an evening at The Rhetoric
Lost in high-minded thought, the Professor stumbled into ‘The Rhetoric‘ – the premier saloon in New Einsteinton. Collecting himself, he glanced about and found the time to orient.
21:36:xx:xx:xx Neurodutch Global Standard time.
As usual the last few numbers were a blur.
In the third decade of the century it had been mandated that all clocks must show time to the microsecond.
Only silicon-cortexes could read the time with precision; carbon-cortexes just had to approximate to to the second or tenth-of-a-second – similar to the archaic fashion of time-keeping.
He approached the bar.
RoboSocrates3000 was bartender for the evening.
‘Ah, good evening, Professor! Come to lubricate your carbon-sulci and -gyri in neurolibation? Perfect for some mid-evening deep thought. Not too much, mind you; you are one of the few ‘human metasequoia’, prized for your ‘clevererrorness’ – a capacity that sometimes outthunks silicon-thought! We can’t have those neurons too damaged.’
‘you callin’ me a fossil, RoboSoc?!’
The Professor took the tattered copy of necrophilosonomicon by H3g3lophanes from under his arm and deposited it upon the bar.
RoboSocrates brought forth the drink.
Served in a perfectly engineered, octopus-shaped glass tumbler.
The corner of one side of his mouth turned up, slightly.
A clever design.
Featuring none other than ‘the world’s cleverest cephalopod’.
Cupping the vessel in his right hand,
he gave it a few swirls
Peat. Oak. Bog-myrtle..
was that a hint of mistletoe?!
He direly needed to publish a new ‘Iceberg Spectrum of Understanding’ meme for the NeoAcademy to keep his access to the ‘Special Reserve Tomes’ section of the actual-paper-book library. These included banned works on poetry, alchemy, and perennial philosophy – alongside original textual versions of critical thinking masterworks of rational philosophy.
A thought occurred.
‘Hey Robosoc.. what are your thoughts on H3g3lophanes [?]’
‘Well, actually – it’s important to note that – when performing exegesis and hermeneutical analysis, cogently, upon works of great scholarly merit; that we think critically and rationally about the nuanced and complex milieau ,surrounding and investing, their subsequent arising – both geopolitically and temporally – ergo; we must return to first principles along myriad strands of knowledge and taking into account neurotheological retroactive cleaning up of ancient… ‘
As Robosocrates continued his sermon,
the Professor became increasingly aware of a strong
and novel sensation
in the anatomical region of his intestines
Acute burning and bubbling.
Unlike anything he had experienced from a botched monthly fecal transplant.
What is this?!
His weekly physical had come back cromulent in enteric nervous system flora ecology and gut-brain axis neuroharmonics.
His diet was optimized for embodied cognition. […]
‘…the socioeconomic conditions; combined with the political climate and a ‘warring speciation of ideas’ concerning capitalist, socialist and communist thought, all ..’
The strange sensations increased.
To hell with it.
He would try such taboo remedies
as espoused by the 20th century
which he had read about
in the banned knowledge section of the library!
Down the dram went in one gulp.
A little better!
The sensations became not less,
but more diffuse..
spread out over a wider area.
‘..assiduously collated within the work of Merlea-po..
Another whiskey? Coming right up Professor.
That is now the penultimate snifter.
Neurolaw is law
and not evening your morning session
will permit a fourth drink this fine evening,
as you so rightly know.
May I humbly suggest the Professor
opens and reads the hallowed text sitting on the bar,
the first glass has expired [?]’
The Professor opened the necrophilosonomicon.
His doctoral thesis had been on its exegesis
and RoboSocrates – for all his silicosynaptic veracity – had failed to present him with something truly Iceberg Spectrum worthy.
Looking down at the pages
more so than his own hands
which he kept neurodextrous
for somatohumunculur reasons,
something truly alarming happened.
The sensations in the belly returned
now with nausea
a strong migraine.
He attempted the ‘Cogency of Mentation’
scholastic mindfullness protocols
of the NeoAcademy
to regulate his breathing
and critically rationalise his thinking.
These only served to make the alien sensations more marked. The protocols had never failed to enhanced his rational reality testing and cogency-index metrics before.
What was the causation of this error of rational psychotechnologies [?!]
It went down like
a runaway tram.
The Professor stood still for a moment.
Again the sensations in the abdomine had lost their hyperfocus,
they poured themselves
out into his body.
A tingling warmth enveloped him
but this was different than the warmth
he felt upon occasion
at the end of the ‘allotted Three’.
RoboSocrates was scanning his flesh-body.
‘Are you quite alright professor? Here, let me get the Rationalizer [breathalysers and blood alcohol levels were deemed unnecessary mid-century, given that some individuals were found to think deeper thoughts after a few glasses – and neuroprotrective laws to the side for a moment – what civilisation really needed was more deep and complex thoughts and ‘ice berg spectrum of understanding’ diagrams]. A few million neurons was fitting sacrifice, for such.’
Out came the Rationalizer.
It floated over and attached itself to the Professors head.
The Professor would normally have been nervous about such cognitive testing
priding himself of having a S-tier brain.
He felt oddly calm
It was taking longer than usual.
Making stranger and more drawn out calculation sounds,
Finally it stopped
who was synced with the Rationalizer,
stood with his robocybernetic face
beaming with delight.
‘Professor! Not only are you not acting irrationally – as your vitals indicated – the Rationalizer has concluded that you are on the brink of a ‘Peak Hyperrational Experience!!!’
Obviously I have already alerted the other staff – we are bringing blanks of your favorite journals to The Rhetoric, post-haste; your favoured pens, too.. all microphones are primed to record any speech-thoughts!’
Suddenly the nausea returned with vengeance.
‘I.. I aaah… I think I need to use the washroom for a moment, RoboSoc.’
‘Of course, Sir! We will have everything set out for when you return.’
The Professor entered the washroom of The Rhetoric.
Taking off his subtly octagonal spectacles,
he washed his face in cool water.
with soft paper hand towel
he placed his glasses back on
and looked at himself in the mirror.
He looked long and hard.
He looked at the navy blazer
and casually unbuttoned,
ethically-sourced cotton white shirt.
He looked at the falsely ragged beard
and moderately twizzled moustache.
And the eyes, God, he looked at the eyes
looming larger than normal
from the farsightedness he had refused to correct.
Eyes that now looked comically large;
as if he had been straining to find
with those visual outlets of the brain and nervous system
that which could only be found
with the eyes of the Heart.
A cybernetically enhanced man walked into the washroom to interrupt his anti-reverie.
‘I couldn’t wait Professor.. you see.. my honours thesis is on the necrophilosonomicon, too..! And you are approaching a ‘Hyperrational and indeed übercogent brain state’: anything you say could further complex thought more than anyone has in 50 years!! Please .. I want to know about H3g3lophanes..’
‘Well, it. is. important. to. note…. ‘
like a thunderbolt
struck the Professors bowels
at the precise same moment
a realisation dawned
He threw aside the cybernetic man
and darted into the nearest cubical.
His spectacles flew from his face,
such was the alacrity of his motions.
his hand still grasped
the paper copy of the necrophilosonomicon.
He placed it carefully on the cistern,
then proceeded to furiously unbelt
The Professor moaned and groaned as he uncoiled a mighty shit.
Unbeknownst to him, the protocols for all imminent Peak Hyperrational Events involved the co-opting of all available speakers and microphones of an establishment as recording and listening devices.
So the speakers
that usually played ambient,
unoffensive lavatory tunes
had been seized in the name of Thought.
The patrons in The Rhetoric
fully carbon ‘living fossils’,
cyberneticly augmented homonids
and fully silicon robots alike
sat for a full 90 minutes
hearing naught but a moaning and scatological soundscapes.
Still – they sat in rapt attention – for at any moment the greatest thoughts thunk in over a half century could occur!
The Professor sat trembling moderately
pleasantly beading in sweat.
He was a little wary of a false alarm
and yet another wave of perisalstic spasm.
No, it was done.
He felt hollow.
As if not just organic matter,
but a whole career of deep-thought
had been shat out.
Looking down at the automatic bidet system of the toilet [which had replaced paper in all toilets after the Third Great TP Shortage of the 20s] and non-thought intuition appeared.
He rotated calmly around
whilst still seated
and grabbed the necrophilosonomicon
and begun to tear pages from it
with solemn glee.
Being born in 2046,
he had only used bidets
though he had read
about the ‘The Great Shortages’
in history class as a boy.
Finishing up, The Professor heard a strange gurgling sound – the paperless flushing system could not process the now turgid tome; which had become stuck in the pipes at the bottom of the bowl.
The Professor flung the door to the cubicle open with gusto and strode forth
crushing his spectacles underfoot on his exit from the washroom.
The cybernetically enhanced honours student was shocked. He looked to the cubile; then to the exiting Professor; then to the cubicle once more.
Daringly he peeped into the cubicle
and when he saw the now defiled tome,
pages circling the bowl
as the bulk blocked the pipe
he dropped to his knees
and began to weep.
The Professor noted the eyes
of the many patrons upon him
as he walked back into the saloon’s main floor.
He noted the third octopus tumbler
and video cameras.
Calmly he walked up
and downed the third glass.
then brought the cephalpodic vessel
down onto the bar
it broke off all eight legs.
Not of the bar,
where the patrons were gasping
and the Rationalizer
was making manic beeping noises.
But of his thoughts
on the necrophilosonomicon
and of his desires
to hear about it
He turned and strode
once more towards a door
to The Rhetoric.
‘Professor, No! Please say something! You are in a Peak Hyperrational State!! Say some Iceberg-worthy thoughts, please!! We can issue a fourth dram!! WE CAN ISSUE A FOURTH DRAAAAAMMM!!! NOOOOoooOOOOooO, Professor!! WWPD [what would Plato do?] ‘
The Professor pay them no heed.
A non-neurological joy
flooded into him
as he grasp the doors’ handle,
which he turned
as if the fate of the Cosmos
depended upon its opening.
He bowed to it once,
before two drones with Hïynlen-grade gatling lasers vapourised him.
Not for failiing to pay for his drinks
Professors were expected to do such things,
lost in thought
was in the job description.
Nor for subjecting the patronage of The Rhetoric
to more than an hour
of auditory vulgarity.
these were forgivable sins.
Desecration of the sacred necrophilosonomicon and failure to further complex thought when in a Hyperrational State were – however – capital offenses.