The year is 2036. The world has changed but it has not changed. Prisoner No. 12 is still alive, he has gone on vacation several times and returned. Yes, vacation; it was instituted in many countries around the world some few years back. He wonders why he is still alive though: whether he too has been infected or it’s some dream or some fiction.

He sits in the library with a few others. He is sprawled on his seat watching his TV while the others also watch theirs – the individual viewing his innovation to reduce conflict and one added thing: a chorus of information from varied sources but no one knew this. He should have gotten one of those new gadgets that fit right into your neural system but he didn’t like them, they felt too intrusive or something like that. From the speakers of the several, the newsmen announce the goings-on on the streets. There seemed to be some mass action of sorts.

“And scientism has taken over the world,” they all seem to concur, paraphrased or not, “bionic boobs bounce around and everything is busy getting augmentation. Some have bemoaned whether humans think for themselves in these new times; everyone is just a computer program walking around, as you can see behind me. In that anonymous letter in 2015, we all vividly recall that eerie question that was asked, ‘when computers control computers, what would we have?’ It was a profoundly difficult question and here we have the results. But still, the author of that letter did make a caveat for he wondered if computers and machines were capable of evolution or mutation into real intelligences, or should anyone suppose that an archaic process like rusting alone was enough mutation, but could rusting alone birth that renegade that is human intelligence? Evolutionary psychologists and neuroscientists have been thinking about it, evolutionary physicists have been too.”

Prisoner No. 12 thinks to himself: the world has not changed. People still complaining all over the place. The computer program seems to have frozen them in a world of 2015 although it appears their clocks still move and recognize time. I wonder if this newsman himself is a computer program.

He sighs pensively and leaves the room with his drawling walk.

He sits at the edge of his bed ruminating the issue and suddenly gets up. Moves to and fro and then settles in the middle of the room, in the soliloquy he too has never quit,

“Scientism is wreaking havoc on the world. This is an old humdrum story. It is not true as well. It is a failure of understanding is all,” nowadays, though, he has significantly changed, the former rampant excitement of his speech has been replaced by a quintessential calmness, “it is a failure of the intellect to properly emend its role and purpose in the world. It is not science’s fault. That is exactly what scientism itself is, a misunderstanding, then people lay the blame at it and sciences doorstep, blinding themselves to the essence of the problem. Always complaining but never investigating and trying solutions. That in itself is another misunderstanding: the laying of blame at science and scientism’s feet.

“I tell you, the intellect does not understand itself, neither does everything else understand it; I recall someone once said that the problems of philosophy concerned what to value and how to act. That was 2010. It was a Nietzschean that said that: these people incapable of thinking for themselves and deconstructing and critiquing the conclusions of others are like that, always collecting the conclusions from all over the place without a conscience and not viewing them as mere perspectives that need criticism. And it is just what happens with those very incapable of metaphilosophy and metagnoseology – it is not a condemnation of them, it is just an identification of the problems and a critique of the position. And unfortunately, they are in the way. Let me deal more forthrightly with the position:

“Knowledge is not produced essentially to give man values. Knowledge is just produced for its own sake. It is a disposition in man to make knowledge, just like the disposition to create values and the disposition to act. Like I said elsewhere before, it is primarily an instinct. Hence, science, philosophy, or learning in general, is simply an instinct. Just because knowledge, values and actions assist each other does not mean they exist for each others sakes. The exist, period.

“Mind you, philosophy and its problems are concerned with the production of knowledge.

“It is a blunt fatal evil to say that philosophy and its problems are merely concerned with showing man what to value and how to act. By extension, such people would also say the same of science, and learning in general. This is just too fallacious. They are confusing the subjective side of learning with the objective side. The subjective side deals with the formation of individual value systems, individual beliefs about oneself, personal philosophies and so forth, while the objective side deals with saying for a fact what the facts of existence are; the latter case which leads to us considering the various individual philosophies as well. There is the world of man as fact and the world of man as living, believing, valuing, acting, being.”

No. 12 pauses mid-speech to chew a bit on those intuitions he has just let off. He goes on,

“And these people accuse others of scientism. The scientistic also are very right to accuse them of philosophism, although the scientistic are so caught in their tradition and faith that they wouldn’t be capable of this feat. Or, is it only in theory. Well … Putting philosophy or any branch of man’s vast network of agencies above all of life and man. Such a flagrant crime!

“Knowledge is what it is. It may be used for so and so but it remains knowledge not that it was created for so and so. These arguments of intelligent design are boring, audacious and fallacious, going far beyond Nature. Alas, these supposedly rationalistic folk claim abstractions such as Nature are redundant, full of fart only, and that they are not useful in any meaningful or serious inquiry or discussion. Being so unpragmatic, they do not understand the practical significance of an abstraction, a term or a concept: it is supposed to subsume the many concepts and entities that are covered in their conception. Who has time and space to be listing all the variegation and vicissitude of all that is within that which we call Nature?

“Let knowledge alone to be. All these lies about this is for this and that for that is too reminiscent of the first cause argument and monism. Because when it is said that one thing was made for another, the legitimate follow-up question is what was made for that one thing to exist. And then something made the universe and so forth so that an infinite regress of universes ensues – not just one of space and different composition – but one with a markedly distinct purpose and quality; therefore, a qualitative difference, not one of structure or the empirical. Where will and what is the foremost universe, that largest one, in this series be, then? What is beyond the largest? Void? A return to Democritus? Isn’t the void also something that exists? But, it requires no cause, magically. It’s just there, not needing to be encased anywhere. Hmm … Perhaps, they speak of a material universe … Whatever … so what is this whole series trying to achieve? You? Man? How hubristic! That is what these great rational debaters imply. Nature and the elements and every other thing are just following their beat. Find out how things work, find out the benefits of the existence and operations of the one for the other and quit this fallacious talk of purposes and “for’s” and “becauses”.

“Nature and the elements and every other thing are just following their beat. Any order that you see is not chance nor is it design, it’s just … something else … what … heck, I don’t know.”

No. 12 lays on his bed watching at the ceiling, about to close his eyes when he says, “I don’t know but it sure isn’t chance or design.”

Prisoner No. 12 watches a video where the Architect of Our Dear Penitentiary meets with one of the spiritual leaders from around his way, around his day.

Architect: Believe me, I love business, I really do. Business is pleasing when it is booming. But there is something disgusting about business that is desperate. The frantic efforts of your cohort is hardly respectable, one invariably wishes to turn the eye away from their unsightly products. Diarrhea can be nice when it is just metaphorical but this is raw. Your mates in the religio-spiritual sector of our precious life are so desperate to match every spiritual concept with a discovery in science most notably, human biology. What is that?! Ooh..the correlations do have appreciable degree of truth about them but what is all this desperation about? Can’t these teachings stand alone and be benefited from in their own right without running under the armpit of science? Do you need a protector so much? Business that is not daring, dependent, saying “these people eat tomatoes so I’ll bring them tomato juice” is just distasteful. All you are doing is trying to make use of science to your ends, yes, commendable, but do you reckon the amount of damage you do your own ward when you oversimplify it? Be better businessmen, man, and quit with your sniveling. I like a businessman who can create his own market.

For me, I take your correlations simply as metaphors, nothing more.

Prisoner No. 12 sits in the visiting area; he never receives any and expects no change but he comes just so he watches “interactions in nature”. A group chats behind him – a lady and her fiance;

Lady: Remember we are Christians. The good book says we should love our neighbours as ourselves not “more than”..

Fiance: Yes.

No. 12 has some thoughts – it seems this guy is having some trouble with his cellmate. Ahh..I could use some company but I am labeled “maximum security” – but does not concern himself with them centrally so he goes on:

“Some books are too authoritative. The only authority should be the world and the various beliefs, proceeding from even more various and numerous perceptions, it gives us. In some parts of the world books are so authoritative one imagines libraries for states.”

He now looks away to another group that seems to be having some mini-party. They seem very happy despite their great misfortune, it’s interesting. Now he sighs, “time with family…” and smiles in a grimace.

Prisoner No. 12 sits at the edge of his bed as some memories from childhood roll through his head. He takes out the picture from under his pillow and smiles at the vest he was wearing. What’s more interesting is his skeptical countenance. Some thoughts roll off;

The way I see it, the majority (I truly cannot claim acquaintance with all) of spirituality and religion misunderstand themselves. There is so much in-fighting among them, premised on perceived misconceptions of each other. For instance, Buddhism denies the existence and any belief in deities that other religions do. For me, both Buddhism and the others misunderstand themselves: truly, to take the deities so literally is a fault but also to reject whole systems because of this is a fault. It does not help to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” – this shows both are not good businessmen. Anyway, both would consider businessmen, whose focus is on advantage and not integrity (surely their own notion of it) unscrupulous. Buddhism mistakes or projects its own literalism for the meaning of the others and also mistakes the practice for the root meaning. The others also mislead themselves in following their guiding literature so literally. Buddhism, to me, is concerned more with practice and path while the others are more with the nature or structure or metaphysics of the same subject. Both relate but they are not the same.

Most religions assert an unveiling of a Divine Plan on Earth. In as much as this is so, the believer and practitioner is behooved to find the correspondence on Earth between this plan and what is on Earth. Either they are lazy or not intelligent enough or just blinded by their own faith or afraid of the task – I cannot diagnose their problem in their absence. When ones understanding of this Divine Plan is so obviously in contention with what the world presents, why should one proceed in such understanding? It is this that betrays their blind faith. Ahh yes, they say man is the instrument of that Divine Plan and so they say it is he who has to put it in place. Obviously, one still has to find the correspondence between the Earth and heaven to do this. I have never met any that did this.

And then they claim not to be subject to Logic. They forget that logic is already involved in their systems. It was logic that set about to demarcate the extents of those concepts that are encapsulated in their gods and so forth. If not for logic, would they differentiate one feature from another, a rule from a personality? Here we can propose that it is this denial of logic that is responsible for their non-performance of the search for that correspondence I mentioned for it is Logic which will tell whether the correspondence is proper or not.

As I see it, religions misunderstand themselves. They have use of course especially where they are clear but belief en masse as is usually the case is a fault and I will have nought to do with it but criticism. A criticism which should lead to a critique whose product is identification of faults and solution of them.

Prisoner No. 12 finds a caption in the photo album of the Architect of Our Dear Penitentiary where he is doing the bolero. Stork-standing, No. 12 reads;

Architect: Most people like to wield the words, paradox and contradiction, when they do not even know what the ‘p’ and the ‘c’ mean. They are unworthy to wield the swords of Reason. Step to the side and quit your shenanigans before you impale yourself on your own sword. This is not childs play.

They like to denounce “paradox!”, “contradiction!” as if the propositions made are totally untrue when the issue is their presentations are improper. The duty then, for the audience and author or orator, is to find the proper presentation and hence clearer, that is, more delimited conception of the ideas and their their relations in the proposition. This is better behavior fitting for an adult feeling more responsibility for the Universe he finds himself in and much more for the many children who will weep for a morsel of mental clarity and clarity deserts the world and leaves their external conditions dire. Far better than just denouncing “paradox!” and “contradiction!” whose purpose is to mask the more pestilential “impossible!” like some dictators I know. Such behavior betrays laziness Or fear of the task OrĀ  incompetence also known as stupidity Or because some gray beard sanctioned it. *Scoff* I wish I could spit their essence from my mouth! I cannot refuse to mention it for they are here and their position requires critique before the infect everybody. Even if they didn’t exist, I still would tackled the possibility. Yes, I would.

No. 12: What he is talking here is a manifesto for a certain type of person. It isn’t for everybody. And he cleverly disguises that in his ending sentences, that is, after he scoffs at his perceived opponents.

Prisoner No. 12 has been abnormally quiet four days now. Officer is worried but from time to time, he hears laughs from there and he has this blank stare in his eyes. He’s coiled on the floor in the shape of a mollusc; he’s not eaten all these days, it may be surmised this contortion is influenced by the form of his bowel currently. He’s so absorbed in those tapes recorded by the Architect of Our Dear Penitentiary, or is it his photo album?

Architect: The way I see it is this – Socrates was not a man after knowledge, he was after ultimate knowledge. That’s what he was looking for and he never stopped. He wanted irrefutable truth but failed in his search. In this, he forgot something that was the doubtless the cause of his failure: his own ingenuity. Socrates could and would strive to examine any point and prove it moot. He did this by always opening up every viewpoint he was audience to. Had he left them alone to stand, he might have discovered it but he so obsessively oped all. In truth, one should say he should never have searched for them at all.

The effect of an encounter with Socrates can be likened to that with the HIV. That virus unlocks the security system of the body and leaves open for any attack to lay it waste. Socrates does similar arguments.

This chase for ultimate truth have I experienced before. It was born in a boy not even adolescent. Relentlessly did he search it out but then he hit the snag that hits everyone who goes too far: he died. That there was no ultimate truth killed the boy, he died in my arms. This boy was none other than my father. He died on his 20th birthday when I was but 7. From him, I learned the saying “I know nothing, nobody does, and that is my wisdom”. It was after this I discovered Socrates said the same thing. Even the method he usually used was much like Socrates’. Besides, both were largely vagabonds. I realized then that it was not just two disparate events, it was one type of man. That was my father, he chased knowledge and died on its pike, advising me not to emulate. I understood those last words affirming ignorance and they keep me creating with abandon as an Architect. That is the soul of my work, my fathers soul.

However, keeping the light of Truth burning above ones house provides the fuel that drives any expedition. For Truth is inexorable and thus, one keeps working, one keeps discovering, one grows beyond the limits of the fathers. Ultimate truth is one great abstraction and a shape-shifter at that.

Unlike my father, my work is not destructive but productive. And though I use my fathers functionalism, I do not share his indifference, almost distaste, for beauty, as can be seen in this spectacular Penitentiary I have built.

All in all, my father was a good man, I wish to see him again today although his face is in every single artifact of mine.

Prisoner No. 12 has been fasting two days straight now. He’s been running on water all this while and has been listening to the Architect of Our Dear Penitentiary:

The only way the world can be changed is by understanding it first. Some miss the point of this and are impatient to change the world with their meager understandings. Others get this point too much and keep exploring and understanding, never progressing to the next for their work to be of any material significance. My father was a distinct example of the latter type. I have the same trait to an equal or greater degree and it is the reason I rather take to building than anything that can have significant, almost cataclysmic, impact on the world.

The aroma from Officers hot chocolate rouses Prisoner No. 12 from sleep with a thought, which he says out loud as he lays staring at the ceiling;

The way I see it is this: materialists seek to make a distinction between the physical constitution of a thing and its behavior. That is, when they make the claim that consciousness is unreal because it is just an emanation of substance. Why should the dissolution of a cube of sugar be different and unreal than the crystalline structure of the cube. The physical constitution of a thing demonstrates a pattern, it is this pattern we call its behavior.

It’s midnight and Officer is involved in his usual immersive conversations with Prisoner No. 12. No. 12 complains of a bad itch on his right buttock.

Officer: There might be a drug for itches you know?

Prisoner No. 12: Well, what you just said brought this to mind.

As I see it, most unflinching believers in science are still looking for heaven. They might have rejected the belief in resplendent heaven under their atheistic cloak while sustaining its ghost. Its ghost is just the positive feeling(s) that arise out of the effects of a certain state of affairs of the world or a certain human condition. They still wish for a world where all problems are solved, every question has a particular answer, solutions are easily arrived at, and everyone lives happily ever after. They wish for a philosophy or scientific theory or device or other creation whose terms are completely specified, highly specific and which can unalterably be applied to every instance of a particular matter – when you add A to B, you always get C. Simply put, they wish for specificity, immutability and certainty. This is how they appear to me and I don’t think there’s much else.

As I see it, a very probable solution to this may be harvesting the positive emotion itself and redirecting it rather than focusing on achieving the physical state of affairs. Let’s not forget that our politicians are also caught in this paradigm – they have to if they are to remain in, or win, power. Power is won and sustained by pandering or force, don’t you know? That we have moved away from force though is a positive indicator. Beyond pandering I guess is truth. It will be an interesting state of affairs in that time don’t you think?

Officer: mm-hm *smile*

Prisoner No. 12 listens in on the program Officer watches in the corridor on his little device. A little girl mentions ‘brain’ while her male playmate says ‘mind’ when they speak. No. 12 scribbles in his hand some thoughts. One wonders how much can go onto the limited space of a palm, won’t he have to write over what he writes? Layers of words:

The matter of consciousness or mind as an epiphenomenon of the brain stemsĀ  from the perspective assumed. The believers in this theory are mainly materialists who cannot accept the existence of something they cannot perceive through their 5 senses. For the most part, this matters little until they posit that it therefore means that mind is not real. It always beats me that they can somehow accept the validity of their percepts which are operations of mind but not mind itself. Why accept the skin but the animal? Is it just a matter of convenience or a valid limitation of perceptive scope?

A basic and universally accessible example is Memory. Memory founds much of what we call Consciousness and especially volitional thinking or rationality. A man like Paul Sollier pioneered quite adeptly in this area and his work shows the premium placed on materialism. That changes occur at the cell membranes of neurons in memory and so forth; theories still very alive today albeit varied. What they suggest is failing this theory, they will start to call on explanations involving webs across space invisible to the naked eye connected into our brains that keep us in tune with the cosmos. This is especially so because they will wish to circumvent the issue of the extraordinarily indubitable accuracy of imagination whose examples abound in Astronomy and Leonardo da Vinci. All in an attempt to tell us that mind or consciousness is not real but its products, the sensible things, are.