It’s Good to Be Back

(Disclaimer: If this post causes emotional discomfort, please confront your demons by heeding wise advice.)

I was spontaneous yesterday.

Now, for those of you who know me — it really does depend which era of me you know, now, doesn’t it?

Let’s try this again. For those of you who have known me in the past couple of years, maybe three, you’ll probably gasp when I, of all people, say “spontaneity”. And I know exactly why; I know the reasons for your surprise probably better than I let on, as I do with most things in life, to be honest.

So why was being spontaneous a big deal for me?

Because, mates, it’s good to be back.

You look at me and think, “but you didn’t go anywhere”. Physically no, but in the past two years I did go down a path I once promised myself to never venture. I promised myself I wouldn’t because of how many people I lost to it — the cancer of the mind, eating away at the soul, leaving behind a mere shell of a human body to remind us that yes, this living, breathing, entity is our responsibility.

So I left. I couldn’t leave physically — I had too many commitments out here in the city, a life I’ve spent a decade trying to build and am still dissatisfied with my efforts, knowing how far I’ve fallen when I look at how much I achieved once upon a time.

I couldn’t leave mentally — no, my brain is generally over stimulated due to intelligence, which, unfortunately for a lot of people, means I have no off-switch. I notice things. Then I understand concepts because I’ve seen it somewhere before, so I associate that and make a connection. That link tends to be more logical than emotional because I like being objective, studying the facts, understanding the patterns.

Logic is my comfort zone.

But I left, emotionally. It was one of the longest journeys I’ve ever taken — to be completely void of emotions and shut down, tuned out from the world around, still hearing details but feeling like everything is meaningless. Sometimes, this can be a good feeling, like if that emptiness is actually contentment and peace. If that emptiness is actually silence and solitude. What I felt though, was far from that.

At first.

It was a lonely emptiness, where not only did I feel like no one could relate to me, but that I hadn’t found a way to relate to myself. I was so far gone, so different, so…unfamiliar to myself. Most people think I had it done to me, that I was a victim of victimless crimes; that I was subject to whatever abuse had led me down that path. But it was my morbid curiosity, because I chose those situations knowing that I am entertained by aggression.

Aggressors find my amusement annoying. It adds fuel to the fire, pushes their limits; unable to laugh at themselves, the angry flip from aggression to full on abuse.

Of course it’s fun, it’s like that predictable explosion, a controlled avalanche.

And it’s what I do, I laugh in the face of rage. I laugh, because I understand anger, I know rage, I terrorized them a long time ago, and they are now subservient to my control. I don’t avoid it, but I generally don’t project it either. So yes, watching each and every single one of you flip out in vengeance does entertain me, because I remember what it was like to be immature.

I remember what it was like to be insecure.

But I also remember…what it’s like to be fearless in the face of insecurity.

My darlings, like I said, it’s good to be back. Oh, how I’ve missed you…

G.

The Change

This story is inspired by Huxley’s Brave New World and Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Brave New World. 

He swung his rucksack over his shoulder and pulled the door shut behind him as he left the house, once again ready to fly solo into the battlefield. It was an average sunny morning with nothing new except his thoughts and theories which consumed him faster than the speed of light. All geared up with his knives and a crossbow, he skipped down the stairs, realising that the agonising discipline he had endured for the past decade was finally coming into play. He’d never understood why he’d been put through combat training, until about a year ago…

It was late July, halfway into the summer, that he was navigating around various city-states in his surrounding area. In this age of technology, though, his exploration was mostly conducted by travelling through cyberspace. He would navigate from state to state, find the most feasible settling point, and experiment by scouting around the boarders. For months, he had established Influence over certain city-states and civilisations, but it wasn’t until November that he had stumbled upon a civilisation that fully encompassed the types of battles for which he was trained.

In months, he had created a weapon that could ultimately destroy a civilisation of Megalopolises; a weapon that would break through the defense of Superficiality and thus expose and attack flaccidity of the archenemy both as an entity and as individuals. The downside, however, was that his weapon also unmasked his own weaknesses, and he needed to reconstruct a certain set of defenses accordingly. However, as he had allied with a small but strong Civilisation, he ended up investing most of his energy into fueling the weapon and hadn’t quite strengthened his defenses, so just over half a year later, when the Megalopolis decided to unite and declare war against this Civilisation, it was hardly a secret that his stronghold came crashing down, leaving fragments of debris on everything he touched.

With each battle, he felt weakened and defeated. But what his enemies didn’t know is that each scar they inflicted only fueled the fire and passion it took to take down this flawed and corrupt system. Two months after the initial battle, he decided to coalesce with the Army General to enhance the pre-existing weapon and defend it with double the aegis. They devised a strategy that was everything he had hoped, months ago, to enforce, but given the fact that the weapon was still in its phase of refurbishment, he decided that it was still too early in the game to bring out the big guns and fire the ultimatum. Instead, the Army decided it best to ultilise the information uncovered by their diplomats to administer alternate methods.

Finally, after three and a half months of provocation and warfare, he felt ready to save the society from falling down a swirling abyss of soon-to-be Betas of the Brave New World. The Civilisation had devised a strategy to conquer the boundaries of a backward society and catapult these Megalopolises into progressing in a universally sanctioned direction. Fueled with a passion that went both ways, he was fully equipped to train certain Melee units to defend their assets and enhance the skills they had already developed, but also to take on the antagonistic opposition from Greater Civilisations.

Each Melee Unit he was handed to train was equipped with their own set of weapons, and it was his job to cultivate these units into armies that could handle the Great Battle which was yet to come. These little battles that were coming his way at a rapidly unexpected pace were merely his next level of training, which is why he understood the importance of training his Melee Units as rigorously as possible.

The Great Battle was one he knew he was definitely not ready to face yet: What happens when his Melee Units reach their Age of Enlightenment and besiege the Megalopolis? How hard will the Megalopolis fight back then? Somehow though, his reassurance lay in the fact that they knew how to strategise around these impediments, which is why he allowed himself to sustain a few broken bones and scratches here and there: he knew they would grow back stronger, and that he would be able to take on the Ultimate Battle when it stares him in the face. For now, he just has to go on training his Units, and defend their Freedom without the Megalopolis trying to eradicate it. Being one of the few Civilisations in the Information Era, he knew he would have to wait a long time until his Melee Units moved out of the Industrial Era. That, or he needed to find a new method of combat training.

With every demonstration during the training sessions, his Melee Units felt threatened and weakened, but they didn’t yet understand that this was his way of strengthening them. They didn’t understand that the only way to grow was to conquer the existing Challenges before they could be upgraded to a stronger Unit. After three months of battling and Melee Training, he had finally come to discover that although his armies were equipped with tons of state-of-the-art weaponry, none of them had been trained to actually use any of it, so in the first few sessions when he asked them to try to use it, they all ended up shooting themselves in the foot or poking an eye out one way or another.

In his mind palace, he realised that these armies would take much more training that he had anticipated, which was surprising considering how modern their military technology and weaponry supplies were. He knew what had to be done, and knew what the ultimate goal was, but as for how to win the battle, well first, he had to decided which ones were worth the fight. But he knew. He knew that the Ultimate Battle, or the Great Battle, would only be fought when he had enough Flight Units to intercept the opposition. And for now, he would continue with his various forms of research that would provide substance and options for stronger weapons and more fine-tuned training tools to cater to the unpredicted needs of units that have been bred but not trained. He was tired of seeing his government funding the nation’s military but not actually training the army to use the tools, and considering the fact that this Megalopolis was considered to be one of the most advanced Civilisations in the whole world, his jaw dropped when he discovered that one of his Units whom he had trained for a sheer 9-month period had more common sense than the entire government. They were living proof that his expectations for the Units were not irrational or impractical, and though he may be somewhat idealistic at times, each losing battle only drove his cynicism, which in turn nourished his Strength.

And although he was very well trained and equipped to attack and dominate, the Civilisation didn’t feel that he was ready to be put on the frontlines yet. Instead, they were training his defenses and setting up the battlefield, so that when they did unleash his Ultimatum, it would act like an abstract Apache AH-64 trained to only shoot down Enemy Thoughts but keep the civilians and their Freedom safe. Tough and heart-wrenching as the process sometimes was, he promised himself that he would live to see the day when the Change took place. When the Change he had spent a decade trying to implement happens, he would be on the frontlines with a PHASR rifle to blind and suspend Enemy Thoughts, and an MAARS to launch grenades of Liberated Knowledge which his Melee Units will use to defend their Liberated Minds. So for now, no matter how much damage he undergoes, as long as he has his moments to fortify and heal, he will live to be there when The Change happens, and he would sacrifice his reputation to achieve the ultimate goal of breaking through the Stereotypes and Traditionalism of a conservative, unenlightened and ignorant Megalopolis.

Until then, he wasn’t fighting alone, and besides his immediate allies, he had, within his mind palace, the defenses of Machiavelli, Huxley, Kafka, Sartre, Hobbes, Rousseau, Thoreau and Kant. For now, he told himself 8 words:

頂天立地
永不放棄