In Boozo Veritas #23 by Teege Braune
Awaken to a New Dawn
Who among us has never woken on January first to the rising sun of a new year only to bury their throbbing head under the pillow? Here we are at the start of a fresh beginning, new possibilities, another shot at becoming the people we’ve always dreamed, and we kick the whole thing off with a hangover. Let’s face it: the torment is our just deserts, for New Year’s Eve is one night to simultaneously celebrate the glories of the past year while flushing its sorrows into the oblivion of a black-out drunk. Who among us hasn’t taken a cue from the those agonizing moments of New Years morn and vowed never to drink again only to find ourselves slipping back into old habits before the blossoms of springtime have brought forth their opiatic charms? Why deny ourselves the indulgence of our favorite vice only to be disappointed when it creeps its way back into our lives? Avoid the vicious cycle of disappointment and regret as New Year’s resolutions become New Year’s dissolutions and follow my advice: don’t drink less, just drink better. As the sage of boozy wisdom Charles Bukowski has taught us, we each have our own reasons for hitting the sauce. 2014 could be the year we return from the front, victors with our spoils, or we may watch our kingdoms crumble into the ocean like the tide washing away the sandcastles of childhood’s fancy.
Images out of Spiritus Mundi
Remember the Maya, the indigenous people who once populated much of Mexico and Central America, an advanced civilization with a written language, rich artistic tradition, and complex understanding of mathematical principles who for some reason decided to end their calendar on December 21, 2012?
The only possible explanation for this bizarre enigma was that the Maya were somehow privy to the fact that a spontaneous magnetic pole reversal would flip the world on its axis, creating cataclysmic disasters of Biblical proportions. Never mind that every living scholar of Mayan culture practically shouted to deaf ears that this interpretation of the mysterious calendar was a gross and insensitive misunderstanding of the Mayan concept of time. Scholarship proved less exciting than sensationalism, so no one listened to the very people best capable of easing our anxiety. December 21, 2012 came and went. We survived unscathed, no less shocked than we were when Y2K failed to destroy civilization.
Little more than a week later, we rang in a new year as uneasy as we had ever been. 2013 reared its ugly head flaunting the most notorious numerical omen of all, two digits so loathsome most buildings don’t even give them a floor. What good could come out of a year called 2013? Thank goodness for 2014, a year without mathematical anomalies threatening our very existence, a year that isn’t even divisible by five. Kick back, relax, and grab a beer as you enjoy twelve months without the prophesied threat of global destruction. For now, at least, we are safe.
“Safe?” one scoffs with mirthless laughter. Climate change, World War III, plague, or meteors could destroy the planet at any second. While unprecedented storms continue to ravage coastal cities, relations between the United Sates and Russia have grown more sour than they’ve been since the Cold War. Meanwhile, the hippies next door who have refused to vaccinate their children have turned green with purple spots and a star named Wormwood turns its sinister eye on our blue planet. Surely some revelation is at hand; sure the Second Coming is at hand! With all the threats to our lives and safety, can you afford not to to be stinking, black-out drunk for the next 365 days or more lest we come face to face with the pitiless, blank gaze of some rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouching towards Bethlehem to be born.
Welcome to Future World!
Technology is a glorious thing. Before we can even pay off our credit card bills, the next shiny new toy is on the market promising to imbue our lives with an ease and wonder once only dreamt of in science fiction. All the knowledge in the world at our fingertips; books, music, art, and movies at the push of a button; loved ones separated from us by thousands of miles can appear in our living room through FaceTime and social networking. A glorious new dawn awakens with the electric sound of buzzing machines working to do our bidding. Meanwhile Christof Koch, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, has taken our understanding of consciousness to entirely new levels by claiming that any information-processing system with enough integrated connections will develop self awareness.
We think, therefore we are simply because our brains are sufficiently complex and have enough synapses to do so. The internet has “10^19 transistors, compared to the roughly 1000 trillion (or quadrillion) synapses in the human brain. That’s about 10,000 times more transistors than synapses,” Koch stated in a recent interview for Wired.com. The uncomfortable outcome of these enormous numbers is that the internet, that poor bastard, could very possibly have developed self awareness. One can only speculate what a conscious internet might be thinking, but I imagine it would go something like, “Will one of these assholes just shut the hell up and pour me a drink?!”
The technological possibilities of 2014 are as vast as the human imagination itself. The first flying cars have already made successful test flights. Will this be the year we are finally introduced to Google Goggles giving us access to endless amounts of information about our surroundings with little more than a twitch of the eye?
Baudrillardian concepts of simulacra and simulation and the end of history will become increasingly literal as the technological singularity principle and transhumanism championed by Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, will one day make the body obsolete. Imagine ordering a drink one thousand years from now: a “bartender” downloads a program recreating aspects of taste and inebriation into your pleasure center. All of this is managed and operated by the giant mainframe computer in which you live your entire life, your consciousness, like the rest of civilization, having been analyzed, uploaded, and stored inside its near infinite network of databases. The clunky, useless, disease-ridden matter people used to refer to as flesh and tissue is conveniently recycled for energy at no additional cost to you. Could this be the next stage of human evolution as set into motion eons ago by our alien genetic engineers? As the Dude said, “I still jerk off manually.” What will there be to love and fear of bourbon if it doesn’t burn a little going down or coming back up for that matter?
Teege Braune (episode 72, episode 75, episode 77) is a writer of literary fiction, horror, essays, and poetry. Recently he has discovered the joys of drinking responsibly. He may or may not be a werewolf.