venerdì 28 giugno 2013

Storytelling : Neuropolis

I once read a sentence on the pages of a book, which impressed me so strongly and created such a vivid, lively image in my head, that i decided to write it on a piece of paper and keep it, with the purpose of framing it and hangin in it on an unspecified wall of an uncertain place in my unfocused future.

Now i am 45, i am a smoker, i am recently divorced and write essays like this for a living, which means that i have a stroing chance of not having anything like a future, or at least not one that involves walls that have the puprose of showing enlightening turns of phrase to my friends and neighbours.

Those word, though, are still in my head.

"Their weaving is stronger than the fabric of reality. It's tight and rhythmic, it's made of sounds, lights and fury. Of laughter and tears, bonded together in such perfectly symmetrical way that makes both resonate stronger. It's a fabric that wrtaps the reality of the daily mundane things and it's hole, its broken edges, its flawed texture, and almost lulls it to sleep . waiting for the day in which it will incorporate us all"

Those words might sound like the ones you might hear from a self absorbed philosopher or a writer that hasdnt yet learned the lesson thatr all writing is nothing but a breeze in ahurricane, and still believed so strongly in the topic of his description that rhethoric took him over.

And what could be so important and unique that would drive who i discovered later, was an adult man, an atheist, a scientist that ceased to beluieve in science as hope long before, to write something almost embarassingly driven by emotion and hyperbole.

I can tell you, but you'll have to rpomise to try and understand what you will accept with an open mind, and give me advice by the end of this.

The man's name is Charles Kane and he isn't talking about humanity and the strength of their beliefs, politics or religion. He isnt talking about ideas.

He is describing what his research institute has grown to name "The Collective Of the Deceased Unconscious".

Or, in a moment of truth, with the name that everyone sues when theyre not addressing the presss, Neuropolis. The invisible city of the dead.

All of you know what i am talking about and possibly know where i am going with this but let's assume none of us know. Let's pretend to be blessed with the gift of ignorance and start from scratch.

Kane's longtime partner, Grant Madison, a neurologist whose name would be reviled and loved equally in the years following his discovery, ha patiently and relentlessly devoted his life to study the very own essence of human  minds. His mother, a famous novelist, whose last years of life werer reduced to a parody of living by Alzheimer's disease was, together with an almost compulsive curiosity towards what amkes people tick oin an organic level, what made Madison discover that the impulses of the brain could actually be preserved and maintained after a person's death.

With a mixture of chemicals, and the correct timing and technology, parts of a person memory, personality and fragments of their thoughts could be kept into existing. If not living.

The ethical aspects of this were grey at best but wait, it gets worse.

When Madison died of leukemia some years aftyer, his partner and husband Charles Kane decided to develop his discoveries and turn what was mostly a faithful dream into one reality.

The key, surprisingly, was interaction.

The impulses of one single being were mostly scraps by themselves, but were much much more when led to interact with the ones from other deceased people. The more varied, different in age, preservation, type of death the impulsers werre, the more they interacted and the more completely uncanny results they created.

And yes, the word created fits perfectly.

The human remains became brick. They created a world. Neuropolis

Their fragments of sensations, memories, jolts of senory conscience joined together and made what were legitimate interactions, voices, faces, sounds. Lives.

The threads of the souls of the deceased made a building that they went to rest in for eternity.

Still, up to then, all of this was mere speculation. No one knew what exactly thsoe interactions were. We coudlò only see that the cobweb was made but not what it implied and what the shape of  iuts movements formed. All we saw was a series of patterns and numbers.

There came technology to help us again.

A software, created a by a renegade governemnt hacker, whose name will be kept unmentioned, with the purpose of deciphering neural impulses during torture and interrogation sessions and make them into intelligible visuals, sounds and words, was taken (with sheer democractic force) , adapted and made into the key for the Neuropolis cypher.

Now we coudl see what happened in there.

they were dreaming eternally. It wasnt a word uttered by a drunkenb èpriesyt at a funeral or a half arsed metaphor used by a childish hack writer like myself. It wads a reality. What was there was the ones we loved and lost creating a tangible, endless loop of moments taken from their past. Memories, sensations, worlds, faces. Sometimes fgrom their own memory of the living, sometimes created by mixing with the others. A life of the unliving that had no boundaries of time. A true, real collective unconscious of the dead.

So the discovery made its biggest leap, or its greatest mistake. It became public.

The tiles of the city grew in numbers while people started to lead their loved ones' neural remains to the system.

As a man that has always believed in the basic indecency and inability of progressing of humanity, i was impressed at how many were glad to join the project, instead of rejecting it in the name of religion of lack of ethic and morals.

Sure, there werte critics and naysayers but generally all it took to move them towards Neuropolis was the special wave of crushing grief that took you over when a person you shared your soul with disappeared.

Mothers made their lost children jpoin the city where there was no aging, soldiers were led to a place where their bodies wouyld not get torn to pieces in the name of possessions.

The crushing, suffocating punishment that life set on us with illness was only an illusion in a land were all were free of a body.

Still, being humans, we had to fall at some point. Our conviction was bound to fail.

It was discovered that lots of people were commiting suicide por refusing medical treatment in case of illness, in the hopes of joining the project.

Why blame them? This was the first time someone was giving them a tangible proof of an afterlife, a form of better world where the chains of living would be lifted.

But, of course, the wrath of medicine and morality and religion came down.

People had no right to join what was perceived as a false idol, a shameful alternative to their "cures" or the very profitable attraction of religious numbness.

Crusade after crusade, they wanted Neuropolis gone. And the afterlife to return to a benevolent fairytale. Why letr reality exist when it endangers the manipualtive power of myth and illusions.

And then another dangerous discovery was made. One that woudl make the axe on Neurpolis' neck real.

Neuropolis wasnt a fully innocent dream. At least not in the sense of our deba5table human morality.

Some people died in violent circumastances. Some had unresolved demons in their heads. Some were plain sick or just evil.

They built their parts of the city too. And being a product of an unbridled subconscious, the world they created was a pure repetition and realization of violence, fear, abuse and feral cruelty.

They relived their moments of violence, the abuse they died for. tehy commited revenge on uynknownb assaailants or sometimes on the living.

There was darkness to the light of their souls. An underbelly.

Few accepted that. Very few. The majority reacted violently.

Now, Neurpolis risks to be turned off. In a few months, the decision will be made and the city of the dead will be burned to the ground in the name of morals or let prosper with its own monsters.

I have been recently diagnose with third stage sarcoma. I will not live.

After this piece is published, i will commit suicide. I have no family left. Nothing.

I will be another citizen of Neuropolis or the last one to walk through its doors.

I leave it to you. You will vote to one of the greatest decision humanity has been asked to make.

All i wanna tell you is, read my words again. Try to udnerstand. And then decide.

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