Making the Same Mistakes: TWICE

AND THEN LEARNING TO DO AND BE BETTER

I am somewhat furious. To say the least. I don’t know how to frame this and how to even talk about this without some fury. I had a friend, a childhood friend, who I used to get along great with. But it seems, whenever things get a bit messy in her life, she has this tendency to blow up on me. And abandon me. In the worst possible times in my life. I do not know how even to understand what is going on with her. First moment, she asks advice from me: I tell her a dude she is interested in isn’t always treating her fairly but since she has a connection with him, and since he is polyamorous, why not just talk it out with him? Tell him, you want a deeper thing.

And recently, she is going the self-saboteur path of contacting her former best friend. Why? — The fuck I know. She decided to not talk this woman for three years, block her as they had a row and then finally thinks things will change between them because she is more successful in life. Hard Truth: she didn’t. We both agreed that you two are always on different life paths and that she does not even understand or care for your achievements. But does that stop my friend from wanting validation from this chick, who also a mutual childhood friend of ours (though I know her longer), who never has given a shit about her? NO. The chick goes back to shit she cares about — dating, marriage and possible partners. Not about any other kinds of success. Which, she seems to me, pisses my friend off more. Because she hadn’t full on dated in a while aside this new polyamorous dude she is kinda dating.

Of course, she will be pissed that polyamorous guy wants to keep his options open. Wants to keep his French girlfriend and like not full-on date my friend. Well, what did you expect? He is polyamorous. And, he has been polyamorous for ten years of his life. Now, he MAY change his mind and make you solid, but that is gonna take time. For 2 weeks she has been pissed that this guy stated: “I already have my primary; maybe, you will be my secondary.”

Translation: He is being and asshole. Like, seriously, you don’t talk like this with someone who is not used to p[olyamorous dating. And also, I personally think, if she was his secondary, the primary girlfriend needs to know he has a 2nd steady girlfriend somewhere else. Those are the rules. But it is NOT seemingly happening like that. She and the guy are smitten but she wants them to be exclusive. But she is not telling him this. She rather run away than face her fears. She was wanting to become invisible, without saying anything. This dude keeps on following her FB as in, if she makes minor changes, a slight PFP change, he ‘likes’ it immediately. Imagine what he would do in her Insta?

I wanted to be fair. I said, hey, don’t do that. Clearly, you like one another. Clearly, you want something with this dude, so why not just say it? Hey, say I like you and that can we be exclusive? Anyways, she gets pissed at me just because I say I am not like her former best friend and would ‘steal’ her guy. Dude, until that day I did not even know what he looked like. AND I just said it with a context. She was showing me her current’s beau’s ex-girlfriends and current girlfriend AND we both agreed one of his hook ups were super hot looking. Now, I said I liked that girl’s style. But seeing she was feeling insecure, which was plainly obvious, I just said that to assure her.

And, what does she do? Yell at me because she cannot yell at the guy she is somewhat dating. Calls me ‘dumb’ — says she is better than me in many ways. Now, seeing that she is doing better financially than me at the moment, this stung. I told her it is not fair to compare. And she was calling me ‘mean’ saying so what if her ex-bestie stole a guy she liked, she had so many other achievements. The fucked up thing is I always celebrate her achievements. I was telling her don’t listen to her ex-bestie, don’t make her feel you down, just know you are awesome and matter in the here and now.

She was feeling bad and we had to hang up. But then after five I called her again. Said sorry more times, even acknowledged maybe I was being dumb (you can imagine this is a BIG thing to do) and then I joked with her and made her laugh so that she didn’t go to bed unhappy. Then the next day, I sent her messages and tried to make her happy by asking how she was and gave her two Emily Dickinson poems about strength , love and friendship.

She proceeds to keep on calling me ‘dumb’ — when I ask why is she doing this? She has the audacity to reply that she is doing this because she has been so nice and good to others so people take advantage of her. So, now, she will be mean and she is practicing on me. Like WTF dude? You are not nice or considerate. You are selfish and really arrogant and reckless and I am so pissed that you are like this that you think you can call me ‘dumb’ so many times and get away with it. Like, seriously, if you weren’t my childhood friend, I would have grilled your head in. Then she is like, we shouldn’t be good friends anymore, I ‘inject’ her with ‘negativity’, even unintentionally, and she wants to be happy.

Like seriously? Where have I been ‘triggering’, ‘negative’ and ‘mean’ — she did this one before and called me ‘toxic’ and then came back saying sorry back at the end of 2019. Like, what the fuck is her deal? It is not my fault babe if polymamorous dude doesn’t wanna make you exclusive. It’s not like I sucked his dick and told him not to date you. He just doesn’t wanna date you fully. Maybe, he is just not that into you. And, that has NOTHING to do with you. But if you think you can blow up on me again just ’cause you are going through a shitty time in your life again. FUCK OFF

Seriously, fuck off. It takes a lot of energy and focus and love, to listen to someone rant but also get sad and mad. But we do it because we love people. We wish to support them and value them. Show them they are not alone in any struggle they are facing. And, like we wish to be valued as well. We want to be acknowledged and loved in return. Love has to be mutual and respect is mandatory. Why should we not care and respect each other? This is the bare minimum in any kind of relationship.

It was then and there, I decided to block her. I have had enough of this sort of abysmal level of friendship — where like some weird pet, you are only asked to make someone happy. As if happiness is always guaranteed, always an aspiration in life, without any struggle or any hurdle or any challenge. Like, we are two different people, we can definitely NOT get each other at times. And, one time, I make a mistake, fail to get you, and you just blow up at me. For all the times I did not get you, there were so MANY MORE where I did get you. Comforted you, consoled you, loved and supported you as my friend. And, if that is not a convincing argument then NOTHING EVER will be. You cannot be a perfect friend automaton to someone. You need to be a person. And, a person can sometimes fail. But in that failure, you can rise up stronger and better, know your mistakes, aim to do better and be better. I given her the chance to do that and again she threw our friendship at my face.

I don’t wanna settle for less really. I am a person who has some value. Yes, I am feeling more isolated and alone now. COVID19 didn’t make anything else easy. But when someone decides to be an ass to you during a pandemic, you can actually measure what sort of person they are. When people are at such stakes and decide not to show compassion, mercy or even basic level understanding it actually tells more about them than you. I am tired of loving so unconditionally than I become unconditionally erased.

I do not wish to do that anymore. If she comes back again, apologises again. I may forgive but I will NEVER forget and this intimacy won’t be hers anymore. There is this boundary, my Mom said, which she crossed and you know what? That water sunk that bridge. I don’t wanna be around for the next breakdown and the next episode of being a bitch, because it is now clearer to me more than ever that she was being this wholesome cunt and I am not gonna enable that behaviour anymore.

If friendship always meant happiness then we would never need the intimate, the messy, the feelings of rage, hate and love and the salve that bound people thicker than blood and more soothing than water.

Writing Till Now

Sometimes, I don’t know how am I still doing it. All the writing. I wonder what it will lead to. I am actually uncertain. I don’t know if my writing possesses any value, as in, any integral value. All I know is to write. There is nothing else I know or truly possess. Is it an auto-generative inheritance? Or, something I have inherited without the clause to the roots to the DNA of the heritage? Or, maybe it has been both both. A multifarious of items. All I know is how to write. Nothing more. Nothing less. Maybe, more. Maybe less. Yet, in which capacity? I am not sure of. 

When I started writing here so many years ago, I was quite the optimist. I guess we all begin with some sense of optimism if not necessarily obligation. I don’t think I have been a success here as I have wanted? Or, has it been that how I was thinking was not necessarily curated to my own needs? No. That is not entirely true. I had written so much back then. My whole heart was an outpouring of writing and I felt very happy knowing that I could do it. This writing. Even if not masterful (sometimes so subjective) was definitely my own little place in the woods. A clearing. A forest. An ocean. Things I could do with my writing that seemed impossible with everything else.  

Everything else was a whole category that still remains unsorted. I don’t really know what I want from life even now. It seems archaically silly, clichéd, stereotyped — those forms of crises you read about all the time and wonder why people feel that way. Then begin to feel yourself. In one way, you are not a freak. You are still human. Even if it seems some days your humanity is as tethered as a cloud by your window. That ancient balloon that you think of with thoughts and imagine shapes and still can’t understand why you can’t fill it up with the helium with your own desires. Hear that squeakiness of the whole thing and even if it seems super funny to others — you wish to keep it for yourself. 

I understand writing for yourself is important. You cannot really feed yourself entirely on the validation of others. In a way, that is surrogate cannibalism — surrogate cannibalistic modes of engagement; fleshed up with someone else, them eating you and you eating them. Wanting validation. Craving it. I understand. It’s important. Yet, it’s not a subsistent crop. Not the meat you want on top. It doesn’t always work out the way you want. I keep on reminding myself because when you are starved it feels any dish would do; though, there is a reason you have a palate and a tongue, the muscles, the cheeks, the kinds of teeth you are meant to have. Not every dish can do. It just won’t suffice. 

The world online is much crowded and murkier than it was at least 20 years ago. Online interactions do not verbatim copy the verbal, the non-verbal, the etiquette you were once used to even in the last 5-10 years. And, etiquette is not universal. Netiquette, as it has been called, can vary in spaces. And, in online social media spaces, it varies tenfold than in actual geographical spaces. One of the main reasons? We don’t really to have deal with people do we? Not in the same way we have to deal with people even in the workplace. You can’t just block an annoying colleague on the go nor can you suddenly give an expletive and run off. There are more immediate consequences to what you are doing. So, you are more apt and careful. Even if being impulsive is your default, you know, you can’t do that always on the face-on-face level. Street-on-street level. Desk-by-desk level. Bullying exists but you will notice in the world of bodies it is more aptly felt, recognised and alerted. 

It is hard to write online too. Your audience may be larger, more global than local, but how do we know how much global it is? How much local it is? The cheerier days of the global village have been put on hiatus: or in oldspeak net — revamping/reconstruction for a few days. Before Web 2.0, it was harder to even imagine doing short term word changes without unplugging something. When I first came upon WordPress, it was still relatively less advertised and unknown (LiveJournal still holding some cards), with a minimum set of themes. It’s .org program may have been used countlessly on many independent websites but it was not the hosting giant we know of today. Now, I am introduced to a new Block Editor (hoping it allows me to write in the fonts I chose for my website and not some default it chose for me. Ironically, 3 months ago this was possible). 

Signalling back, I am stating that because of the many choices we have, because of how many different changes to mediums of expression, life, lifestyles, growth in certain sectors and the rise of many social media fandoms, writing online has become both easier and harder. You can feel pressurised to conform, be bullied, be critiqued without apology, have a person spam you with less consequences and you may still persist, with a chip on your shoulder. Albeit, the optimism have somewhat dimmed though it may brighten again soon. I should be writing more now. I have more free time now. Yet, there are things that do not come to me as easily as they did before? Is it a writer’s block? Partly. Partly, perhaps I am curating and censoring myself. There may a need in me now to choose more quality over quantity though for me I would like to think I always managed a good enough if not the best balance of it. 

I want to still keep on writing many things. I know I can. I know I will. This is not arrogance or mere wilfully, nonchalant confidence. It is a blessing. And, experience. I have been doing this for so long. I been doing doing for most of my childhood, teenage and adult life. Yes, there may be milestones I am missing. I am not going to say that there has been no struggle; that the reason of doing it and the weight of giving up haven’t loomed over me. It has. More than once. That I haven’t achieved what I wanted so what was the point? The use? Is it because I did for so long that giving up would mean I wasted so much? So, I am stubborn because I don’t want it to be a waste? 

Well, that kind of stubbornness is useful in writing even if there is so much waste. I mean, I don’t think it is polluting the environment much. Nor, has it polluted my own life. However, it has most certainly NOT been a waste. Whatever I have written. Whatever I have continued to write. It has shaped a lot of me. Shaped a lot of who I am and who I will be. Things have changed. Things have not changed. My writing has stayed the same but also grown. It has made new branches and nodes of engagement and involvement. I like what I write even if it is not the best subjects out there. It is not merely only I can write this, from my point of view, but because I know this need and want in me to write is unique to me and won’t come again and it is me and no one else. 

I still don’t know if it is important. If it has any integral value. I am sure this uncertainness is part of a process. Gradually, I might be reaching a destination I am not fully aware of and if it’s great then I cannot be happier. It is easier to have a meteoric rise and then fall and decimate the dinosaurs of your expectations. The evolution and extinction, the unchanged and the stellar qualities of my writing may still be going on. I can feel that strength in me. 

Perhaps, right now, here and now, I am where I need and wish to be. Even if the stars seem unfamiliar and the course a bit rougher, it is where I am destined and worked to be. You can’t tether clouds to your window because you are not meant to see only through one window. 

when I cannot sleep

I cannot sleep; the dust of it rounds my eyes
into separate spheres, a sea in each
dipping night’s ink like a chance of lead
into the silvery apparition of a reflected moon
cradled between the sinews of a hammocked brain

there is a long sigh, a long echo — followed slowly by a song
tethering is a lullaby in glades of sun and shadow
day hinged and riveted like a solarnaut in crucial voyages

and my mind sits there, ancient, stubborn — like a shard of shell
fossilised and unmoving, indifferent to the throes of sleep
and voyeuring on the agonies of silence.

I know I wasn’t a tragedy; I knew it seemed so
after the hallways laughed menacingly
and the bells that chimed once in my favour
grew to sand in some lothario’s hourglass of moves
glued to the stationary casket of time in motion
faster than sound and faster than quantum

it aches my head and bones; not my heart
she flutters still like some newborn butterfly
doing her pilgrimage of movements, she never tires
when I do — there lies the problem and the sanity.
I am sleek with the covers, I am armed with the pillows
salient are my eyebrows playing tic-tac with particles of skin
and the dreams that are coiling to these feathery antennas

I will sleep soon
then wake to conquer the seeming
unconquerable
for I am too
a shade of moon
encased in an hourglass of night
measured stably by a rush of adrenalin
in a spoon of reverberations.—

(In)visible Disabilities and Machine Bodies in NieR: Automata:- Plato 1728′s plight in a posthumanist light

In [Jacques] Derrida’s terms, it is the blind, the disabled, who “see” the truth of vision. It is the blind who most readily understand that the core fantasy of humanism’s trope of vision is to think that perpetual space is organized around and for the looking subject; that the pure point of the eye (as agent of ratio and logos) exhausts the field of the visible; that the “invisible” is only — indeed, merely — that which has not yet been seen by a subject who is, in principle, capable of seeing all.

— Cary Wolfe, What is Posthumanism? (132)

Embedded and embedding narrative frames assume precisely this self-referential form of form by marking the virtual edges of narrative structure.

— Bruce Clarke, Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narrative and Systems, (94)

Upon Playing NieR:Automata’s DLC, which focused on the machine individual, Plato 1728, I felt that the narrative was engaged with the powerful aspect of disability. It allows the player to take control of a robot who is considered “defective” and does things poorly. Plato 1728 believes that he does poorly in everything, he cannot fight well as when he does his body betrays him, nuts and bolts come off and oil spills. He cannot hold a weapon. Yet, he tries his hardest hoping that he will be accepted and appreciated.

This does not happen.

What you experience in the gameplay is a first person perspective of what it feels like to be disabled and ostracised for said-disabilities. The game poignantly attempts to show the player the censor and the frustration, alongside the mental trauma, a person with aa disability can face in a ableist society. It does this brilliantly by showing this efficiency prone behaviour and ableism in the lifeforms that invaded Earth. Though they are aliens they have adopted many human like aspects. The other machines tease and ridicule Plato 1728 to the point that he feels alone all the time. No one desires to be his friend and no one seems to care about him.

Plato 1728 is a horrible dilemma. He was built to be a weapon but he has not of the proclivities and qualities of a weapon. Rather he mentions he abhors violence. Yet, as he is built to fight, he must continue to do so. The machines are all living workaholic existences in which their daily routine is comprised of sparring and maintaining, and building other machines for war alongside taking care of the factory. Some of the machines obviously have consciousness and existential thoughts but this gets stampeded over the nuts and bolts of what they assembly is comprised of.

We, as the players, are put in the position to play as Plato 1728. It is something that overwhelms us. It is designed to show how inhumane and cruel the machine life routine is. Operating Plato 1728 you notice he glitches and seizes up at times and he cannot move at all. There are system errors shown about as you and Plato 1728 desperately attempt to keep himself composed. Then we are presented with the motor function test. We are in the position of Plato 1728 giving this test. Plato 1728 actually does well. You can, even with his body glitching, get 17-10 rings, which are the objectives of the motor examination. However, then multiple rings come on and off and go away easily and we are given a body that wasn’t either designed to move fast or we do not know how.

This a crucial part of the narrative. After basically failing the test three times, with an “exceedingly poor” grade, we as players are made to ruminate why the motor function examination suddenly became what it was. Why did the runs suddenly come and go off in such a manner. Why were these tests designed like this. The players are also made to wonder if we were in control of 2B, 9S or A2 would be able to pass a motor examination like this? We probably could. However, in the base game when you start out with a mission directly with tutorials just being on-screen commands you may falter. The prologue is also designed to be 35-40 minutes gameplay that any newcomer can exceedingly fail in as well.

It is not also a question of machine lifeforms themselves. Before coming to Plato 1728′s narrative, we must finish three coliseums. One coliseum is devoted entirely of machines and you must make 9S choose a machine to battle with. Depending on your level, you get a selection of machines. The thing is you upgrade or you choose a machine based on which level in the coliseum you are, what your skill level is and what the skill level of the machine is — they are all interconnected factors that help you win the tournament in the coliseum.

Plato 1728, though saying he is a “defective” model, was able to get many rings. It is not his fault the test is designed such a frustrating way that failure seems to be the only option. Even with his disability Plato 1728 tried and succeeded a lot. However, due to the assessment requirements not being met, Plato 1728 is branded as a failure.

Subsequently, this branding of failure persist. When we are doing combat training we, the players in control of Plato 1728, are shocked when a punch makes Plato 1728 lose both his arms! We can try to evade and move about and do what we can to keep the clock running but Plato 1728 fails. It is not that he is intending to do nothing. He is intending to fight but his body is having issues and no one seems to care and no one seems to assist him with his bodily issues. He is branded a failure. This is not only a desecration of justice but a desecration of life and the game wants you, the player, to feel it, as a machine with disability.

Plato 1728 then decides, in his loneliness and ostracism, to take care of a doll. The factory is attacked, either by the player as playing one of the protagonists’ androids, and Plato 1728 helplessly watch as the doll he cherished goes up in flames. Feeling traumatised and grief beyond anything, all his pent up sadness came up and he started anyone and anything. When his rage is exhausted, his companions trap him and dispose of him. When we re-enter the factory as another machine, the player sees that some people are shocked that Plato 1728 have had so much power in him that they didn’t realise. Some don’t wish to go into battle, afraid at seeing the destruction that Plato 1728 wrought, some are still thinking he is “useless” and that his model should be stopped while others mourn his downfall and are ashamed at their own behaviours surrounding him.

In fact, the machine the player is operating comments at his terminal as he has to input data on Plato 1728 goes on to say something like oh yeah, the guy who lost it.

Plato 1728′s consciousness and soul are still alive even if his body is gone. Though he wishes he could have a body again. He comments that the coliseum people are all selfish. The ones were machine are fighting to become stronger, the one where machines are trying to live by rules and the ones where machines are enslaved to be gladiators for android amusement. He says that is he really the crazy one?

Due to the doll seemingly being the cause of Plato 1728′s madness, dolls when found, are destroyed in the factory now. The players are then shown a psychedelic, gothic music video of a random machine destroying dolls and in the end Plato 1728′s soul reaches out attempting to stop the machine to destroy the doll that looks like 2B but he fails and the 2B doll is symbolically destroyed.

In my own reading of this DLC and the NieR:Automata game, I found aspects of posthumanism and transhumanism at a clash. My intentions to summarise the events of the DLC is to provide some of my own critical understanding of the game. In the base game, Pascal, 2B and A2 herald empathy and mostly posthumanist aspects in their characteristics. Though Route A follows more of a transhumanist path the characters present show some posthumanist nuances. In the game, the transhumanist agents are 9S and initially, Adam and Eve.

Transhumanism believes in the augmentation of the human body. It believes that human limits can be “corrected” and transcended. The body is to be a workshop and that workshop perfects upon the body into an ideal type of unit or anatomy in execution. Posthumanism is different; in fact, posthumanism believes more in the imperfections of humans and it rejects the humanist model of ideal human saying there can be no ideal. It considers the value of all living life forms and the systems that interconnect them. It also shows that human bodies can inherently and environmentally differ from each other and that is a good thing. Posthumanism also does not advocate anthropomorphism.

Bruce Clarke in his book Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narrative and Systems talks about humans as quasi-subjects and quasi-objects. This means they are neither completely subjective markers nor markers of objectification. Humans interact and they are heavily affected and influence by how, what and why they interact with (Clarke 44-45). Clarke also states that humans are biotic creatures and there can be abiotic organisms (Clarke 17). Biotic organism are organisms who can perform autopoiesis. Autopoiesis is the ability of the body;s various parts to organise itself, to keep its integrity but also to allow certain things to change, an example of human genome which does not change but phenotypical components such as hair and eye colour changing. The organisation of autopoietic structures is recursive; unique in its context. Non Autopoietic structures can exist within autopoietic creatures. Clarke states that non-living, non autopoietic organisms are called abiotic. He also states that there are metabiotic structures as well for example consciousness and social and psychical systems that make up society, an example would be media is an abiotic system that influences metabiotic structures like society and biotic humans.

I talk about autopoiesis and abiotic, biotic and metabiotic structures because these are crucial elements to understand posthumanism. Posthumanism plays a large role in NieR:Automata not only in its embedded narrative style as Clarke would state it, but also as Wolfe would state, it attempts to broaden the self-reflexive criticism of disciplines themselves. Wolfe states that disciplines can keep their integrity, as in autopoiesis, but must understand that there is a multidisciplinary promise to every discipline and that disciplines can evolve. Wolfe follows the second system theory to a bit in that the observer(s) are also scrutinised and called into question or positionality as much as the observation (Wolfe 121). There is a difference to Wolfe between the accurate and the specific (Wolfe 115). Wolfe critiques that disciplines are important that they are specific and not necessarily always accurate as in the universalising way (Wolfe 115-117). Things have context and that context must be taken into consideration. This is important as NieR:Automata also looks a lot on the context of the situation via both its posthumanist narrative style into bioethics and but also through disability studies and trans-species disciplinary actions (Wolfe 141).

Wolfe uses the life of Temple Grandin to talk about the trans-species understanding in that Grandin’s understanding of things in pictures, this hypervisuality within her autistic self which she has to then add language to is both thinking in pictures and allows prosthetics become one with her which are both ahuman or considered nonhuman traits. However her approach has “canonical expression” which includes Renaissance theory of perspective, to Freud’s parsing of the evolutionary sensorium in Civilisation and Its Discontents, through Sartre’s discussion of the Gaze, to Foucault’s panopticon,  and finally to the various modes of electronic surveillance culture.” (Wolfe 130) Wolfe further postulates that there is obviously different ways to thinking that humans have but can be excised (140). He also quotes Derrida’s concept of knowing invisibility as another kind of spatialisation (Wolfe 133).

The reason I have talked about this is that in the gameplay of NieR’s DLC our narrative focus on Plato 1728 shows many ways of understanding content. The language is not always constructed verbally. The players must level up, become fit and then fight battles in coliseums with different storylines and tangents, and rules and regulations. Plato 1728′s story origins begin with the machine spear which decodes some fragments of his story and this is later extrapolated in the DLC. Plato 1728 is sensitive and kind, communal and intelligent. He has almost all of the understanding of family and familial connections as once stated by 21O independently in the Data Freak quests that androids seemingly lack. Plato 1728 intelligence is differently abled but not all inferior to others and it is not to be taken lightly. When Plato 1728 in grief attacks in a berserk way he is only doing something normal in his condition though normative regulations deemed this to be the progression of him as a failure.

Plato 1728 is not a failure as he understands that there is lack of justice, a seduction by rules and power in the coliseums and in life in Earth in general. A feeling and understanding he also shares with Emil. Emil is attacked by 9S is losing his mind. Emil calls 9S his “cherished companion” who still must be “punished” because he has done something wrong, obviously, from stealing from him. The player as 9S can defeat Emil in which, in this first form, states that in the end power dominates so much and he says, with reluctance, that 9S can use his room whichever way he prefers. Though, Emil just accedes only because he doesn’t understand what purpose 9S has to do this to him. In a similar way, Plato 1728 does not understand why his companion easily disposed of him instead of coming to his aid.

NieR: Automata uses a very embedded narrative. It uses a verbal embedding, which is a narrative that is horizontal and epistemic (Clarke 100) meaning it uses people in the same timeline such as Emil and 9S battling out within the same time period and context to say some of its story. Then it also has a modal embedding, which is ontological and vertical. That as Clarke expertly puts:

“here the same or different narrators are transported to and thus reframed within different storyworlds — for instance modal borders are crossed in the transit “through the looking glass” from waking to dream worlds, from the present to the past or future, or from physical space to cyberspace.”

(Clarke 100)

When we play as 9S or 2B or A2 we experience the story differently. Swords and hacking tell the story differently. Then there is Route C and D than changes a lot of the narrative setting and climate. The narratives are something, as Clarke puts it, stretching and meets at different viewpoints and that it what makes narratives embedded and autopoietic. They are framed to form something that has integrity but is also perpetuated amongst different disciplines. The modal embedding also goes to mathematics modular group, with the j variant, the function of complex numbers which satisfies a growth condition in the upper plane of a graph and shows the connection between monster group and modular group. 1728 is a number that is the cube of 12 and also part of the j variant. The monster group, or Friendly Giant, being the largest sporadic group in mathematics. The name is embedded into the narrative of NieR Automata thus disciplines evolving, looking at the observer and the observation, keeping the integrity but also going beyond.

Additionally, many side quests and even the birth of Adam and Eve is a fusion between modal and verbal embedded storytelling. We can see this in both 2B and 9S routes where picture books also tell the story of machines getting consciousness and an identity. Also, we see machines having sex or attempting to in the chasm. It is as if they don’t wish anything to be ex nihilo but to have origin, purpose and an evolution in connectivity. 9S’s trauma is also reflected in quests done for Resistance members when they lose their loved ones. Though 9S’s actions are more severe and a disruption to not only his life but others.

Going back to Temple Grandin, 9S is someone who espouses humanism and transhumanism a lot. Even when he hears machine talk he keeps on repeating to 2B they meant nothing. He even says that after he is traumatised and going insane. In the Forest, Resource Unit he hears the machine begging him for an explanation to the violence and asking him to just kill them but he almost takes sadomasochistic satisfaction in torturing them and being in denial. To him, only androids can have life. As Wolfe also states that the sciences Cartesian duality of consciousness and cognition is pretty ingrained (Wolfe 116) and 9S is a proof of that. He has selective empathy and he cannot see anyone not abdroid-like to be human. Pascal is an exception because 2B and he had visited him and 9S is just in denial as well to consider Pascal completely living even as there is something disturbing is seeing his memory being wiped.

9S in Route A ending is accepting of his data being embedded in machines, in a way Plato 1728 was alright in loving a doll. Yet in Route C/D 9S is disgusted to know that their black box does contain the machines’ cores as well. He is angered to know that within him is embedded, in the flesh so to speak, the narrative of machines. This is why it was ironic when sometime ago he told to Pascal that he didn’t have a heart seeing their autopoietic structures are similar in detail.

Similarly, Adam and Eve killed the aliens feeling they were too “plant-like.” This alone becomes at first their justification. They so are obsessed in bettering themselves in some mythical ideal way that they wish to even dissect humans to achieve this goal. It is noteworthy, that 9S is selectively horrified by this yet he too decides to dissect machines or remnants of YoRHa later on. N2, the machine in the tower, programmed to fight the enemy, felt they must keep the androids alive and manipulated the coding of machine s which help make machines like Adam and Eve and Pascal. Though, they didn’t really know if such machinations would bring forth what it did thus they are killed by their own transhumanist consciousness in a way.

Empathy is not relinquished by A2 or 2B. Like Plato 1728 who signifies that invisibility, as in his own thoughts and emotions and different abledness, is a form of spatialisation, we can see that in these individuals as well. A2 opens up to Pascal and shows him kindness and empathy. She starts treating him as an equal and is heartbroken to erase his memories. When she fights Emils and tries to help Emil she actually calls him “kid” and wishes to protect him. 2B hearing machines feels terrible about injuring and killing them. That is why Route A ending was also a trans-species ending where 2B understands and accepts the machines’ souls and consciousness. It takes almost death for 9S to do this in Route C/D and he also falls like an angel from heaven. A hero who becomes a brutal villain due to trauma, idealism and grief. A2 already accepts this as in a way her ending shows her need to reunite with her old comrades, Pascal and the village’s lost children.

The True Ending, reaches out and embeds both the old beginnings and a prospect of evolution. This is semiotically and semantically shown with the Pods but also the different endings that were possible showing that the future, open but still with some integrity and organisation, is not set in stone but growing and evolving. Plato 1728 also sends the player a mail thanking them for reading about his life and looking at it. This brings back the posthumanist term of the observer being observed and visa versa.

In conclusion, The transhumanist and posthumanist conjugate with trans-species elements and disability studies in NieR:Automata. This is done expertly through various intermeshed narratives. The game attempts to make players embed both storytelling and the codex for change within them. Thus it generates new knowledges and a sense of hope even when the story and game ends. It is interesting to play a game as such that takes into context and spatialization/specialisation that individuals do not need to look human and androids can very well be more than standard AI and machines can evolve into their own beings.

Sources:

Clarke, Bruce, Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narrative and Systems (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008).

Wolfe, Cary What is Posthumanism? (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001)

lamenting friendships

I think for the past few days I have been feeling a certain alienation from people. People are not logical. This is something I have learned both the easy way and the hard way. But, this is not a treatise glorifying emotions either. Emotions can be pretty messy and difficult to express so we use shorthands of violence, anger even lust and betrayal to compensate our lack of syntax and our lack of right verbs and nouns to talk about these things. It does not have to be English. It happens in every language. It happens pretty much in mainstream cultures. We are not really taught to cultivate language. We are taught to cultivate solutions and information. The latter is not a bad skill. It is also needed. However, emotion and logic going hand to hand makes more sense.

People can be brutally honest and hurt someone and that is a valid reason to critique emotions. You know why? Because unless someone is being a douchebag I don’t think we have enough of their life picture to be over exceedingly mean to them. Especially, if they are our friends and we posit some value onto them. Friends can demand things — it’s normal and it shouldn’t exceed a limit either. There are basics, we have our own etiquettes. I think what we don’t understand is that even when we are coldly logical it is a painful surgical procedure without anesthesia. We can logically tell people their shortcomings, or why we don’t like them but have no clue what their positionality is. Most of the time when we dislike people we are also subconsciously, but logically, trying to overcompensate for some lack in ourselves. We feel jealousy that they get it, or, anger that they not getting it reflects our own propensity for not getting it. Our lacking.

Going back to language and skills of deduction, the reason I skirted on emotions and logic is that people aren’t 2+2=4 nor are they (a+b)²= a²+2ab+b² nor are they (a+b)³=a³+3a²b+3ab²+b³ they can all of this and none of this on the same line. It is hard to accept that but it’s true. You can give your level best to people to have them turn on you at any given moment. I noticed why. People are either ungrateful, scared, jealous or insecure. And, when I say people I am not pushing me away from that. I am not putting myself on a pedestal because I am a person as well. I am sure that I also come across as brash, small minded and stupid at times. However, I think over the years, I have tried to be patient with people. The sad thing is, people are not necessarily patient with me. When there is a one sided dialogue on patience: meaning you are being patient and the other person is being mean or you are showing them they behaved badly and instead of being responsible they tell you what you said meant nothing and sums up nothing, it becomes pretty frustrating.

A good way of showing these sides of frustration is social media. People nowadays also abuse social media to make a point that they are disappointed or angry with you. When they unfriend or block you, it does become problematic. There is no way to contact them or tell them you are sorry. Usually, it also makes you feel like a creepy stranger when you were not. Even at times it makes you feel as though they are treating you as they would an abuser. It becomes really sad because when you haven’t been toxic with them or vitriolic with them it becomes an issue. I come also from times when stuff like this was hard to do because basically when you before had fights with friends you could be absent from each others’ lives for a while and then make it or break it with perspective. Nowadays, I think that also goes out the window. People get mad at you and make a statement about it which is hard to overlook and may add fuel to fire and make a hot mess.

The thing is we are not math problems or fragments of syntax or pixels on a screen or even a sum of hormones alone — we are people. We need to work on ourselves and others constantly and consistently. Yes, there can be fluxes but we are meant to fill them with other things. It is imperative we can be a bit more compassionate, open, loving and empathetic with people who deserve it. We gotten down our boundaries, how to be alert for creepy people, how to zone out in places we don’t need to be and we also got down how to be aggressive when required. However, we haven’t gotten down the other end. We need to master or even try to balance out both.

There is a reason I speak of balance in particular. We cannot always unleash our rage and jealousies on our friends who are not intending to hurt us or trying to make us feel low. This is one thing I tried to do. Stress and helplessly in today’s societies comes through work but also through social interactions. We are sometimes forced to be with people we don’t wanna be. We can’t always make a situation feel good even if we try. I get that, personally, I get that so much and I gotten angry and sometimes tell my Mom in a bit of a loud voice how tired I was of it all. Work can be brutal, horrible and also ungrateful. You can give your soul to a career, hours of excruciating brain and brawn power and not get a promotion or even have your pay reduced or even discourteously fired. But, I don’t think putting that on your real friends will actually help you in the long run. Rather, I think it would hurt you.

I talk today about personal experiences. I think I have faced a lot in the last two years that has made me pretty cynical about friendships. I realised the more older you grow up people look at friendship like a hierarchy or something that is just there. People have tried to use me and take me for granted. I don’t think I have ever made  a person feel so low that they questioned their self-worth. However, people do this all the time. After a while, it becomes like as though they are just angry at who I am and how I behave. Maybe, they hadn’t expected me to be successful or even able to write these things coherently in a blog. The fact that I surpassed their assumptions of me may make them feel pretty angry and unhappy. Perhaps, they liked me being in the gutter, or being miserable or even being hapless because that gave their lives “more meaning”? When you think about it people can think like that. They usually are taught life is a competition of living good, making successes and playing hard some game of attraction. When people fail in those areas it makes others overwhelmingly happy because then when they look at the mirror they can Other you. They can tell themselves they are not you.

I just don’t really ascribe to this way of thinking. Maybe, that’s why people don’t always value me and do not want to be my friend to begin with—

chasm diegesis

there was a chasm of loneliness
and it bore my name
and I decided to fill it with tears
hoping to reach the surface

only sorrow did not quench that thirst
and my tears had to be hope bound
for what is sorrow if not a testament
to hope? We will meet unfairness and injustice
that is how human systems work
but the meta of you was designed not
to follow that rule. Believe in God or believe in greater dimensions
that supersede what holds the matter and makes you closer
to the holy

I managed to make my chasm a ocean
I made it into something fertile
for only I lived this life
and I know it held meaning
slings and bows now serve my soldiers.—

classical antagonism

nothing seems to be more caustic
than the ignorance of being ignored
and the indifference to the genuine
the practice of selective empathy
that has the negative zeal of selfishness
the mistaken selves on the shelves
of some codified, communal and coefficient categorisations
that a human moulds to serve themselves

was I never good enough for you?
was I never a good friend for you?
did I not talk to you when no one would?
did I not give you time and also befriended
your sorrows as my own?
and took your phantoms seriously?

why did you whisper sweet nothings in my ear?

it is hard to gain the respect of someone
who didn’t know what was the denotation of love
and the connotations of the affection
that lay between my chest

I palpitate
but grief should not be my second sun

for the indifference in you
highlights my love
and the nth power of my being
knows that what I did was infinite.—

precipice paintbrush

there is a precipice of who I am
and the narrative turns like the yellowing
of yellow pages; the archaic science
of me; proverbial and primordial in the wake

what can I say I am beastial, having to act polite
it is in my nature to be typhoon and tycoon
but I butter my obscenities so they can melt in your mouth
as I spoon feed you innocence know that my spoon was
an iron coded telos that knew what it felt
to have a poverty of being even if there was
the necessities to live; yet there was a refrain of self

a piano polished and not played is going to be eaten by insects
and not the kind that grow wings and molt off carnage
these blemishes are the still growing patterns
even if my seeds are blue and black
know that I have the chroma heart of a karma exodus
torching my veins and entering my alphabet
like the Aleph of the soul paintbrushed by
the slowness and sureness of the time spent
walking to this precipice
of who I am.—

telemetry of a fighter

rustling in the hands of my fate
as they wash themselves
I am tethered to the soap and I cling to the skin

never letting myself be washed away
the cells of me intermixing with the cells
of destiny; a bath of serene calmness
each ridge of bone, map coordinates to fixate on
as I embellish and write the x and y axis
thinking of the m slopes on the way

the vertigo of finding some new integers
as my skin manifests the glow
I am naked with muscle
and my fists ball up
forcing me to sway into battle

I only go down when I know the end means me
charting off to a new chapter
for fighting for me
is the telemetry of my bones
lining up to receive the blood and flesh
of my organ sounding triumph.—

instrumental independance

tampered into a bow and string
my body became like that instrument
only thing was I was also the arrow
boomeranging on and off

never the passive fully
never the aggressor fully
I knew my glass was half empty and half full
I was insulation but also catalyst

my fusion requires nothing but love
of the dysfunctional self without the matter of arrogance
pride and dignity in intersects humbleness
a balanced equation; a revolving spirit

what is about math? the value of the prime that becomes
both example and ordinary? — bivalent like the human condition

I cuddle my bones as I embrace my beating heart
that told all tales and bit the vampire
for the blood of life does not not fear the undead.—