Bumbastories Inc. have obtained the following files which we are releasing to public view. The files were transmitted to us via nano-wave. It appears that the files come from the year 2125. Our own technicians have yet to fully understand how this transmission across time was accomplished.
Having nonetheless fully transcribed the first twenty-two files (we believe there are thirty-six files), Bumbastories is proud to publish them here – and hope that the successive files will arrive soon. The files contain a story titled The Journey of John Marshall, which apparently is (or will be) a well-known saga or movie-legend for the people of the 22nd century.
Note: The actual The Journey of John Marshall is preceded in the transmission by a Historical Introduction – a “neuro-recording” of a lecture delivered in the year 2125 to a class of university ”firsties”, or freshmen, history students. The lecturer is a Dr. Lionel Dejean, who is (or will be) a prominent and highly respected historian of the early 22nd century. Delivered as part of an audio-line lecture series in American History 101, Dr. Dejean’s Historical Introduction, as well as his occasionally interjected explanatory notes and remarks, will hopefully introduce the reader to some of the major themes of 21st century American history. Admittedly, the bulk of Dr. Dejean’s remarks are pedantic and heavy-handed; we feel we must apologize in advance for Dr. Dejean’s instructional style. It appears that college professors of the future turn out to be no less pompous and stuffy than the present lot.
Historical Introduction by Prof. Lionel Dejean
It was precisely one hundred and one years ago – in the first quarter of the year of 2024 – that the large P’s were first isolated. According to our best estimates, the small personality profiles (the small p’s) were first introduced into all Grid marketing operations during the early “Net-Grid period” of 2019 (according to Ginsberg, 2118). But judging from the available disc and archeological data – and this, I must emphasize, is my own, personal opinion – the actual discovery of the large P’s was an entirely serendipitous event. Yes students, it appears that many of the momentous events in our recorded history are simple chance occurences.
In any case, the small p’s had been, as they used to say, “OK” for 2020, but very quickly they became too data-rich, too heavy. A dead-end, another phrase from back then, had been reached. Faced with this problem – or perhaps simply serendipitously – the technocrats at the HTI’s (HTI’s were the 21st century Hi-Tech Institutions, formerly called universities) – extended the convergences of the small p symmetries….. And then once they integrated the additional convergences that were revealed – well, the large P’s simply emerged. They virtually jumped off the screen!
Of course, screens in the beginning of the last century were actual physical screens and they were quite massive in many cases. Thus, we can thus understand that the emergence of the large P’s was made especially dramatic or “large”. Thus the name large P’s.
Also, by the way, the speaker modules were simply gargantuan compared to today’s nano-links and implants. We must not forget that back in the early 21st century, technology had yet to evolve to sub-atomic chips. The present generation of 5D environments and four-generation mind-tunnels were still unknown. I dwell on the technology because it is important for us as historians to understand technology and to appreciate the impact of electronics in general on our history as a species. And in particular, the impact that this original piece of technology, this creation of the triple P’s, actually had upon our grandfathers’ generation. It was clearly a milestone in human history. Therefore it is very important that we tell this particular story. And, I must add, it is always (and in all cases to the best of my knowledge) a valid and noble enterprise to study history and to obtain a proper understanding of one’s place in this universe.
Unfortunately, our study of the 21st century is fraught with difficulties due to the destruction of records and files that occurred in the various wars and insurrections. But aside from the actual physical destruction, I must add, and quite notably too, that we have almost no credible commentary from the historians or scholars of the early and middle 21st century. And that is because there were almost no independent or “unconnected” historians left by that time. Morgenstern* has rightly termed the 21st century the “Second Dark Ages”. The Grid, which by 2038 had become the dominant Net hook-up, was indeed a sort of black hole. Indeed, the Grid mimicked the galactic black holes in that the Grid absorbed and saved all input. Once everyone was connected to the Grid, independent thought disappeared. Into the Grid itself.
Prof. Wilson of Greenland University has cited the “commercialized academic establishment” and the “psychology of mercantilism” that obviously were essential to the development of the early net-grid in the beginning of the 21st century. But once established, the Grid automatically channeled all thought and energy toward its own maintenance. The Grid was its own raison d’etre, as it were. In any case, reliable academic work by historians (and work by nearly all scientists in all fields for that matter) effectively ceased in the early years of the 21st century.
Now, since the revolution of 2068 we have resumed our study of history, of course. But it is clear to us now that the years of the late 20th and early 21st centuries were indeed a sort of Dark Ages in our peoples’ history. Indisputably, many remarkable advances were made in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, especially in chip technology and in time management/travel. And certainly the construction of the Grid was a formidable accomplishment. We cannot forget that. But the study of history, as well as any other pure scientific study of any kind, was not exactly encouraged by the Grid, to put it mildly. Pure academic study, as I say, essentially atrophied in the early 21st century. It is all quite regrettable, I suppose.
But to continue: By 2050 the first generation of computers as well as the old capitalist system of economics had reached its logical end. A new mythology, a new set of directions, a new orientation for the world-system, was needed. Consumerism, and the economics of constant growth could only go so far. The earth’s crust had been plundered and already lay half-barren. The world’s consumers, the human population base – 99% of whom were either connected to the Grid or otherwise under the “unanimity umbrella” – had been stimulated and out-wired for nearly three generations to want more and more consumer items. The physical health of the species together with their productive capacity – their ability to work – degenerated — just as the earth and the natural environment was becoming less and less able to sustain them. Eventually the whole machine was bound to run out of energy. And it did. But the creation of a new mythology is an arduous and lengthy process. It takes time to grow, time to take root.
Of course, the Grid was programmed to observe the onset of any new mythology and to thwart it. According to some revisionist historians, the Grid responded to that threat in the year 2040 by generating the PPP’s. My personal opinion, as I mentioned earlier, is that the discovery of the large P’s was serendipitous. In any case, the Grid was effectively rescued or extended for another twenty years by the P’s – nearly another human generation.
The PPP’s, the large projected personality profiles, once implemented, enabled the Grid to have nearly total control. For no new grid systems could be introduced once personality and free will (to use the old 20th century term) were deleted.
The Story of the P’s
Prof Dejean continues:
Surprisingly, only 4 axes were necessary to account for – or rather to create – all of the personality types necessary, i.e., all the IBM’s (individual behavior modes) or personalities in the majority of the world for most of the 21st century. To wit: the depressed/appetitive axis, the compliant/creative axis, the body-type/neuro-hierarchical axis, and then the social identification/self-image axis. Once the four axes were positioned, their convergences in 4-time revealed, or rather created, the Large P’s. And then quickly the PPP’s, the triple P’s, the large Projected Personality Profiles materialized. And the PPP’s could be generated on an 8-chip (as they are to this day).
By 2050, the P’s had become so completely dominant, so completely a part of people’s lives, that people — and there were nearly eight billion in the northern hemisphere alone — these people didn’t really know “themselves” in the way that we “know” ourselves today. As a footnote, I might add that the word “themselves” had a different meaning or “connote” just one century ago and specifically referred to “a group’s identification with a product or object” (according to the WikiDictionary, 2055 edition).
Since all personality functions were already predetermined or pre-set by the PPP’s, self-awareness became unnecessary, and indeed it, self-awareness, was highly problematic for the Grid. In fact, self-awareness was considered “downright harmful” – according to Senator Jenkins of Mississippi, who drafted the North America No Awareness Act of 2047. Psychiatric admissions and criminal “holds” on individuals with vestigial awarenesses had already overwhelmed the mental health system for several decades. The simple and elegant solution (or so it seemed at the time) was to finally allow the Grid to just absorb all individual awareness.
Thus, in 2058, the Grid generated its own authorization to remove all individual awarenesses and to store them on the Grid Operating System – with a huge upsurge of power obviously. Ironically, the awareness upsurge together with the Grid’s tendency to want to grow and further extend itself was soon to become the Grid’s undoing. In any case, by 2060 or thereabouts, the human race no longer retained any awareness that hadn’t been soaked up by the Grid. Consequently, our predecessors – our grandmas and grandpas – no longer retained any awareness that they possessed personalities or personas. Because all they were were personae, or projections – which had been downloaded. It was a simple process really, the downloading.