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Oh god. We thought we were at war. We thought we knew who we were and who we were fighting against. What we stood for, and what they didnt.

It felt good to feel good again. To feel just and right. When the old ways had fallen to the way side one by one, we humans were reduced to feeling zero.

Perhaps they had only been false things – religion and politics – or irrelevant identitarian tribalisms – nation, wealth, race, creed, sexuality. But once the scores had been settled and the winners decided, all sides remaining stood empty. Invariably we were left with fewer and fewer groups to be right against.

Whether by war or sanction, public outcry or personal shaming – or simply the decay of older generations, the world folded neatly into itself. Over and over. Healing a little each time. Until we were left with the one final fold.

So it was when I was born. The world preparing to win or lose. To adapt or die. A war to end all wars. The Last World War.

It was almost funny how little it took for the old fault lines to reveal themselves. Had all the preceding wars been the same? We on this side, and they on theirs? Olds slurs ripped anew, hate hidden in the blood and given fresh form?

It was simply a matter of direction. We wanted freedom above all. Autonomy. Bravehearts as we were. And they wanted efficiency. Fairness beyond reproach.

In truth it was a fight as old as time. But the technology gave it a new flavour. A fresh lick of paint. We, predominantly western world wordcels, indulging ourselves with verbiose rhetoric and philosophical minutiae. And they on the eastern front simply intuiting their black boxes.

The real reason communism had never worked beyond a pencil and paper was the human beast. His greedy self-interest left unharnessed, Her slovenly reach left unchecked. Their black boxes could fix all that. What humans could not, algorithms simply Did. Ruthlessly. Efficiently. Blindly. Fairly.

Trust the Chinese to throw away their freedoms for a shred of stability. There we go with old slurs.

Were we really any better? Scattered, disunited states, fragmented former-federal friends. Together only in our will to be apart. Perhaps beliefs on both sides run deeper than we can admit.

So we fought. Their black box leviathan replicated. Its tendrils and heads seeped into every pocket around the globe. It was a hydra, it was a kraken. And we did what we did best. We fractured. Decentralised to dust, too scattered to be worth chasing. One man cells if resistance. Sometimes less. Much was possible in the new world.

How horrible an epiphany then, to realise one day that the war was already lost. It had been lost before we had even begun. That we ourselves had been another head of the hydra, another tendril of the kraken.

The wargame theory of the black boxes exploited our propensity to divide from the outset. Any strength we ever had had been in our numbers. And in not standing together, we had walked right into the leviathan’s mouth.

All of us isolated, alone. Single cell humans, rendered inert. Swallowed whole by the enemy. Each one slowly realising our folly. We thought we knew who we were fighting against. Oh god.

this (unedited) one was based on a couple of vague dichotomies that have been swirling around lately

wordcels vs shape rotators
formalism vs intuition
decentralisation vs AI
west vs east

a butterfly camouflaged against the bark of a tree

You spear throwers think yourselves apex
speak yourselves deep into this delusion
as though you came to the fire and not it to you

all the creatures of the kingdom play chase
so tell me why man prefers to hide than seek
except that in your heart of hearts you recognise
you are still the prey and something hides in the brush

The prison is all but complete, hell manifest
and the meat bicker over who holds the keys
and who paints the cells

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