We are all aware of television’s ability to turn us into mindless zombies. But what if television could actually get inside our heads? What if our brains could be hacked and our most intimate thoughts, feelings and desires were broadcast for the world to see? Ben Shriver is about to find out…
Ben had been droning away at his desk for almost half a day when he received the package. It had his name on the card and was wrapped in what appeared to be golden ribbon. He unwrapped it carefully with trembling hands and the box exploded with sound.
“Congratulations Ben Shriver! You are today’s lucky Celebrilottery winner!”
His coworkers stopped their work and peered at him from over their cubicles.
“Grats Shriver,” said Gerald Manly, his cubicle mate. “It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving jackass.”
“Thanks Gerry,” Ben said, all smiles. Inside the box was a baseball sized object that took to the air hovering about three feet from Ben’s head. The lens cap slid open revealing an ominous red eye.
“Congratulations, Ben Shriver,” said a voice being pumped through tiny speakers on the hovering camera. “We here at Celebrilottery would like to welcome you to a once in a lifetime experience. Are you ready?”
“Do you give us permission to suspend your Biochip functions?”
Brain hacking my ass! Ben smiled, thinking of Mika’s unfounded worries. “Yes. Let’s do this!”
Vertigo seized him suddenly. When it subsided, he felt like he was in a dream. He was cognizant of what was going on around him, but unable to affect it. He had effectively become a spectator inside his own body. His arms and legs jerked awkwardly for a few seconds then a voice in his skull spoke. Hey there Benny Boy. It’s Elias Cartel here. You know who I am?
“Yes.” Ben answered. Elias Cartel was probably his favorite comedian on the circuit right now. “It’s an honor to work with you.”
Well I’m the one doing all the work, laughed Cartel. Let’s get started, huh? Do I have permission to suspend your Biochip for the duration of the show and use your voice and body in non-harmful, though potentially embarrassing ways?
“Yes.” With that one statement, Ben Shriver surrendered control of his body.
Excerpt taken from “Twisted Yarns” by Jason DeGray. Get it on Amazon now!
Religion isn’t the enemy of humanity. Ideas are. That’s what the Machine doesn’t want us to remember. All religions started out as ideas. As revolutionary ideas that shook up the complacency of society. So when the Machine turns society against religions it isn’t because God doesn’t exist and humanity needs a new age of reason. No. It’s exactly the opposite. The Machine turns us against religion to turn us against ideas. Against the notion that we deserve better–that society really isn’t the techno paradise that is presented to us. The Machine begs us to reject ideas, to reject change because once we start to do that, we realize that our lives, our rights and freedom itself isn’t a reality, but a carefully constructed illusion that only exists because the people have given up on ideas and exchanged freedom for comfortable complacency.
As always, the Tao is a well spring of truth and inspiration. Its complex simplicity can speak to your heart no matter what you are going through. After a chaotic day, I was trying to decide what to post. I flipped around in a few books for a while and then came back to the Tao. I immediately opened to this passage and a light went off in my head. Enjoy!
“The Great Way is easy,
yet people prefer the side paths.
Beware when things are out of balance.
Stay centered within the Tao.
When rich speculators prosper
while farmers lose their land;
when government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
when the upper class is extravagant and
while the poor have nowhere to turn–
all this is robbery and chaos.
It is not in keeping with the Tao.” The Tao Te Ching, chapter 53.
I often look at my life and wonder why I always seem to choose the side paths. The Great Way is easy. It’s outlined for us, written on our hearts by God. Whispered to us each day by His loving Spirit. Yet we always seem to say, “Yeah, yeah. That’s all good. But what about what’s over here…No I hear you. Just hold on a sec while I check it out…” And then everything gets thrown out of balance. Part of me says it’s the experience of life. But I ask that part, aren’t we supposed to learn from experience? Why do we seem to get caught up and sidetracked more often than we follow the simple advice of our hearts? For me personally, a lot of it has to do with my thinking that I know what’s best for me. I can handle this. I don’t need God or the Tao or any cryptic sayings of old dead men to tell me what to do. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Only, those old dead men knew what they were talking about. Say what you want about human progress, but people really haven’t changed. All that’s changed is fashion and technology. People are much the same today as they were thousands of years ago. All that technology has done for us is added another level of distraction to an already distracted populace. Now, when the government spends money on weapons instead of cures and the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible, the people scroll past it on their social media apps, only stopping long enough to give it a cursory “like” or to comment about “how horrible it is!” But that’s as far as the outrage is likely to go. And this…all of this…is not in keeping with the Tao. It seems there’s no sense in showing all that robbery and chaos when there’s a cute picture of a kitten covered in toilet paper instead.
Dear Blackberry People,
I recently got one of your Blackberry Pearl phones. As I’ve never had a Blackberry, I spent many hours pushing buttons and flipping through screens. Imagine my surprise when one random button I pushed activated the “Voice Command” option. A sexy female voice prompts me to “Say a command”. At first I applauded your ingenuity. To think! A smart phone that follows the commands I dictate to it! I couldn’t wait; I started saying commands.
I say, “Send Ninjas.”
Response: “Say again.”
I say, “Give me $100,000” (I’m not greedy).
Response: “Command not recognized.”
[At this point I’m getting frustrated, but I thought maybe I wasn’t speaking clear enough. So in a clear, articulate voice…]
I say, “Teleport me to Bora Bora.”
Response, “Did you say call Eric at work?”
I say, “Initiate world peace.”
Response, “I’m sorry. Try again?”
Now, either my phone is broken or your phones aren’t as smart as they (and you) would lead us to believe. I’m not asking for much. Just a replacement phone with a working “Voice Command” option. Something about commanding with my voice is very appealing. If you can’t do this, I understand. But you need to understand that in that event, I’ll be switching to a Droid. Because while a Droid isn’t as cool as a Blackberry with a working Voice Command, having a phone with little robot arms that talks like Stephen Hawking would be super cool too.
p.s. Something else that bothered me is that the model is named the Pearl. But it looks nothing like a pearl. Or even a clam for that matter.
PKD became convinced that his experiences during February and March of 1974 were the work of an outside force (which he named Zebra) projecting information to him. He also thought this force had been projecting to him for most of his life. He believed his works were inspired (at least in part) by the information received from Zebra. Enjoy!
Note: Italics are authors.
“No, damn it, it is like Ubik! The outside macrobrain is signaling us to wake up, we are like the characters in Eye, asleep–not on the floor of the bevatron, but while watching for Christ to return. We were made toxic–i.e., put into ‘half life’–as if killed. Fuck! I know it; Ubik is the paradigm. The half-life, the messages, Ubik itself, Runciter–we are in a sort of bubble of irreality: spurious world generated by–the plenary powers, astral determinism, whatever the fuck that is.
I give up. Its hold was broken over me in 3-74–Salvation is real. Paul was right. But technology is involved, a superior technology.”
Philip K. Dick Exegesis. p. 416