On Mockery

Ridicule is a powerful, and to the self-righteous and those in power, dangerous weapon. From simple humor, to satire, to outright derision, we may often cleverly direct barbs at those who make questionable claims with intent to deceive, control, or harm others; to take their votes, their money, or their health and lives.

Here, I speak only for myself with regard to others’ beliefs…

I’m happy to let most people keep to their beliefs, as long as they do likewise for me. After all, nominally, at least, there’s a guaranteed freedom of belief in my country, despite the wishes of dogmatic sectarians in religion and politics. I respect that freedom to the extent it’s respected for me.

So beliefs I leave alone. It’s claims that I’m concerned with, not beliefs. Not all claims are innocent, and some need to be called out when they are made when false and/or harmful.

Many take offense at ridicule, and this is understandable — few like to be laughed at rather than with. This sometimes results in threats and intimidation by the offended, but often just fallacy, mudslinging, and misrepresentation to salvage credibility in the face of looking foolish.

But in the United States, where there is nominally a Constitutional guarantee to freedom of speech and expression, there is no freedom from the consequences of what you say anywhere in that same document, especially when you say patently absurd things to pander to, defraud, or influence others unethically.

Anywhere. In. The. Constitution.

Look it up online if you care to — you won’t find it. And while you’re at it, look up the Streisand Effect as well, a common hazard when attempting to suppress criticism.

So satire, ridicule, and outright mockery are powerful tools; dangerous to the powerful, applicable to the silly and puffed-up, and apply rightly to claims made for unjust and unethical purposes.

Whatever you believe, it’s what you actually say that matters, and the aftereffects might not be what you like, but don’t whinge and cry persecution for your beliefs when called out online for saying the ridiculous or the utterly appalling.

I’m not concerned about your beliefs beyond respecting your right to have them…

…and you’ll just make things worse. ;-)

Fractals of the Week: Minions of the Wastes

G’day! Here are more recent uploads to deviantART, both available as prints and as free file downloads. This week has been fertile, as I’m creating new presets for images, including these monstrosities. This week, I’m featuring images via MB3D, which has seen a lot of recent use during self-training sessions and preset experimentation.

All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via Mandelbulber, Fractal Domains, Ultra Fractal, Frax, and Mandelbulb 3D and unless otherwise stated are copyright 2015 by Troy Loy.

Flash Fiction: Young Festerling

It happened again. But this night was different. I had that dream again, just like I did the night of my 13th birthday a month ago.

It was that…thing again, a big, slimy, wormy-looking monster hovering over my bed, and me not being able to move or scream, just looking it in the — eyes? — before I woke up sweaty and cold that first night.

It was squealing, sighing, tittering, making awful slurping noises, and weird smells, one after the other, waving ropy arms around like it was trying to tell me something, being real quiet so no one would hear it but me.

But tonight was different.

I never told anyone, though, since one time I understood what it was saying to me…

…and I’m not afraid of it anymore. It told me what to do. So this night, I got up and obeyed it, and sent my family to heaven. Just like the monster said to. They’ll be so much happier.

The big, wormy monster rewarded me…gave me a present. It’s on my shoulder now, and I’ll keep it a secret, just between us, a sign of love…

…I can’t let people know about my new tentacle.

You Fought, Carl. Oh, How You Fought…

I’ve been waiting for a way to say this, but I think this ought to do…

On May of this year, Carl Powell, a friend and long-time subscriber to this blog passed away after a 2 1/2-year battle with brain cancer, finally taking the Reaper’s pallid hand on Sunday, the 25th, at 00:45 EST, at just 51 years of age.

It’s not like it came unexpectedly, and frankly I’m impressed that he survived as long as he did. He had good doctors, and I attribute credit where it’s been earned, however slim the chances of survival, and even if it’s ultimately hopeless.

As I knew him, he was always willing to lend a hand, even offering a ride home on a busy evening from the old gaming shop now and then. He gave freely of his time when his work allowed, and was quick with a critical eye and ready opinion — and this blog is so much the better for it.

In the last few years, his conditions of employment disallowed much in the way of his posting online, and that’s understandable. He will be missed, by friends and family, and on this blog — missed, but finally at peace in that great, vast gulf at the end of life.

What of an afterlife? I look for no comfort there, and I’ll harbor no illusions that it should be the case. I’ve no reason to, and it would be dishonest of me to answer in the affirmative. I simply don’t know, and neither does anyone else as far as can be objectively shown.

Goodbye, Carl…and take care. You’ll be remembered.

Future Fluff: Suthidruu Afterlife: The Truth behind the Mythology

The Suthidruu, my twistedly compassionate genocidal monastics, are given to exterminating all life in whole galaxies, one planet-buster or nova-trigger at a time. Their motivation is the belief that they are sending their victims to paradise, offering salvation, on its face a murderous delusion.

But what if they are at least partly right? What if there’s a grain of truth to it all, however warped?

What if they are sending their victims to paradise, just not to the one they actually believe in in some other dimension of reality?

In some far corner of the universe lies a red dwarf star. Enclosing that star in layers, like an onion for ogres, or a parfait for talking donkeys…

…there is a massive structure, a collection of solar collectors and computing elements…a Matrioshka brain. Within its vast network of circuits lies a virtual universe.

It is a relic of the bygone days of the Nine Who are One. It is here that paradise lies, in this massive universe-within-machine. Here, all of the destroyed species are uploaded by mind-ripper technology and here they exist as data-patterns.

In the Suthidruu’s infamous Last Rites ceremony, the neural patterns of every species on a world capable of perceiving and reacting to its environment are destructively copied. Brains and nervous systems are turned to soup, and the data uploaded to the Matrioshka brain. They reside as digital shades unaware of their predicament and existing in this virtual world for as long as the ‘brain can draw power from its star.

The mind-ripper is effectively black-box technology to the Worms, considered to be holy relics of mysterious construction.

There is no downloading to a new body, or return to an old one for the copied data-pattern. They’re stuck there, to await the company of the Suthidruu far in the future of the universe.

That’s when the Pious Worms have finally fulfilled their duty and destroyed themselves in a final mass-uploading. Only then will they know the truth behind the myth, when the patchwork nature of Paradise is revealed, its less-than-optimal simulation of the hereafter obvious in the universe’s dying days as the star powering it cools to a lightless cinder.