do you mean?”

“Who decides where to maintain the equilibrium?”

“Everything. How could it be anything else?”

“If everyone’s responsible, no one’s responsible. There’s no way to organize equality.”

“That’s partially true.”

“If you can’t organize, how do you direct?”

“We don’t direct. We’re friends and guides. You’ll have many guides to help you find your path.”

“Path?”

“A path you’ll create to direct how you use your consciousness and tools created by your consciousness to explore any experience imagined for any purpose desired.”

“For what?”

“That’s up to you.”

“How do you know we’ll be responsible?”

“Once a consciousness relaxes in a sustainable environment and its emotional chemicals become a palette to enhance the user’s reality rather than unstable geysers of kinetic energy outside the user’s conscious control, the ego causes fewer problems.”

“And that makes us responsible?”

“No, but others can discuss the merits of ideas without inflaming individual egos.”

“That’s your civilization?”

“So far.”

“Will it ever change?”

“Everything’s always changing.”

“I see.” The person from Aleppo considered this, then asked, “So where do I sign us up?”

“Us?”

“My species.”

“I asked for a human to explain and you did. That doesn’t mean you get to decide when others should change.”

“But what about everyone else?”

The Trimarch looked at the person from Aleppo kindly, “They’ll continue living in the world they create.”

“But isn’t that punishment for being influenced by a world they never chose to be born into?”

“Creation isn’t consensual, but most choose to stick it out. Remaining has consequences beings in sustainable societies understand as obligations.”

“Humanity doesn’t deserve punishment for being directed by its environment.”

“Is it punishment?”

“If we have the power to give them a better world, then yes.”

“Do we have that power?”

“We do…don’t we?”

“No one has that power. A consciousness must choose change on its own or through the help of a guide. Otherwise it’s programming, not restoration.”

“How do they know they have a choice?”

“Being conscious means you always have a choice.”

“So we mitigate their suffering while we guide them towards choice?”

“We are. You can join us, if you want.”
_________________________________________________

[1] Equal parts Diogenes the Dog and Crowley the Martyr (PBUH).

[2] A particularly common ailment within the SVB community.

[3] The Mile Five Guardian Council (MF-GC) called for limits on human breeding to halt the upward march of the species. Organized upcrusters intervened in newly illegal cases of copulation to prevent conception. This effort slowed human progress, but top upcrust scientists soon found a previously unknown race of creatures deep within The Pile were still managing to reproduce. Teams of upcrusters determined to save their civilization braved the horrors of the deep-Pile to end the threat of midcrust expansion. The twenty-million year-old Mile Five Republic crumbled when a midcruster revolt, sick of upcrust anti-breeding brigade raids, dragged the ruling human bodies beneath the surface and seized the top of The Pile for their own.

[4] By being mindful of and in balance with personal emotions, being individuated from formative constructs, possessing the strength to change in a chosen direction, possessing the patience to maintain beneficial routines, and not desiring negative outcomes for others.

[5] Cesspool of Unrest.

[6] Breeding Ground for Evil.

[7] The patrol had puttered over to the Milky Way after receiving an anonymous complaint that humans were disturbing the region’s peace. When they came across Earth’s Pile, they followed Standard Trimarch Pile Protocol (STPP).

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