Note: You will not find coherence here. This is work in progress, it jumps from stories to glossary to world building considerations.
This is a pile of tangled threads, yet to be woven into a coherent pattern (not even of language), let alone woven into the stories of Witness themselves. Some threads my be discarded, or used elsewhere. Feedback welcome. However my attention is limited, so please don’t take offence if replies are slow or not forthcoming.
This is an exercise in vulnerability. Working in public.
Wei wake up and feed face. First a rinse in water, exfoliation with the local soil. Finally wi feed biome, with a rich ferment homebrew smelling of ginger beer and pumpkin spice. The soil, water, and nutrient run off flow to the garden. Wi watch our body return to the source, as wi begin ior morning reflection.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the Fairest of them all.
In the eye of the beholder beauty lies,
So with moral good, you must define
By your own values and terms
Your fairness does grow
Now in the data
To you I shall show.
The Mirror replies, as a spectral web unfurls from my body, showing the flow of resources, ideas, emotions and relationships rippling out.
The Asifist Ambassador
First a confession. I am from the Avant-Grid. I have lived among you, as if I were one of you. But fear not. I'm not from some renegade cell (which may or may not be a fiction of your own making). I'm here to learn your ways better, so I may introduce our culture to yours. In the hope that you will invite us to land on your shores, in the interests of Mutual Aid and exchange.
In your language we are best viewed as a Nomadic Knowledge Co-op. The Circus of Seeds. We wish to be bees to your flowering civilisation, assisting in the cross pollination that your cultures may bear new fruit. Our offer is a space for sharing, and we ask that you share in exchange. That each of us might gain. We carry with us many seeds, from processes and rituals, to technology and games. We hope that some are of use to you, and that you may contribute to this bank in turn.
If enough of you wish for us to visit, we shall. All we require to begin is a space to dock. If you would prefer instead to visit us first, you can find us in the outer reaches of the Avant-grid. Where the reef builders and habitat creators live.
Below I will attempt to describe who we are and what we do, using the language of the Assembly, to introduce you to our terms and our ways.
The anti-glossary represents words are consciously omitted as Seedizens reprogram their patterns of thinking. At first one may find this a little jarring, as entire concepts are foreign and inaccessible in discussions with a Seedizen, this may prove frustrating.
I have communicated these linguistic differences with the Seedizens, some have taken the time to familiarise themselves with these patterns of thought.
Others consider them to be dangerous both for themselves and you. They are aware of them, but they keep them in a mental poison cabinet, and you may sense distaste as they attempt to use them.
Please do not be offended by their ways, they don't connect ideas with people so if they appear disgusted when addressing you it's disgust at the feeling of the idea itself and not towards you. Alternatively they may smirk at these terms, or just look confused. Neither emotional response is considered good in our culture, however like everyone else we have work to do.
Words not found:
I - "there is no I, for I cannot exist outside of Us" In place of I, Seedizens use Wei.
My - "there is no my, for this body belongs to the Earth, Wi have borrowed it for a time, but that doesn't make it "mine"". In place of my Seedizens use this, or that or their, or the name of the cluster of beings to which they are referring.
Property (possessive). Things can have properties, but not in the sense of ownership. How can a body that doesn't own itself, own another body. People have relationships. These relationships are recognised as mutual entanglements, even extensions of selfhood. Frequently you may hear Seedizens talk about things in close relation to them with the prefix Us. eg. UsHeart - is the heart that pumps in UsBody. From the perspective of the Assembly, this is perhaps easier to grasp than that of Libra. Whilst one would expect the lack of self and selfhood to result in mistreatment. At the core of the idea of property is the right to destroy or abuse something. UsBody is not ours, it is on loan, like everything else in our community we have a duty to care for, maintain it and increase its carrying capacity.
Despite this perception of body as leant, along with every other resource. Duty of care lies with the ones in closest relationship. The setting of boundaries, rights of use etc. are decided at the level of Self.
"If you can recognise the Amazon as both a being, and a collection of beings, then you can extend the same courtesy to us"
He/Him/His/Her - All contain multitudes, all are They.
Seedizens regard this as the higher truth. That said Seedizens practice I-do-I, You-do-you in their engagement with others, and attempt to indulge others self descriptions as a matter of respect for the self perceived identity.
Money - Whilst Seedizens do have tokens of account, they don't refer to them as Money. Money is a pre-Sundering reference going as far back as Rome. Both ambiguous and too laden with the taint of imperial Rome and its war coffers, Seedizens reject the term. Some argue that even using the term is an invocation of Rome and her goddess Moneta, calling forth imperial endeavours with every use (although they do so with a grin, its very hard to work out what Seedizens believe as they hold their own beliefs so lightly).
Seedizen - Proximate Member being of the Circus of Seeds.
Circudian - any being recognised by the Circus as being a part of it's being, given the Circus's Pantheistic, Animist Religious Framework this is a very broad descriptor and includes every global being, both unseen and seen as well as universal influences. It is a term so broad as to be nearly useless, however it invoked by Seedizens whenever the tendency to externalise any being or system arises.
Wei - Seedizens refer to themselves as pluralistic individuals in recognition of the mobile ecosystems of biodiversity each of them represent.
Wei-do-Wei, You-do-you, They-do-They! - Wei-do-Wei, You-do-You, They-do-They! recognises the differences between world views, models and ontologies. It doesn't claim that one experience of reality is more true than another - You-do-you - means your experience of reality is yours and is valid to you. They-do-They, is an extension to remind others to mind their own fucking business, except when the actions of others affect them.
Wei-do-Wei draws a boundary around the collective self. Just because you have a way of seeing the world, wei also have ours. The respect goes in both directions. If you are attempting to harm or coerce me, because you believe your model entitles you do you so, wei do not have to have to accept that. Likewise if wei believe our model entitles us to harm or coerce you, you do not have to accept that.
Wei-do-wei, You-do-you! like all behaviours is sometimes useful and sometimes harmful. It can lead to parallel exploration, which can reveal multiply opportunities. When more co-ordinated actions are required, asifism is invited.
Asifism - Asifism is a means of empathy creation, and increased perception as practiced by Seedizens. They practice adopting anothers belief systems, or behaving as close as they can to the being they wish to empathise with. Charles Foster was an Early Pioneer of this manner of deep empathy. Micky Haekle, coined the term. Asifism allows for ontological and behavioural mobility within the Circus of Seeds community. It doesn't require belief, and instead encourages Seedizens to try out different belief systems and view them akin to lenses and clothes, rather than permanent identity traits. I am practicing Asifism here, otherwise you would be mentally jarred every few seconds by terms with which you are not yet familiar.
When a Seedizen, or indeed the whole Circus wishes to move, it undertakes the process of Delonging. This process can be so messy and complicated, that usually it is practiced alongside the belonging/entanglement process that the Circus undertakes with its host.
Delonging is the process of making oneself redundant. To do so one must ensure that any critical service one provides is available elsewhere, or the means exist to easily replicate it should it be desired (sometimes "absence is the only incentive"). Delonging is not always possible with emotional flows and dependancies. However no ending is ever seen as forever, a break maybe temporary, but it should not be catastrophic.
Where the Circus originated or by who, isn't known.
These details of geography, culture and identity where either not known to the old one, or actively denied. "Where or who" are not important they said, judge us on what we do. All else is distraction. There are lands to which we are more deeply entangled, but all lands have born us, just as our matter stretches back to the stars.
So what do you do? asked the curious Substrate growers of the 'Grid.
They replied, "To say what Wi do is to lie by omission. What wi do is in the moment and as the moment requires. Wi could say, wi are an inventor, or a waste warrior or wizard, or a gardener. Wi could say wi are a carrier of seeds, on a path to ior death. When wi say judge us on what wi do, wi mean just that - what wi do, not what wi say wi do, but what wi really do."
"Here in this space, you will find things wi have done. Wi are happy to answer your questions about these, and share with you these seeds and entanglements of our being."
The residents of the (........) Canton had awoken one morning to find a Dome grounded on their reef, inside an old grey beard, oddly clothed, sleeping so deeply at first they thought them dead.
Later the Grey Beard explained he was in Slack. A state of slowed metabolism, that allowed for the conservation of energy.
Description of the Dome, and the old one within.
Initially they think he's been banished from his community - but it emerges he is engaged in his Journey of the Last Gifts.
Who in the Avant Grid discovers the Dome? What is the Canton it lands at? Substrate producers or eco-fascist.
Discovery of a floating dome - seed of the circus of seeds.
Visitor inside, 75 year old. Last quest.
Origins a mystery.
Technological contents - a mixture of old and new technologies. tending towards simplicity.
Guides and games
Attention, Adaptation, Exploration.
How does it engage with Avant Grids economy, politics, etc.
Avant Grid - food trade with
Smuggling (Seaside Senators
Hoshizaki BioMonastery, Hoshizaki BioMonastery, a Hygge-Covenant joint operation that licensed intellectual property from the Assembly and was using vast tracts of potentially arable land on Avantgrid to provide food supplies to both Distrikts.
Low energy space - relational energy connection
Eco-Pragmatism and the Infinite Win - Tying Value to inverse energy consumption? vs tying Value to Energy Production/Efficiency creation.
Suspicion between avant-grid and libria
Opportunity for creation of a Canton in the Avant-grid
technologies to interface with - neural interface - perhaps through mycellial means
Conflict points with the Eco-fascists
Risk Bushido and the Magic Mirror
Dominant economy - Barter
Politics - Canton Anarchy - Agora Practices
Claim as much land as you need
Cantons Share technology to advance energy conservation tech and behaviours - here Circus can really excel.
Reuse Fair - again a point of connect - what kinds of Waste do the other Districts produce?
"forests, marshes, fields, and undisturbed wildlife. Many of the islands are covered in evergreen pinewood forests and a varied flora, enriched by the pollen that gets carried by the winds across the ocean."
"Some of these creatures were flown in to Witness from surrounding landmasses, while others were genetically engineered and developed. This has resulted in a surprising and sometimes unmapped fauna populating some of the larger islands of Avantgrid."
"There are 149 islands in the archipelago; outside of Akur, boundaries are being made and remade all the time, and new islands are under construction by various parties within Avantgrid."
Between Assembly and Libria - Akur is Capital - Make a Map - where does Circus Land? With whom does it first engage?
The Infinite Win - Archetypes/Rolls and how to play.
Step 1. Rewarding Recognition/Communication.
The religious belief system of the Circus of Seeds is widely varied, but best surmised as Contextual Agnostic Pantheistic Animist Asifist.
It is Agnostic as many believe, that true experience of reality is not possible due to material limitations. Our experience of the Universe is a lie by Omission. If we can experience optical and audible illusions, surely we must also be able to experience spiritual Illusions. They believe the most honest response therefore is Agnosticism.
It is pantheistic as if one cannot know whether ones experience of God or Gods are true, one must be agnostic about many gods, rather than only one.
It is animist, as equally if one cannot dismiss the existence of a higher spirit, likewise one should be open to the existence of smaller spirits in all things.
It is Asifist as a lens on reality affects how one engages. Even if they don't believe of disbelieve they must still act, so they act as if their belief is true.
Contextual - Gods and things each have their own way of seeing the world, and likewise their believers adopt different behaviours depending on their faith or lens of worship.
The Seedizens in any given situation will rotate through their broad range of belief systems, and then attempt what they believe to be the most appropriate response to a given situation.
eg. Before they attempt to repair a broken thing - applying "Persig's Zen Lens" to their reality, they will first try taking gently to the machine.
Whilst to our scientific eyes (and to theirs when they adopt this view) it makes no rational sense that this should work, sometimes it does. Therefore it matters not whether it is True, what matters is it works.
Form and organisation of the Circus.
The circus is fractal and distributed in nature. A circus can be one human biome, and the ideas that they carry, or it can be an event based co-op - a temporary collaboration from which members can disperse and converge as they see fit. Within the larger circus there may be smaller units of co-dependancy, however interdependency is encouraged for all needs in order to foster greater resilience and balance of power. The circus believes that no one being, or entity should be the exclusive provider for a Humans Needs, as this creates an exploitable dependancy and an imbalance of power.
That said, often such dependencies emerge - especially with respect to emotional couplings. These are tolerated, but heart break is a tough teacher, and Seedizens trend towards more polyamorous relationships at least in principle.
What is paramount even in Mutually Dependant Couplings is that "Your Need is not my Obligation". Whilst a sexual desire may be communicated, where the wish is not mutual, then that person should either look elsewhere or "serve themselves".
Often and somewhat counterintuitively the principle of polyamory serves to keep a relationship honest. The knowledge that Co-dependancy is a choice rather than a contract leads to increased gratitude and awareness between parties.
This Fractal Pattern certainly shares some traits with the Assembly. In principle, each individual increases their ability to be autonomous.
In practice however it is frequently more efficient to serve and be served. Autonomy is cultivated as a form of power balance, the ability to move and survive being regarded as essential to freedom from oppression at any scale.
None are yet fully autonomous for prolonged periods, and age and health can always render one vulnerable. So personal poly-systemic skills are also cultivated - a deepening of specific abilities, that allow for the creation of a valuable niche in whichever culture the Circus lands.
The Neuro-architectural manifestations of the Circus reflect this fractal pattern of inter-dependance and change. Domes and bridges of differing sizes, materials and forms cluster and move. Each individual has a small private dome, a space for them and to express themselves. Other spaces are co-creations, but many are Event Spaces, changing on different cycles according to need. It is in these that the Seedizens create the Circus - which creates a monthly event cycle of exchange, renewal, death and rebirth. The Seedizens relationship with space is therefore one of continuous and active participation. A practice they call Context Craft.
Moving a dome isn't a simple feat, so often the Circus moves as one.
That a dome can move within or away from the Circus is considered more important, than actually moving it. Much like the ability to leave a relationship, the ability to move or leave entirely, means that to stay in a place is a choice. Truths can be spoken more clearly, when the option to leave is always possible.
Role Play, over Role as Identity
Within the Circus "roles are rolling" while some may have become more adept than others, Seedizens play a role, performing through embodied and enclothed cognition the role of whatever Archetype is needed. Sometimes Placebo Highs are consumed, or rituals performed to further heighten their levels of embodiment. It borrows heavily from historical archetypes, expressions an imagery of relevant gods, and method acting. Nobody asks what do you do? in the Circus of Seeds, instead they ask what and who do you serve or express?
Avant-Guardians - Avant-Guardians. Avant-Guardians are a very strange expression indeed. From pre-sundering we hear that laughter is the best Medicine, but the Advant-Guardians believe laughter is the best defence.
When faced with conflict situations, the Avant-Guardians "context shift" using unfamiliar and surreal patterns on the aggressors, disorienting them and creating situations where conflict is emotionally and sometimes physically unviable.
"Chip Guy", Standing Man, and the Original Avant-Guardian are pre-sundering masters of their art. Mixed success has been experienced during larger scale conflicts and threats - AIs required them to adapt their art, as AIs lack humour.
A pre-sundering tale, tells of leather clad Masochists prostating their rears at the front of protests screaming "hurt me daddy" "yes thats the way" and "harder", while Furries with blood bags were being beaten with batons on camera and projected onto the side of neighbouring buildings and widely broadcast. The optics of this spat, left the police damaged on multiple fronts, and left them questioning their identity both privately and publicly. The press struggled to find a coherent narrative, against the backdrop of absurdity and kink.
Generally however the Avant Guardians operate on more individual levels, as the Circus seeks to make itself Useful to both Power and People in each context its lands, a difficult dance which we have yet to see how it plays out in these fractured lands of Witness. Especially since the Circus has evolved in the wilds of the Avant Grid, a place regarded as a potential threat to the more established powers of Witness.
The Circus has x core strategies for adapting to changes in context. These happen at multiple scales of being. These are:
Fight - very rarely used
"don't just do something, sit there" origin unknown.
"A seed does not land and begin its life by running around. It waits until the conditions are right before any effort is made. A plant may wilt, when water is not present, or close its leaves. A bear does not seek food in winter, its sleeps. A sea turtle travels fast when the current flows,These are the ways of Slack. Slack is a part of the system. A system without Slack, will break when extra strain is added. Slack is essential. There are those who will preach to you that Slack is Sloth, that Slack is a Sin. Pay them no heed. Slack conserves energy and material resources, and unless your action is net generative, then your action is futile. If an action creates more loss than gain, how can it be said to be more worthy than simply doing nothing"
In Praise of Slack, a Culture Weaver.
Slack is a form of slowing metabolism. Hibernation for all seasons. Seedizens practice slack during annual migrations, and periods of hardship. The hardest element of practicing Slack is Trust and Vulnerability. Not being subject to predation, attack, or ability to respond to natural catastrophe, in light Slack one must also contend with issues of status, self perception, perceived Value. Circus culture celebrates and venerates slack to address some of these notions. Inactivity is a Virtue.
Slack in the Circus is also practiced at a Cultural Scale. The Circus is an Event based culture. They mill when the wind blows, cook, bake and smelt when the sun shines, harvest water when it rains. When the world is still, the culture practices stillness. It asks what the world is listening for and listens with it.
Things that would help with story creation.
How do materials make their way onto Witness/off witness - how does the City Eat and Shit.
Glossary/Anti-Glossary - By district.
Technologies - and access rights
Rituals/Religions - https://edgeryders.eu/t/witness-religious-life/15337