Archive for brainwash

Healthy Natural Beverage

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by javedbabar

Bobby remembered starting work at the farm, but only vaguely. It was possibly a year ago. He used to live in the city; he had a brother there who was married, and parents who were old.

He also had somebody here… a sister, who had a daughter – that’s right! – Naomi, who he enjoyed spending time with. When was the last time he had seen her? He couldn’t recall. He should see her more often, and swore he would do that, but it was hard to find time; he was busy working “Farmtime Fulltime”, as the boss called it. He often snoozed in the forest at lunchtime, but other than that, he rarely left the farm.

He should know his fellow workers better, but he barely knew their names. Beyond “good morning,”, “good afternoon”, and “good night,” they exchanged few words. They worked alone in the fields, and then went to trailers to watch TV. It was a lonely life, but somehow pleasing. It must be, as Bobby had no desire to do anything else.

Beers in town? He had some in the fridge.

A restaurant meal? Why suffer the noise and expense?

Meeting girls? There were plenty on the internet, who were much less trouble than wining and dining a real girl just to get her into bed. Who could be bothered to expend energy on sex anyway? He wasn’t married and wanting kids. What was the point? Pleasure was readily available, if he could be bothered.

Bobby had come to the farm on the WWW programme, a Willing Waterer and Weeder. Though his official working day was twelve hours, he watered and weeded only for 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours at night. That was all he could manage. It was hot thirsty work.

The farmer encouraged them all to keep well hydrated, and there were vintage signs in many places saying Drink Tea. He’d told them that tea was better than water, as it was a healthy natural beverage with vital trace minerals. In the same way that we should eat food containing nutrients, not just empty calories, we should also consume nutritionally enhanced drinks. Their minerals ensured optimal physical functioning.

He didn’t tell them that the tea was Silva Sanguinarus, which had been given to soldiers in European wars. It was an anticonvulsant and sedative, and an anaphrodisiac.

The tea kept them working steadily but reduced their desire to do anything else. It was the perfect dietary supplement for the endless watering and weeding required for industrial organic production. After all, they were only one step away from machines. Right now people were more economical to use but that could change soon. The farmer would then switch from tea to oil.

Satellite Mushrooms

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2012 by javedbabar

Bobby was surprised that tomatoes preferred listening to commercial stations rather than official state radio. Commercial stations were full of inane chatter and annoying jingles, rather than well-programmed classical music, but plants seemed to prefer them, probably for the same reason that humans did. They was more fun.

He tried a few different stations in the hothouse, and also began broadcasting in the fields. The results were consistent – always Munchies over Mozart, Burgers over Beethoven, and Wiggles over Wagner. It was sad but true. Crops preferred crap.

A forest of mushrooms grew beneath the satellite dish in the garden corner. Was this dish for television or internet access? There were no cables leading off from it; they must be buried. He called another worker over and said, “Hey dude, what’s this?”

“Duh! It’s a satellite dish. What do you think it is?”

“I know it’s a satellite dish. I mean, why is it here?”

“Who knows, my friend. I don’t get paid enough to answer technical questions. No one has asked me to do anything to it, so I don’t care.”

He pointed to the pink fungi growing beneath. “Maybe it’s there to protect the little mushrooms from the sun. They don’t like too much sunshine, you know. Why did you plant them there?”

People make strange jokes, thought Bobby. “I didn’t plant them there.”

“You did too! You planted them there! I saw you!”

Bobby could ignore him or play along. “Why did I do that? Please remind me.”

“Because you’re a fun guy. Get it? And there wasn’t mushroom under the dish, so you squeezed them in. Now when you pine for savoury flavour, you just pick one!”

Bobby said that’s enough.

“I’m not talking shitake, pal. Why should I button it?”

Bobby wasn’t paying attention, as he’d noticed something strange. Each mushroom looked like an upside down satellite dish. It was an exact replica in pink. Maybe he was reading too much into things, after all that was their natural shape – bell ends.

But there was something stranger. Each one looked the same but also seemed different. Each had a distinctive character, almost a personality. They seemed alive, more than a vegetable should be.  One mushroom was fat, one was thin, one was shiny, another, tough-skinned; one, wet; one, almost dead.

He hadn’t been smoking the good herb last night, so why was he seeing strange things?

The fat one seemed lazy; the thin one, active; the shiny one was happy; the tough one, angry; the quiet one, sad; the almost dead one, well dying, and in a way relieved.

The other worker said, “Look pal, no need to be so glum. I’ve got a trick I can show you.” He fiddled with the dish connections. “I studied electronic engineering,” – he looked up – “things didn’t work out, but I did learn a thing or two.” He hooked the satellite dish to his smartphone. “I can’t get a decent signal in this valley, but let’s see what we can get here.”

His smartphone had crystal clear reception. They flicked through food, health, beauty, action, romance, and crime channels. They forgot about the mushrooms, and any effects these channels may have on them. Lazy, active, happy, angry, sad and dying. They were now affected themselves.

Don't You Come Round Here No More

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , , on August 1, 2012 by javedbabar

The man from the mountain felt much better the next morning. A patron of the Lucerne Valley Hotel had given him a voucher for a free steak dinner, and the barmaid had offered him free beer. He knew the receptionist would have given him a free room if possible, but would have got in big trouble. The village was that kind of place.

The man from the mountain slept in a small park near the centre of town. Its young lawns were dotted with clumps of cedar, and there was a fountain and pavilion, in the corner of which he found a blue tarp. He brushed its dust off and laid it back down, then he lay upon it, pulling the slack over himself. A cement bag made a good pillow.

Something wasn’t right when he woke up. Before he’d opened his eyes he felt threatened. He knew better than to make quick moves though. That increased the threat. He rolled his arm slowly across his body, pulling the tarp across with it.

A group of people were gathered around. He noticed their legs initially, then vague balloon-faces. He couldn’t say how many there were but guessed twenty.

A high pitched voice said, “Look, it’s the Abomination.” There was muttering around him, saying, “It comes in many guises,” and “We must guard ourselves against it.” They were repeating the words of the preacher outside the Transparent Temple yesterday.

The man from the mountain sat up on the tarp, seemingly floating on a small blue lake. Fallen white blossoms were scattered around him.

The high-pitched voice, which he saw came from a young girl, said “Why are you here?”

There was no need to answer this brainwashed child, but he felt she deserved an answer that was different from the ones she repeated unknowingly; she was putty in the hands of her parents, who were putty in the hands of the hate preacher.

Still seated, he turned around to face her, and said, “I don’t know how or why I awoke on the White Mountain. Somehow I was brought there, or came there, without my knowledge or consent.” Twice the girl almost interrupted, but she had been brought up with good manners so held back.

He continued, “I was alone there, cold and hungry, so came down to this village. Kind people fed me last night, and then I slept here.”

The child repeated, “Why are you here?”

“I don’t know, but I’ll be gone in a day or two, towards that dark mountain.” He pointed to Mt Negra.

The crowd stepped back and gasped. A man of a similar age to the man from the mountain jumped forward, his wild eyes rolling. “No, begone!” he shouted. “You belong to the dark mountain. Like the others before you, begone!”

The crowd stepped forward, circling him more tightly. He had to act, and flung himself just to the left of the girl. He broke through the crowd and ran into the forest beyond the park. They chased him, shouting, “Begone!” and threw coins and stones, but he outpaced and wrong-tracked them. The man from the mountain knew he couldn’t rest now. He climbed and crawled through the forest towards the dark mountain.

Call Me

Posted in Lucerne Village, Unknown with tags , , , on January 26, 2012 by javedbabar

John never felt the same in town. In the bush he felt free and open, but in town he felt confused and fictitious. He was not himself.

As a result of this he avoided going out. Not just going into town, but going anywhere. The best place for him was his cabin, where he stayed as much as possible. His dad used to say “An Englishman’s home was his castle”. The same held true for a Canadian’s cabin. He could build a glass room onto it, or kick it down; fill it with Swiss cheese, or start a sci-fi book club; butcher a goat and eat its raw heart, or make sweet love to a tattooed girl and then play Naked Twister. He was King here.

But the moment that he stepped out of the door, he felt different. It was subtle to begin with but strengthened quickly. And it depended on his direction of travel. Going up the Valley he felt no difference – still free and easy. But heading into town, the dread set in, and stayed with him until he got home, taking all night to dissipate.

One day John felt the dread still there in the morning. It made him panic – though the panic may have also been part of the dread. He went outside and called his friend Sham. There were five bars on his cellphone instead of the usual one. Wow, upgraded service! Despite this technological advance, Sham didn’t answer, so he left a message on his landline. He didn’t know Sham’s cell number. Then he did the stupidest thing imaginable. Fumbling with the ebony toilet seat, he dropped his phone in the bowl. It sank among turds. Fishing it out was a shitty business. It was dead alright.

Next morning John was out cutting firewood, and returned to find a package at the cabin. The phone company had sent a new phone. How did they know? He hadn’t told anyone. Maybe Sham, somehow? John decided not to open it yet, as additional charges were surely involved. His current phone may come back to life. Stranger things had happened in the Upper Valley.

John kept a good stock of oats, rice, and beans; he had meat in the freezer, plus a vegetable garden, but who can live without some processed junk? Driving into town that day for groceries, he felt free and easy. It was the strangest thing; no dread. The forests were shining; the river seemed miraculous; mountains gleamed with every colour, and pulled down the sky playfully; which replied with “Tag!”

Today, for the first time he could remember, John felt like King of the Village too, or at least a member of its Royal Family. But there was a problem – other Royals didn’t care for him much. They ignored him in the street, barged past him in store aisles, snarled at him at checkouts, and cursed him on the road.

He spotted Sham entering the deli. John parked the truck and followed him in. Sham sat among a group of sparkling faces, people he recognized – Upper Valley farmers. “Hey Johnny!”Sham called out. “King of Naked Twister! How goes it?” The farmers all laughed.

How could he! thought John. That wasn’t for public consumption. Some friend! But then he saw that people were laughing with him, not at him. They loved the thought of his playing Naked Twister. They may even try it themselves. They celebrated his sense of fun.

After a jolly lunch together, John thought he should clear things with the phone company. He asked to borrow Sham’s cell. “My friend, I beg your apology unreservedly,” said Sham with great exaggeration. “But, alas! I am not in possession of a mobile telegraph.” John looked at him confounded. “But I shall entreat our compatriots on your behalf. Sirs, in his time of greatest need, are you willing to loan Master John, Naked Twister, your mobile telegraphs?”

“No Siree!” said a farmer. “I am without telegraph.”

“Me neither,” said another. “I’m still awaitin’ on that Wichita Linesman.”

“Accept my apology, said a third. “But I can shout real loud, and so can my cousin in Strattus, and my brother-in-law in Squashy – though my sister shouts louder – whose voice may just reach the New City.”

“I’ll check the Sky Train times,” said a fourth. “If we can get his voice in before the doors shut – those commuters will repeat anything, and will carry it to The Phone Company, Inc. offices.”

They continued in this manner for many minutes, without “liking” or “sharing” anything, only a sense of fun, as if they had all the time in the world. John noticed that no one was rushing. No one was interrupting. No one was snarling or cursing. And what did these people have in common? They lived in the Upper Valley, true. But more importantly, they didn’t have cell phones.

This thought fired a synapse. After lunch he went to the library and asked for a good book on the brain. The librarian said, “It’s kind of crazy, but I liked this one.” She gave him “The Origins of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.”

Its hypothesis was that long ago, humans’ left and right brains were separate organs. The left brain was concerned with daily tasks. The right brain received divine inspiration – manifesting as prophecy, dreams, music, dance, and art. About 5,000 years ago, the two halves became networked and we became self-conscious. Our divine connection came to an end, and was, John realized, ultimately replaced by a connection costing $100+ a month, which also controlled our thoughts, and filled them instead with “news”, ads, offers, posts, updates, tweets, sound bites, comments, likes and dislikes, followers and “friends”.

John decided to return the package to the phone company, plus throw away the shitty cell. But before he reached home, the new cell tower – that had been switched on that morning, boosting his reception – managed to activate his new phone – still in the box –with countless new and enhanced features. His preference algorithms created a filter bubble. This ensured that it was impossible for his present impulsive self to resist opening that box.