a psychological hack



"A psychological hack." That's what Loki had said, but the words' meaning hadn't sunk into mind until now. Most buildings in this world weren't created to communicate anything. They were hardly even designed to accommodate the tasks for which humans used them. There were all these regulations that they placed on what was and wasn't allowed in the construction of these buildings. Of course, the regulations were only enforced in some cases, for instance, when a house was sold or purchased or initially constructed. So there were times when a building was created under one set of rules, which were no longer in force. Thus a similar construction could be built in the same way. Additionally, there were places that allowed for less strict rules, and if you had enough money, of course, you can break whatever rules you want, or rather have rules made to your liking. That's the shit that brings the rage so she tried not to think about that specific part, there was no point in just getting mad. Walking through the open air market, she felt like this could be described as a kind of cathedral. It was a massive labyrinth tight congested almost claustrophobic. It wasn't a cathedral in the standard sense, but that's only because the traditional idea required 3 dimentional structure, built to singular purpose. This could better be described as a 2D structure with extremely high surface area rather than a 3d one with huge volume. Additionally it wasn't built, rather, it had grown. She didn't get lost in this place despite how large it was. There was so much data, there were all these people selling so many wares of different kind, this place had only shoes and that place shirts with prints, electronics, and tools. There was some amount of segregation, for the convinience of all it made sense to keep food purveyors in one general section and hardware for construction in another. But instead of hard divisions it was more like a gradient, and between them you might find someone selling kitchen equipment and vegitables, or powertools and seeds. Each specific little unit was run by one or two people and most were specific enough to be memorable as landmarks for navigation. Paths were organic rather than something gridlike, and generally the larger the pathway the more places it went. It was natural and efficent, with little thought about aesthetics. That in itself was a nice aesthetic of clutter and noise. It was a cathedral. It communicated to her. It spoke of a freedom and in some ways cooperation. But it was also a harsh place. Just having a shop there meant nothing for having sales. There were plenty of other places with similar is things, often just meters away. However most of the shops were only open for the first half of the day, so it was possible to potentially rely on staying open longer, if needed to make ends meet. But if the things you had to sell weren't something that people needed, why be there? That's not unsensable of course. Reality is not such a place where just because you want something to exist a place will be made for it. That place has to be fought for to be secured. And there has to be some kind of benifit to others for it to reach sustainablity. She mused on this not really knowing what kind of thing she could bring to the table in such a place. She had skills of some kinds but just because she possessed powers others lacked didn't mean those powers were needed. They weren't. They hadn't been needed in a long time. Some others who had similar powers combined theirs to create systems which allowed everyone without those powers access to them in limited use, and the limit was beyond her current abilities in many ways, but somewhat orthogonal to her aesthetic and moral compass. That didn't matter. What mattered to her is that while she could become better, and had known it for a long time. She viewed those thoughts as a cognative dead end. In order to make it something worthwhile it needed something more than what she could make it presently. In the end those skills were little more than a toy on a shelf. She was in essence the same; a novelty, a gag. That was something that people wanted to have around on occasion but it annoyed her that she had allowed her existance to become such a thing. While she had been walking in this place, people all around her scurrying from one place to another, shouting for this or that, she remained detached from it and somewhat anonomous. Not that she didn't stick out for her peculiarity in this region. She was taller by 10 cm than the men in the area and stood much taller than the women, especially the older women who through years of hard labor had become bent and hunched over. Her vantage over the people allowed her to see a bit more and she was thankful for that. But she had a sense of invisibility because everyone had things they were busy doing. In a sence everyone was invisible. They didn't pay anyone any mind except those with whom they had some business. This was her preference, no one making eye contact, or offering false friendship. She didn't like it when the shop keepers attempted to get her attention, to cause her to look this way or that. She liked to see things, "Have you catalogued everything" a store owner had commented on one occasion. She hadn't catalogued anything, but she kinda wished that she had the means to, some things deserved to be preserved. She had a paranoia about data just disappearing or being removed. Especially in a place as fluid as this. Object permanence was something that worked as a human scale idea but her mind was aware of time tables far exceeding the dim human view, and on those scales there was no such idea as object permanence. She went up some stairs into a building to escape the din. The noise was the one fault of the labyrinth to her mind. The walkway opened into a wider corridor. This place was, on the whole, a different beast. Nothing like that bazzaar she had called cathedral. It was open spacious, ineffecient - no that's not quite it. The effeciency metric was the wrong one to use here. It was attempting to communicate something wholely different. It was trying to tell her how small she was, how much bigger and more important whatever this place was. She arrived at the top of the stairs, essentially alone now. She turned and entered a colossal auditorium. There were at least 100 rows of seating below her and much more above, and no less than 500 seats in each column. The size of the space, the walls the floors, the seats themselves, dwarfed her. She felt nausious and found herself an empty seat and sat down. How could such a space exist? Where were the pillars to hold up the roof a hundred meters above her head? It was truely a cathedral, a message, a thought given physiciality for some purpose. That purpose may have been to tell the masses "Look how big and powerful we are together" or "Look at how much power I have" or "The arts are this sturdy." She couldn't know, without finding the historical record the who's and why's. But the physical fact remained. There was no denying the structure. It was it's own justification. The memetic imagry that adorned walls and ceiling spoke of creation and destruction, of beauty mostly but there were some dark truths there as well. The natural world was depicted as well as the heavens above. The depths below were notably absent. The distance of the walls and ceiling gave the illusion that there were no walls at all. And there were hanging light fIxtures which appeared to defy gravity, giant things suspended above, like stars in the firmament, and somewhat terrifying, almost a haughty defiance of physics itself. There were others coming in now and also sitting down though she didn't know why or what for. She had been pulled here. And she wondered if this was indeed a pocket universe unto itself. Slowly music began to play, from everywhere, and no where. People began to file in coming from small doors along the walls above and below her. There were faces among them who she had recognized from other times and places, but there was no look of recognition on their eyes. None of the others seemed surprised by this place simply finding their own seats in the great hall. Feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of the place she sat down. Before long she realized there was someone speaking at the front of the crowd. "There is no longer any doubt of appearances" she heard him say, but she doubted everything she was seeing now, and looking down at herself noticed a bracelette on her wrist she hadn't been wearing before. People began to walk to the front of the space single file towards what she now noticed was a curtain acting as a portal between this room, if it could be called a room, and some other place. "If you accept the offer, we will cut the band from your wrist with this knife and you will go back 10 years". The energy in the place, the overwhelming atmosphere of it. The resonate frequencies of the music. It all told her she had to follow. .

incoming references