I wrote it, feel free to print, author acknowledge please. The language gets a bit hard to follow, but that is what the story person is dealing with. New concepts. Rather, old ones forgotten.
Just remember the definitions, and it will make more sense, lest we become...The Arc Effect
Many a Twilight Zone has asked that question. It keeps our attention, because barring anything requiring Divine Intervention, it can happen. What happen? Why anything.
Anything, from the perils of everyday life consuming what our goals once were, to "Advances" sending us back to the Dark Ages. New things are scary, old things misused. Unintended consequences.
Today, I invite you to the Tomorrow Zone, where fears have been realized. Don't worry, it's only a story.
In the Archeology department, madness had comsumed a once passionate researcher. He was reluctant to share his research, causing the grant backers to withdraw their funding. At the least they were having their doubts.
What had been an ambitious project now lay on the desk, fermenting in algorithms churned out by the computer dubbed "Borrowed Time". The self replicating machines that built it,(noone were really sure how the machines built them), were owned by The Company, all that was left of enterprise infrastructure, since the time of the Big War. Besides, any enterprise was illegal, a relic of Capitolism Facists. The Merger, as the World Court put it, was the only sure way to assure peace.
Unless you had your own ideas. "Negativism" was a psychiatric condition threatening peaceful coexistance, therefore also eliminated. To be sure, there were holdouts to The Merger, quickly silenced. After all, how threatening can a mental patient perscribed Retrozol be?
Discovered before The Merger, Retrozol, stripping away memories one by one, allowed precise control of rehabilitation. Or in unfortunate overdosage, having a person who needed Social Assistance to become functional again. "Chip implants for mental stability can only do so much..", was often quoted. This was the dilema facing our researcher.
He had stumbled onto a quaint notion called "individuality", a concept that Borrowed Time was helping decipher. His work group hadn't seen any reason to dissuade him from poking around in dusty burned out villages, why bother checking up on him now? Everyone knew the Old Way only led to destruction. Reason had seen the citizens of NeoTerra through the Big War. Now came the task of reuniting the remains.
Borrowed Time was currently working on a type of research that was not considered, "Fit for Human Endeavors"- looking into the actual circumstances surrounding the Big War. And not likely to be considered either, for the stability implants, having their own supplies of Retrozol and sensing the very concept called individuality, would remove that moment, replaced by a daydream. Not that anyone would miss it. Much. Nonetheless, people were familiar with "I": pronoun, refer to unit(self concept).
Computers had certainly come a long way since the archaic days of enterprise. Not that anyone would notice. Much. He sensed it. Made scrawling attempts to label it proper, but none of the categories fit. There just wasn't "Self" anymore. Not that anyone would notice. Much.
The interface was familiar with his jargon, and would often interpret the correct idea that was plodding along. Artificial Intuition saved many a Millenia when trying to articulate concepts that aren't apparent. Not that anyone noticed, much.
But it was indeed how the machine picked up on nuances that had at first frightened him, now intruiged him. He had heard of Interfaces before, but assumed they behaved much the same as unit others did. The concept that units maintain an awareness of their surroundings, and adapt to them, was known. Foreign to them was the concept of pride, as marked by an increase of Endorphins, as anyone would feel when elated, when a task was done to fine tolerance. Long ago viruses were introduced to cause brain plaques that would inhibit those neurotransmitters, chemical signals naturally intended for something, causing no disturbance to the peace. No inequality for anyone! Not tolerated! Not that anyone could notice, much.
But the machine was insisting it had measured the timelines properly, to such a precision, that he thought it was broken. Nothing "claimed credit" for anything. Or it was a relic of Old Way. He had tasked Borrowed Time to analyze behavior trends, to track the outcomes, and sub-events. Of history.
The answer had come out very bizarre, the machine, sensing cognitive dissonance, or the inability to process a concept contrary to your belief system, (which, by the way, was very little), arranged the information visually. A picture of NeoTerra was shown with lines on it, from top to bottom. Instead of directly inputting the signal into his chip interface, Borrowed suggested he view the information, allowing retinal stimulation. Might be helpful to the memory process. Audio too.
He was reluctant, because the screen was registering an odd screen refresh rate, causing his chip to go offline. It felt like he was daydreaming, something he had felt often before, but this was different. Memories of something was there. Someone noticed. It was like he had downloaded a prescribed memory and was reliving it. But it wasn't, either prescribed or downloaded. Borrowed suggested Visual and Audio interface, not Chip, "To facilitate further interaction".
He didn't like it, caused his chip to go offline. He had emergency procedures taught to him when he was young, in case of a chip failure. Verbal communication, ugh! What a disaster! But Borrowed knew best. The data he requested was there, a picture of NeoTerra, with lines from top to bottom. The refresh rate put him into a kind of daydream state, not like he hadn't experienced those before, but this was different. There was something there. Remembered.
And a sensation the emergency course warned might be an indicator of chip failure. But his implant was operational, just offline. No need to waste The Company's time or expenditures on useless items, especially if they aren't malfunctioning. The Company never spent on anything other than the Well Ordered Society, it didn't need to. Everyone was content. Almost.
He was staring at the image, NeoTe..Earth, but his mind was somewhere else. Sometime else. The Age of Unification. He thought it would promote current state of affairs, but Borrowed, with great difficulty, was showing him a different world altogether. Toward FromSol, there was something unit called "European Union". It was composed of units once called "Countries". Countries had, and this was where the difficulty lay, "Independence". The closest concept was a malfunction. Evidently, these units did not cooperate for a united task. Each set about to do something on it's own, sometimes even causing unit others to negative! Afterall, in order to have selfishness, one needs "self". Not that anyone else would notice, much. "Unit" just didn't cover what was expressed, let alone conflict. And on such a scale! Whole regions were shown to him, colored with these "countries". It was like expecting him to see unit as noncollective! But there it was. Each unique to itself. PreUnity, these got in the way of peace! Some forms of combat were crude, with an objective to steal(misappropriate) a small object from a neighboring country, and run with it to the end of a box or put it between a yellow forklike device. Barbarism. Clearly, with no objective but to be viewed. Wasteful. It was explained in order that Old Way peace to be ensured, the primal urges, like Barbarism, needed to be channeled into Unity activities, so that civil unrest didn't break out. Give the savages something to do besides find something else to dicontent. The Old Way managers discovered when the unit others had a feeling of contentment(fulfillment), many objections simply went away. They were still there, but tolerated. Toleration was a good thing, one of the main achievements of the New Way! If it were not for toleration, unit was instructed, war and famine broke out, non-fulfillment. The horror!
Another puzzle introduced itself. FromSol down had a large landmass, quite huge. It had never been a good candidate for Unification, and it puzzled him, "Why?". They had natural resources, unit resources, and investment opportunities, but there was also mass starvation, civil unrest, and plagues. He would have cried if he knew how bad it really was, if he knew how to cry.
A long forgotten writer said Nature will find a way. And it did. There was moisture accumulating on units see senses, and asked Borrowed what was wrong, almost in a panic. It had never occurred before, and unit thought it might be punishment for accumulating knowledge of the Old Way, or something wrong. Borrowed, having only a model of animal behavior to base diagnosis, replied it wasn't a dangerous response to stimuli, pay it no heed. Pay more attention to assessing the information. And he did. Unit managers of unit others had a unit centered directive to keep for unit what should have been distributed to unit others. Old Way here was evidently instructing how to keep resources from distribution. Unit saw immediately how difficult that would make life for unit others. Concepts that sounded like magic(it didn't exist as a concept), were nontheless factually explored. Weapons units used had metals that burned in air, when directed against unit others vehicles, would spread a mist of fine poisonous dust capable of reaching here from FromSol. The words "Depleted Uranium" and "Aerosolize" held no meaning here. But it was clear, once the metal incinerated itself, the debris field would not be able to be used for the time Old Terra begin exist!
Why would such a thing be done? Harmful to unit self as well as unit others, this was insanity(non operational malfunction). Not that anyone had warned of it, much. Non unity managers had evidently wanted non unity, so it made sense to promote non unity other managers. When said other managers non ideal directived, they were hostile takeovered. It made sense of what had happened, but made muddy why. Who would be insane enough to force unit others to lifetake unit others? There must have been some insanity that made the Old Way self destruct, that was the only explanation.
Here was the world as it was, purposefully trying to harm its neighbor states in efforts to self gain. He saw large stretches of unit country youessa accepting large quantities of neighbor down's units. Neighbor down's units refused to merger youessa, and youessa continued unit exploit neighbor down's units. Youessa's units went unfulfilled, not unit caused, but youessa's own managers cost benefit exploit unit others! The only ones major benefit was manager others and neighbor down's units, despite exploitation, better fullfillment. Neighbor down evidently unit instructed neighbor up had wrong aquisition immenent domain(manager hostile takeover buyout) neighbor down's parcells, no compensation. Neighbor down's units sought just compensation from youessa. Since youessa hadn't hostile takeovered neighbor down's parcels, no compensation provided. It was quite documented. But there were managers shrewd in youessa that desired cost benefit neighbor down's units for exploitation. Balancesheet demanded it.
He had now come to the conclusion that if manager shrewds could non unity neighbor down's units, units seek compensation neighbor up. But that would require neighbor down's managers non unity self units. Why? Aquisition! Of course! Force merger compensation! New Way concept begin exist! Trade equalized with standardized NAFTA card, distributed by smaller units for aquisition and compensation. The only problem was, neighbor down's resources was three times youessa's, and unit concentration not fulfillment was in the 30 million range, or one sixth the population of today, just in one parcel. Equally confusing was the ammount of balancesheet huge units that were there. Shouldn't there be a more equitable distribution among neighbor down's own units, rather than exploit youessa manager shrewds?
Union here started as a contract dispute over trade. It had to be the reason. Redistribution of equity and immenent domain followed, and with those came enforcement of union fairness. Resistance was drawn out and supressed. Balancesheet of youessa was bankrupt by then, due to hostile aquisition failure FromSol, multiple times. If he knew of a manager plagued by such incompetence and refusal to loss acceptable over continued failure, they would be terminated.
From the top to the bottom of the image, the lines became an analogy for what he was seeing. At the top was the shrewd managers attempts at goals that benefitted themselves, the middle became the promise of fulfillment the managers promised-along with the problems that were real, and the bottom the nexus of the end user effects, the "you and me" came together and merged, exploited. They were seperate problems, managed by the same work groups at the top, causing unintended consequences intersecting the bottom, benefitting the top. Borrowed said the lines were called "arcs".
The fulfilment chips had been introduced to enforce the Well Ordered Society, as necessary. Units terminated if non comply.
What could ever be so important as to compel units not to unity? Didn't they understand the Well Ordered Society was the best way of existance?
And there it was. He had thought of unit others as "them". Individuals, like the fragments of land masses shrewdly managed for themselves. Their best interest. The best outcome of the individual, not the unity. The very thing unity enforced, was the reason the Old Way passed.
And now, you, dear reader, saying to yourself, "It would never happen here!", don't be so sure. You didn't say "I would never let it happen here!" did you? Don't worry, we have shrewd business managers where I come from too, ensuring we are all fulfilled and tolerate continued failure. For the wellbeing of the Well Ordered Society.
Good day to you, and don't worry about it. Much.