7 Binary Options – Brokers

Since 1983, I have lived, worked and raised a family in a progressive, egalitarian, income-sharing intentional community (or commune) of 100 people in rural Virginia. AMA.

Hello Reddit!
My name is Keenan Dakota, I have lived at Twin Oaks, an income-sharing, intentional community in rural Virginia for 36 years, since 1983. I grew up in northern Virginia, my parents worked in government. I went to George Mason University where I studied business management. I joined Twin Oaks when I was 23 because I lost faith in the underpinnings of capitalism and looking for a better model. I have stayed because over time capitalism hasn't looked any better, and its a great place to raise children. While at Twin Oaks, I raised two boys to adulthood, constructed several buildings, managed the building maintenance program, have managed some of the business lines at different times.
Proof this is me. A younger photo of me at Twin Oaks. Here is a video interview of me about living at Twin Oaks. Photo of Twin Oaks members at the 50th anniversary.
Some things that make life here different from the mainstream:
More about Twin Oaks:
Twin Oaks is an intentional community in rural central Virginia, made up of around 90 adult members and 15 children. Since the community's beginning in 1967, our way of life has reflected our values of cooperation, sharing, nonviolence, equality, and ecology.
We do not have a group religion; our beliefs are diverse. We do not have a central leader; we govern ourselves by a form of democracy with responsibility shared among various managers, planners, and committees. We are self-supporting economically, and partly self-sufficient. We are income-sharing. Each member works 42 hours a week in the community's business and domestic areas. Each member receives housing, food, healthcare, and personal spending money from the community.
We have open-slots and are accepting applications for new members. All prospective new members must participate in a three-week visitor program. Applicants to join must leave for 30 days after their visit while the community decides on their application.
We offer a $5 tour on Saturdays of the property, starting in March. More info here.
Ask me anything!
TL;DR: Opted out of the rat-race and retired at 23 to live in the woods with a bunch of hippies.
EDIT: Thanks for all the questions! If you want some photos of the farm, you can check out our instagram.
EDIT2: I'm answering new, original questions again today. Sort by new and scroll through the trolls to see more of my responses.
EDIT3: We DO have food with onion & garlic! At meals, there is the regular food, PLUS alternative options for vegan/vegetarian/no gluten/no onions & garlic.
EDIT4: Some of you have been asking if we are a cult. No, we are not. We don't have a central leader or common religion. Here are characteristics of cults, FYI.
Edit: Yikes! Did I mention that I am 60? Reddit is not my native land. I don't understand the hostile, angry and seemingly deliberately obtuse comments on here. And Soooo many people!
Anyway, to the angry crowd: Twin Oaks poses no threat to anyone, we are 100 people out of a country of 330 million? Twin Oaks reached its current maximum population about 25 years ago, so not growing fast, or at all. Members come and go from Twin Oaks. There are, my guess is, 800 ex-members of Twin Oaks, so we aren't holding on to everyone who joins—certainly, no one is held against their will.
Twin Oaks is in rural Virginia, but we really aren't insular, isolated, gated or scared of the mainstream culture. We have scheduled tours of the whole property. Local government officials, like building inspectors, come to Twin Oaks with some frequency. People at Twin Oaks like to travel and manage to do so. I personally, know lots of people in the area, I am also a runner, so I leave the property probably every day. There are lots of news stories about Twin Oaks over the years. If you are worried about Twin Oaks, maybe you could go read what the mainstream (and alternative) media have to say.
Except about equality Twin Oaks is not particularly dogmatic about anything. (I know some people at Twin Oaks will disagree with that statement.) Twin Oaks isn't really hypocritical about Capitalism, Socialism, or Communism, we just don't identify those concepts as something that we are trying to do. Twin Oaks is not trying to DO Communism, we are trying to live a good life with equally empowered citizens—which has led us to try to maintain economic parity among members. Communists also do that. In making decisions in the community I don't remember anyone trying to support or oppose an idea due to excess or insufficient Communism, Socialism, or Capitalism. In most practical senses those words aren't useful and don't mean anything. So, no need to hammer Twin Oaks for being insufficiently pure, or hypocritical.
Twin Oaks is very similar to the Kibbutz in Israel. If anyone has concerns or questions about what would happen if places like Twin Oaks suddenly became much larger and more common, read about the history of the Kibbutz, which may have grown to possibly 1% of the population at their largest? There was and is no fight with Capitalism from the kibbutz—or with the State. My point is—not a threat.
To the other people who think that the ideas of Twin Oaks are interesting, I want you to know it is possible to live at Twin Oaks (or places like Twin Oaks) and happily live ones entire life. There is no central, critical failing that makes the idea not work. And plenty of upside. But do lots of research first. Twin Oaks maintains a massive web site. (Anyway, it takes a long time to read.)
But what I would like to see is more people starting more egalitarian, income-sharing communities. I think that there is a need for a community that is designed and built by families, and who also share income, and provide mutual support with labor and money. If you love this concept, maybe consider gathering together other people and starting your own.
Ideologically speaking:
-Ecology: the best response to ecological problems is for humans to use fewer resources. The easiest way to use fewer resources is to share resources. Living communally vastly cuts down on resource use without reducing quality of life.
-Equality: ideologically speaking, most people accept the idea that all humans have equal rights, but most social structures operate in ways that are fundamentally unequal. If we truly believe in equality then we ought to be willing to put our bodies where our ideology is. In a truly equal world, the issues of sexism and racism and all other forms of discrimination would, essentially, not exist.
-Democracy: Twin Oaks uses all manner of decision-making models and tools to try to include everyone and to keep people equally empowered. There is no useful word for this. We do use a majority vote sometimes, as a fallback. But sometimes we use consensus. We sometimes use sociocracy (dynamic governance). The word "Isocracy" (decision-making among equals), would be useful to describe Twin Oaks' decision-making model, but Lev in Australia has written an incomprehensible "definition" on Wikipedia, that he keeps changing back when someone corrects it.
-Happiness: The overarching goal of all ideologies is to make people happy, right? I mean, isn't it? Capitalism is based upon the belief that motivation is crucial to human aspiration and success (and therefore more happiness). Under Capitalism, equality is a detriment because it hinders motivation (less fear of failure, or striving for success). Twin Oaks believes that humans are happier when they are equal, and equally empowered. So the place to start up the ladder of happiness is to first make everyone equal. Well, Twin Oaks is mainly still working on that first step.
EDIT5: Some have asked about videos - here are links to documentaries about Twin Oaks by BBC, VICE and RT.
submitted by keenan_twinoaks to IAmA [link] [comments]

First Contact - Part Seven / Realization of Second Contact

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Many great cycles had passed without a single contact within the Great Emptiness.
Many of the members of the Unified Science Council began to believe that perhaps it was some kind of lingering energies left over from the Precursor War that had created mass hallucinations, or perhaps it was just isolated incidents with no meaning.
Seventeen Great Cycles and not a single clue that supported the existence of the Solarians, the Clone Directorate, sentient AI's, or any of the other strangeness discovered over that Great Cycle.
Even the Unified Executor Council had been forced to agree that the Solarians had simply, well, vanished.
The Unified High Council had no choice but to allow exploration of the Great Emptiness and so passed legislation to repeal the prohibition against exploration of that region of space.
That is how Monnat Banaltee of the HiKruth found himself in charge of a crew of a dozen of the Deep Space Explorer's Guild and in possession of one of the most advanced ships the Unified Technology Council would permit to be built.
The ship, named To Wrest Answers from the Darkness, had the best jumpspace engines, the most advanced computers with the most powerful computation and analysis lobes, laboratories and testing capabilities more advanced that any other ship, with sensors more sensitive than any other, communications capable of hearing the slightest whisper. Additionally, the ship's omnitranslator had been loaded with the TerraSol lexicons learned so far.
That was an entire Great Cycle ago.
Which was why Monnat, who refused the title of Captain and preferred Most Learned, was almost sick from boredom despite his race being legendary for patience. Even the upcoming arrival in a new solar system, deeper than anyone had gone so far into the Great Emptiness, failed to alleviate his boredom.
How could it? The last thirty systems they'd scanned had been the same: deeper than anyone had explored.
And empty except for a hundred million years of isolated evolution, largely resulting in a few plants or maybe even some non-sapient life more evolved than a cluster of cells.
Monnat was willing to bet his next three research grants that the next one would be the same.
"Preparing to drop," Aastruk stated. A master of astrogation and navigation, who had led whole fleets through jumpspace with his skill during his many years as part of the Unified Military Fleet, Aastruk was capable of making such sublime jump transitions that even the most sensitive of the scientists suffered little more than a light spell of dizziness.
At the end of the countdown there was a slight queasiness and that was all, allowing Monnat to tap his vestigal claws together and stare at Billik, a sensor's technician of extreme skill.
After nearly an entire cycle Monnat was beginning to wonder if Billik had decided not to do his job out of sheer boredom.
"Scan Master Billik?" Monnat asked.
"A moment, please, Most Learned One," Billik said. The scan tech looked over at Z'Mak, the Chief of Maintenance. "Oh Attentive One, Lord and Master of the Mechanical, can you perform a diagnostic upon my lowly instrumentation?"
Monnat sighed internally. Sometimes he wondered if all the insistence on titles and honorifics made it so things took longer than necessary. A heretical thought, he knew, but one had had asked himself many times over his long life.
Z'Mak, who was a stickler for protocol, nodded, the ruffle around his neck and down his spine flushing in pleasure. He examined his displays, tapped in some commands, then leaned back.
"Your instrumentation and displays are all functioning at over 90% efficiency, most attentive and inquisitive scanning technician," Z'Mak said.
At least Billik did not take offense at the obvious omission of honorifics, as he had during the first long cycles of the voyage, as Z'Mak was of the belief that those who joined the Unified Military Council or the Fleet were somehow less than those who devoted their lives to other pursuits.
"Then it appears, at long last, we have found a system with unknown xenosapients," Billik stated. "There are several settlements on the surface, four orbiting stations, solar collectors, and power readings everywhere."
"Launch a probe," Monnat said. "I will be waiting in my chambers. Announce to me when the probe begins to relay data."
Billik nodded as Monnat stood up on all four legs and moved toward his personal chambers.
-------------------
"Most Learned One," E'kotat's voice interrupted Monnat's viewing of a lecture on how a stable reaction within the translation chamber of a jump-drive was only established one way, despite crackpot claims of other possibilities.
"Yes, Second Leader?" Monnat sighed. He doubted that it was going to actually be anything. There had been nearly a dozen false alarms in the first few cycles of his mission. Every time it had turned out to be just a lost colony.
"You should come to the bridge immediately," E'kotat said. "Make all due haste."
Monnat frowned. E'kotat was a Drimarian, cold blooded quasi-mammal who's race's physiology was almost incapable of excitement. For him to urge haste was unusual.
And noteworthy.
When he entered the bridge, Monnat noted that Security Officer Lukamit, a computer code researcher who held a position mostly ceremonial, was busy over his terminals, all three of his lab assistants working with him.
"What is the emergency? Did something happen to the probe?" Monnat sighed, settling into his crash couch.
"We lost contact with it, Most Learned One," Billik stated. "It was intercepted by an energy pulse that shut it down. Soon afterwards, we were..."
"I will inform the Most Learned," Z'Mak snapped. He looked at Monnat. "It was then that we received communication signals. It attempted to open a communications channel but at the same time attempted to penetrate our computer network. Whoever the signal is from, they are most insistent that they be allowed access to our computer systems."
Lukamit interrupted, ignoring Z'Mak's flutter of his crest. "We are fortunate that they only use a binary type logic and only binary signalling. This allows me to use the lobes in parallel to more effect than they can. However, they did access the omnitranslator's lexicon and have been attempting to transfer it to their systems."
Monnat thought a moment. "Allow it."
"But standard is to exchange lexicons," Z'Mak protested.
"Do as I command as Most Learned One," Monnat told Z'Mak, fixing him with a stare that used all four eyes.
Z'Mak backed down.
"Lexicon is transferred. Wait, they've stopped trying to access our systems," Lukamit said. "They've purged their own code and completely withdrawn."
"We have an incoming signal," Juketet stated, listening closely. "Audio and visual, although only across a limited base three-primary color scale. They are not permitting any reply. Transmission only. It's quite rude."
Monnat sighed, fully expecting it to be another lost colony. Probably fallen back to aggression and superstition.
Instead the figure that appeared on the screen was unlike any he'd ever seen. Tall, graceful appearing for a biped, mammalian, with jewels adorning them, dressed in comfortable and gossamer appearing cloth, long golden hair and pointed ears. The female, and it had to be a female as it had mammalian milk ducts that were prominent, was surrounded by scantily clad bipeds that were shorter but had the same lithe build and pointed ears.
For some reason she gave off the appearance of being superior to everyone present. As if something more than nature, because nature could never produce such a perfect specimen, had crafted her to be perfection embodied.
It was a strange feeling for Monnat.
When she spoke, it was a strange language, linguistically designed to flow together and sound like music even mathematically.
Monnat noticed that Z'Mak seemed offended by the being.
The translation showed below, at the bottom of the screen.
"Welcome to the Magic Realms of Meratarrian. I am Queen Radosalvov the Graceful, you may call me Queen, Your Highness, or Radiant Divine One."
Z'Mak almost seemed to choke.
"According to Confederate Law, attempting to pirate views via recording probes without a license as well as permission from Galactic Studios Incorporated and Electronic Artistic Studios is a grave violation of our legal rights."
That caught Lukamit's attention.
"As your language is unknown to me I will assume that you were not meant to intrude upon this realm and I have decided to extend elven hospitality to you."
Monnat kept his expression from changing. Another race. Bipedal, warm blooded, mammalian, forward facing eyes. Obvious Solarian.
"I will allow you four local hours upon the surface as a freeware demonstration for one of your crew. I formally invite a sentient of your choosing in to my realm and invite your ship to stay within communication range of this planet."
She gave a gesture that used up the least amount of effort but still looked imperious, as if she was the most important being in the entire universe and the crew of the Wrest Answers from the Darkness should considered them blessed just to be allowed to view her.
"I will give you one of your time units to decide who shall enter the Magic Realms of Meratarrian."
The image vanished.
"They've cut transmission," Juketet stated unnecessarily. "Wait, they're transmitting a document. It looks like a legal document of some kind."
Monnat perked up. "Send it my ready room and have the ship computer go over it. Let us see what they are offering."
Juketet nodded.
------------------
Halfway through the time limit Monnat realized that even with the computer's help deciphering the document, which was some kind of terms of service, would be impossible. It was, quite possibly, the largest legal document he had ever seen. The ships operating system took up less storage and used less data than the document itself. Just viewing the document gave the issuer of the document legal rights over all kinds of things.
It repeated over and over that the issuers of the document, one Electronic Artistic Studios and one Galactic Studios Incorporated, could not be held liable for any damage to anyone using their services, to include death, dismemberment, disintegration, damage to neural or emotional networks, physical or metaphysical discomfort, damage, or alteration.
It went on and on and on.
But Monnat had been tasked with exploration, and he'd seen that Galactic Studios Incorporated and Electronic Artistic Studios operated under Terran Confederacy law and were based on TerraSol, which meant, despite appearances, the "elven queen" was a Solarian.
Which made no sense.
How many species rose to prominence in the system?
Monnat needed information, but most of all, he needed a volunteer.
And for that, he called Aastruk into his ready room to see if the saurian would volunteer to be part of the "free demonstration" that the "Queen" was offering.
To Monnat's surprise, Aastruk agreed immediately.
Monnat figured it was out of boredom.
-------------------
The shuttle that gathered Aastruk was flamboyant, lavishly decorated with rare elements to enhance its appearance and obviously built to appeal to anyone's eyes. Even mathematically it was almost perfect. Aastruk boarded wearing a vacuum suit and carrying a transponder.
The Queen had agreed to that much of a safety measure, even if she refused to allow recording devices.
Monnat settled down, as the shuttle left, and waited. Four local hours was less than a dozen cycles.
----------------
When Aastruk returned he stated one simple sentence: "We must leave now."
Monnat respected Aastruk's time with the Unified Military Fleet and ordered that the ship move to jumpspace immediately. Once they were safe in jumpspace he called Aastruk into his quarters and urged the reptilian navigator to speak.
"When I first got there, I was given many options. Enhanced virtual reality, real-skin which apparently involves me actually going down to the planet, skin-sheathe which is allowing me to mentally control a cloned version of myself from the station, or something called 'hitch-hiker' mode which is allowing me to see through someone else's eyes," Aastruk said, rubbing his snout wearily.
"What did you choose?" Monnat asked.
"Hitchhiker is the only option available for the free demonstration version," Aastruk said. He shuddered. "It allowed me to not only see and hear what was going on, it allowed me to taste, smell, and feel it. Not only that, I knew I could, well, share thoughts with my host."
Monnat made an annotation. "Did you?"
Aastruk nodded. "She is from someplace called Alpha Centauri, one of the earliest Terran Confederacy's colonies. That's aside, however, and not the important part."
Looking up Monnat frowned. "What is important than that?"
"She was, to use her words, reborn as something called a 'dwarf' and took the profession of blacksmith," Aastruk said. "Working in iron, steel, some exotic metals I've never heard of. She makes armor, weapons, and other metal objects as well as wood carving..."
"Who does she make these weapons for?" Mannot asked.
"Soldiers who guard the town and being who wish to enter into the wilderness to seek out adventure even at the risk of encountering dangerous wildlife that will seek to slay them if they do not slay the wild-life first. She makes weapons and armor for these people and then, and I use her words: magics the excrement out of them which is why...."
"Magic?" Monnat scoffed, interrupting. "A people that advanced believing in magic."
Aastruk nodded. "When she explained magic to me was when I realized we must leave at once."
"What was so frightening about it?" Monnat asked, wondering if Aastruk would need therapy.
"Nanotechnology is something we use. For medical, research, manufacturing, computation," Aastruk said. Monnat nodded as Aastruk continued. "They have devised a type of nanite that uses broadcast power to sustain itself and floats through the very air. It permeates he atmosphere, is in everything they drink, everything they eat, even in the objects."
"Risky. What if it went out of control? Entire planets have been lost to such ill advised experimentation," Monnat asked.
Aastruk shook his head. "They aren't worried about it. You see, they use the nanites to manifest certain reactions. From creating a monomolecular sword edge and infusing the blade with nanotech like my host did to calling up fire out of thin air, this so called magic is nanites."
Monnat cringed slightly. "And anyone can use it with a simple interface?"
Aastruk shook his head again. "No. It requires will, being able to chant out loud the command strings, and being able to withstand pain. The more energy intensive the task the nanites carry out, the more pain the nanites inflict."
"Madness," Monnat whispered. "And they willingly subject themselves to this to use this so called magic? I understand, if they are born there and this is the path to power, but still, to willingly subject one's self to pain."
Aastruk shook his head. "No, Most Learned One, it is worse than that."
"How is it worse?" Monnat asked. "Please, Aastruk, will you define worse?"
"While some beings who live on that planet were born there, Most Learned One," Aastruk took a deep breath. "The majority pay for the privilege of living their lives there. Some even pay to be other species, such as my host, who had her entire body rebuilt from 'Pure Strain Human' to 'dwarf' in order to live out her fantasies."
Aastruk fixed Monnat with his gaze. "It's a planet sized, fully interactive, nanite assisted, amusement park that they pay to experience, sometimes for their entire adult lifespan."
Monnat goggled at Aastruk. The thought of having one's body changed to live out a fantasy was grotesque, but the idea that it was some kind of amusement park horrified him.
"You were correct in having us leave at once. Was there anything else that made you so urgent to leave?" Mannot asked.
Aastruk nodded. "At the end of my 'free trial' several of the 'High Elves' offered to sponsor me if I agreed to fight in their name for their glory," He said, shuddering.
Mannot nodded. "A wise idea, returning. I do not blame you for wanting to return when that undoubtedly caused such fear, to be dumped in such a place where advanced technology is used to live out a fantasy of primitivism."
Shivering, Aastruk shook his head. "No, Most Learned One, I did not want to return out of fear, I returned because I wanted to stay."
Aastruk hung his head and whispered softly. "Glory and honor to my house, with eggs and burrows the envy of all, by might or trickery my house, my burrow, my clutch ascendent."
Mannot stared in horror at Aastruk repeating such an ancient mantra of his species and decided that the expedition was over.
----------------
The Unified Exploration Council examined the records as well as the statements of Fleet Admiral (retired) Aastruk eshThsashal and ordered another exploration expedition created.
The Unified Science Council determined that the Solarians, perhaps the entire Terran Confederacy, was using technologies in ways that were prohibited as well as dangerous, not only to the Terran Confederacy itself, but to all those around it.
The Unified Executor Council decided that armed Executors would accompany all other research and exploration vessels to prevent any desertions to such a dangerous civilization.
Aastruk eshThsashal converted all of his possessions and wealth to simple gold bars and vanished.
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I, AASTRUK eshTHSASHAL, agree to abide by the above terms and services as set out by Galactic Studios Incorporated and Electronic Artistic Studios, as well as the Meratarrian code of conduct.
------------------
TO: CONFEDERATE INTELLIGENCE
FROM: QUEEN RADOSALVOV THE GRACEFUL, OVERSEER OF MERATARRIAN (All Rights Reserved)
Had visitors not long ago, like I told. However, it appears that one of their number liked their trial time so much they've returned to my divine embrace (LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP PURCHASED). Attached is crude documents and illusions of their statements about the mundane and boring life they left behind, the poor dear. I'm sending these to you out of consideration.
He is a lovely subject (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: PLATINUM STARTER PACK), who has been yearning all his life for the adventure (DLC PURCHASED) only I, in my infinite wisdom and beauty, can provide to him (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: USER GENERATED FRIENDS AND FAMILY PLATINUM PACK). I have hereby granted him asylum from such a dull and dreary place, and made him a citizen (DLC MEGAPACK PURCHASED) of Meratarrian (EXPANSION PURCHASED) with permission to found his own house (DLC PURCHASED) as well as quest for his true love (DLC PURCHASED) as well as create offspring (EXPANSION PURCHASED). I have high hopes for my new subject (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: KOBOLD HERO PACK) and know that he will go far (ITEM SHOP PURCHASE: DRAGON BLOODED) in my realm.
Enjoy your files.
Love and kisses.
Her Eternal Elven Grace, Divine Light of the Aether, Lady of Magic and Power, Queen Radosalvov.
--------NOTHING FOLLOWS-----------
CONFEDERATE INTELLIGENCE MEMO
CC: Artificial Biological States; Digital Artificial Intelligence Infonet Worlds; TERRASOL.GOV; Cyborg Cooperative; Clone Directorate; Mantid Free Worlds; Traena'ad Hive Worlds
Xenosapient government identified. Native species identified. (See attachments)
Military potential is initially classified as low, to be revisited upon any new information which will be shared to all Confederacy governments as per treaties.
Chance for incursion into Confederate Space is high.
Place all rimward stations, colonies, planetary governments, and military forces on stage two alert. Do not fire unless unable to withdraw or casualties are incurred. Abide by Rules of Engagement for inferior forces unaware of Confederate military and industrial power.
-------NOTHING FOLLOWS-----------
TRAENA'AD HIVE INTELLIGENCE
RE: Your Last
Let's hope we do better with them than when the two of us first met.
--------NOTHING FOLLOWS--------
submitted by Ralts_Bloodthorne to HFY [link] [comments]

I Disagree with Pakman on Voting for Biden

\ Quick Summary: David believes it's unethical to vote anyone but Biden. I believe you shouldn't feel obligated to vote Biden (unless you want to) and that way of thinking has caused a chain of historically bad votes and strategies that forced us into these two bad options in the first place.
\ It's either a democracy or it isn't. The greatest value of democracy is I have the free choice (regardless of outcome) on whether or not I vote or who I vote for, which also makes it ethically good if we agree that a democracy is the best way to govern a society. So I believe it's either morally neutral or good.
\ From a rhetorical POV, shaming non-voters (from registered voters) only creates more division because they already dislike a system that is being enabled by those very voters.
\ The responsibility is not on us to vote, it's with leadership to get our vote. They work for us! But as soon as you flip that dynamic, it becomes on oligarchy because we're told to represent the interests of the few. Democracy is a system of representation and assumes that elected leaders have the interest of its constituents. Shaming me to join the party, shifts the interest from what I want, to what they want. That's an oligarchy, who btw are purposefully framing it this way, and everyone goes along with them because of a scary orange man. "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. "
\ I think [it does matter how bad], and it's restrictively short-term in thinking, instead of looking at the history of long-term consequences that led to these bad options. David is making a calculation that Trump is so bad and we need to get him out no matter what, and that we cannot afford another term with him in office. But we're past that point, we can't afford another term with either of them in office.
\ Accelerationism Any faster approach is the better option imo, because there are real existential issues at stake that we do not have enough time to do through incrementalism or reform. The planet is on fire. The income inequality is one of the worst in history. Neo-liberalism wasn't spawned in the last electoral cycle, this dates back almost half a century! Both parties are complicit, and there is zero doubt about it. The level of corruption and criminal behavior from Democrats and Republicans is astronomical. Voting Biden or Trump points either way to an inevitable destruction. We're bleeding profusely out of every orifice and still being told that the solution is to put another band-aide on it. We're only a couple election cycles away from it not mattering how many band-aids they can ration in that national stock pile.
\ If pressed, I could probably stomach one last vote blue, depending on whichever issue matters most…and then never vote for them again, and put every resource into making sure this party dies. David's use of the trolly experiment I think is appropriate here (btw, the number of deaths comparison I think is unnecessarily hyperbolic. We know Trump's awful but painting him like Hitler is excessive, that's Left bias)…I would just tack one more question to the end, "If you were forced the first time to choose between those two buttons, why would you ever advocate-for or willingly press either button again?" The quantity and severity of that killing continues to increase every time I'm forced to push it…..How about a button that kills this party? I'll hit that a million times over, let me tell you.
\ This is also why I dislike utilitarianism, because the 'end goal' is always just out of sight. No one has the foresight to make these conclusions on what's a higher utility. A new data point has to be factored in with everything that came before, you can't look at it in isolation. E.g. Trump didn't start a new war in the Middle-East, but there's a strong chance Biden will. And voting for Biden instantly racks up that death tally, making the Trump option higher utility.
\ This is a false premise of assuming only two parties. Dismissing the other party options because it's not 'practical' to win elections is not for anyone to decide other than the person placing the vote. In fact, that kind of thinking is the reason why we have the 2-party problem in the first place. I don't know how it'll shape out, but neither does anyone else, I can only vote what I think is best. That means I can vote green party, I can abstain, I can vote Republican/Democrat, or I can start my own party. Even the presumption that 'it doesn't lead to victory' is also false. I can influence the party by not voting. Democrats would look at the record new all-time-low turnouts in 2020, forcing them to change their platform ( they won't ) and I can walk away claiming a 'victory', even though Republicans remain another term, as an example.
\ It's not a clear, or easy, or binary decision. It's actually quite complicated considering everything when you factor the recent history of party policies, history of Biden's record, pending accusations, the unabashed sophistry, the spineless hypocrisy, just go down the list, against our desperate need for change.
\ This is the same argument democrats use against non-voters, "we only lost by 3% and if those independents would have voted with us we would have won"…yeah, but they didn't because they're not with you. In other words, why wasn't your platform strong enough to get them? It was only 3%. Normally, that would be a wonderful opportunity of self-reflection on the failings of your own platform, but instead of fixing problems, those voters are shamed because they're not considering the "political calculus". You hear non-voters get written off all the time as well, as though they don't even exist, so parties just make calculations based off of registered voters and undecideds. No, non-voters are citizens as well, which you the candidate need to represent, but your platform is so awful that they won't even show up.
\ I know David advocates "vote based on policy", as we should. Well, the green party aligns more with our view (progressives) in this case, so principally wouldn’t it would go against our values to vote blue?
\ Yeah I agree with Yang/David on the over-sensationalizing of Biden's cognitive decline. He's an old man, clearly not as sharp (or energetic) as he once was, but when I hear people say it's dementia, idk feels a stretch. Biden's gaffs are extremely hard to watch but he's in public eye all the time, we all make errors like that too, and we're not in front of a camera 24/7, nor have the pressure of running for the highest office in the country. The best way to see this is to watch a full speech of his, he's more-less normal, and it'll cure your insomnia.
\ I don't really have an opinion on whether the story goes anywhere, who knows what consent can be manufactured by the mainstream media…but I really disagree with Yang regarding the framing of sexual misconduct (unsure if David agreed). In the interview Yang makes the point of needing evidence of predatory behavior; that one isolated incident is not enough. Yes, predisposition for predatory behavior would make a stronger case …even though we know Biden likes his leg rubbed down by little children at the pool, but whatever, but why are we arguing the strength of the case when there are already more pieces of credible evidence that suggest assault than there were in the Kavanaugh hearings. Christine Ford's story blew up in the news. I don't need multiple instances of rape to dismiss him. That's like saying "Wait so you were only raped 1 time? Hold on, Joe 'Handsy' Biden is still a good guy, and I believe him, he would need to rape at least 2 or 3 more times for me to think something was fishy". No, one rape is plenty.
\ Btw, all these democrats who are forcing themselves to lavishly throw support to Biden for optics (e.g. Abrams, Gillibrand,…all of them really) is some of the worst show of integrity I've seen. This is why no one trusts politicians. I know this is how politics works - reserve criticism for party leaders otherwise you compromise the goals of the party - but the reason why we like Yang is because he was presenting a refreshing view that was honest, compelling, and different, in a political sphere that isn't. I haven't seen enough of Yang recently to form an opinion, but look what happened to him and all the other progressive justice democrats as soon as they entered the party, they're forced and compelled to fall in line. If that isn't institutionalized evil, I don't know what is.
\ Both sides of this issue are pointing fingers at each other saying "don't be the irresponsible one", so let's talk a bit about responsibility. If you knowingly vote for Biden, and he does anything suggestive of his past record, and I ask you, "don't you feel responsible for the consequence of those policies, having put him in office?" I think most people would rationalize in any of the thousand ways they could and do, that would absolve them of responsibility. "No I didn't know he'd do that"…"No, Trump would have been worse"…"No, it wasn't that bad he did some good things". A) You can't say "I didn't know", because it's your responsibility to know who you vote for. And B) If you do know, you can't rationalize and say "well I voted for this other reason". You bare some responsibility. Now, everyone is implicated in this no matter how you vote because every candidate you support has faults (or things you disagree with), but whatever the result, you have to accept that you contributed to what happens. I couldn't forgive myself if I voted for Biden/any democrat, but maybe others don't feel the same pressure/responsibility voting, as I do. That's for them to decide.
\ I might even say the non-voter could be the most responsible/ethical for having influenced the final vote the least (by having least responsibility), should things turn for the worst
[edited down some and added summary to clear up confusion]
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Black Nerve: Eifre Quest [Part 9]

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Part 9

"This is a test," you say to your mother, your antennae twisting and untwisting nervously.
She arches her maxillae. A pause, and then, "Why do you think that?"
"Because..." You consider the intent way she has her raptorials held, the determination she reeks of. Would she be asking you this if she didn't want to do something already? "You said you're testing my judgment as a vesperbane. Well, you're testing it against something, right? Seeing if I live up to standards the stewartry would hold me up to?" And if this was a test, the correct response couldn't be pointing that out. Had you already lost?
She sighs low. "No, Eifre." Her antennae uncurl and splay outward, as if she could smell the correct way to phrase her next words. "This is a failing of your training, I suppose. Tests and standards to hew to, histories and logics to memorize. Being a vesperbane is nothing like that."
"What is it like, then?"
Tlista's head leans back, her gaze rising toward ceiling, perhaps seeing beyond. "I'll say this: when, if, you're faced with a situation with a correct answer, you aren't going to need training to see that. And I'll say this — call it a hint if you like —: we are not in one of those situations."
This calms your twisting antennae a little bit, but uncertainty does not leave your face, and you don't venture a response.
"Dear, we are each born with but a little piece of reason," your mother says warmly. "You're old enough to use yours. I want to hear what it has to say."
With that, your legs slack a little bit, and you ease up. Your antennae tap each other as you begin thinking. A binary choice, a dilemma. Take the potion to the witch, or look into her basement.
"I am as interested in the fruits of your reasoning as the growth itself. Think aloud for me."
"Okay. I think we have two choices: save Maune, or see what in her basement."
"Save the witch?"
That trips your sprinting thoughts. "Wha?"
"I know you haven't forgotten everything Maune's said." Mother curls up one of her maxillary palps into a knowing smile like you've missed something.
And it only takes you a few moments to recall. 'My daughter said you think there is a way to save you.' 'Two ways... But I have a preference.
"What did she mean by that? Two ways?"
You can see, behind Tlista, her spiracles twitching half-open. She pauses, a considered silence. Cede another hint, or keep the test results pure?
She lets out a breath, and finally says, "The witch of the ambrosia woods. Consider why she might have that name." A pause, then, "The beetles are fond of her. I doubt they'd let her die this easily. Maune would rather not resort to their methods, which could be for a variety of reasons."
Tlista stops there, and you're sure it's deliberate.
"So, rather than saving her, period, we'd be saving her from some unspecified but not preferable salvation at the hands of the ambrosia beetles?"
Tlista notably does not nod, but watches.
You weigh the options. "Maune is in pain, and will be until we go and bring the potion to her. She asked us to do this, and is expecting us to be doing it and nothing else. And yet, she's a renegade. It's deeply wrong to assist renegades. It's counter to the Dream, and vesperbanes are supposed to uphold the dream!" You stop to draw in a breath. Your mother nods.
"So, what would a vesperbane do? We've managed to infiltrate the lair of a renegade! We can report this, there's even vesperbanes in the area we can report to," you say, and Tlista cringes. "A vesperbane would gather all the information they could, which would entail looking into the basement. But, dealing with a renegade, why wouldn't they place traps? Oh no, I don't know anything about disarming traps, not even spotting them." Your pitch rises on that last sentence. You bite a maxilla, and after a moment Tlista places a foretarsus on your head, scratching you between your ocelli.
"You can continue, it's okay."
"Well, you told those vesperbanes that you were looking after the ambrosia witch. And, um, you and Maune seem to know each other? And she seems... kinda nice? It makes me wonder if we shouldn't be treating her necessarily as an enemy renegade." All renegades are enemies, genius.
Tlista looks down, thought playing out in flexes of her antennae and in the twitches of her maxillae. "I... knew her, before she went missing. We completed a few missions together as fiends, and created a few novel Expressions. She was, is, a genius. You can tell by how young she is. I don't even remember if she's made imago yet. If so, just barely? Even now, she reminds me of..." Tlista stops herself, shakes her head, and finally lifts her gaze back up. "We were never close; I was an imago while she was still a nymph. But I respected her intelligence, and she was... helpful, in my poisons research. I gave her direction occasionally, insights or questions that guided her own studies. I... wonder, sometimes if she would have gone renegade if we'd never known each other." She shakes her head again, and this time resumes in cadence. "I keep meandering. I hope that answers your questions, dear."
You nod. And it feels like you've outlined the extent of the issues, those points in favor of each, and those not.
Standing here, peering up at your mother, it's hard not to recall those vanishingly few times she had the time and energy to teach you something. It was basically cooking, whittling away at the stalks of plants, crushing chitin leftover from meals into fine powders, or boiling foul and acrid liquids. Sometimes your mother would name the things you've made; vinegar, spices, obscure soaps.
And it's metaphors, informed by that practice, that your mother returns to again and again. Whittling away, grinding down, and boiling away. Reducing, simplifying and distilling ides down to their core.
When it came down to it, there were two options you have. Bring the potion and do what Maune has asked you to do out of compassion, respecting what she's asked you not to do and disregarding what that nagging vesperbane voice inside you insists. Or: Look in her basement, out of suspicion and duty.
It's hard to keep ignoring a thought that you keep thinking around, unwilling to face. That Tlista's dilemma, and the insistent pull the second option has on you, isn't just curiosity.
"What if..." You're hesitant to say it. "What if Maune has something bad down there? Something... sinister?" Could she? She seemed so nice.
"Of course. I'm considering the same thing." There was a breeziness to her tone. You could read why. This was the premise of the conversation, didn't you realize?
You twine your antennae together. You couldn't deny, either, that there was a part of you that wasn't much concerned that there might be something sinister, or that Maune would suffer for your choice. As much as you were, or wanted to be, a vesperbane, you were also wanted to be a scholar. Driven by deepest curiosity, it itched that there might be anything in that basement, and no matter what it was sure to be interesting. There was pleasure in knowing, and there was pleasure in sharing. Why hide something, why bar someone from learning?
"She said we wouldn't understand everything we'd see." You tried not to take that as an offense to your faculties of understanding.
"She's also a renegade," Tlista says in a tone of reminder.
A few moments filled with thought. "I'm at a lost," you complain to your mother. "If there's nothing bad in the basement, we should just take the potion to Maune. But if there is something dreadful down there, we shouldn't be helping the renegade." You throw up your raptorials. "But the only way to find out which is to go down there! It's such a tangle."
"Could I make an observation?"
You'd welcome any hint. "Yes, please!"
"If you really thought there was a chance there was nothing, or something obviously innocent below, you wouldn't be so conflicted about the choice. It would be a simple matter to glance in and determine such. You're afraid. It's not a choice between acting immediately or learning more, you see it instead as a choice between acting as you'd like, in ignorance, or learning something you expect to make you not like the first choice. This isn't a binary, and yet you see it as one."
"When you put it that way..." Your maxillae draw in tight. "It doesn't seem like much of a choice at all, does it? It's obvious how a hero would act.
"If I may make another observation?" You just stare flatly at her. She laughs once in her thorax, and then, "You're still seeing it as a binary.
"How?"
"There are two of us, Eifre. We don't have to act unilaterally."
"So you mean for one of us to go into the basement while the other delivers the potion?"
"I mean for me to go downstairs — you said yourself there might be traps — while you deliver the potion. How does that sound, Eifre?"
"It sounds..." you start. "Like exactly what I said it was! This was a test, and that's the right answer!"
"Not at all. If you trust Maune, I will accompany you. And if you really want to descend with me..." Tlista takes a deep breath, and then looks you up and down, and then looks you in the eye, "If that's what you really want, I will allow it. The choice remains yours, and we are presented no correct answers."
Just as you're about to say something, there comes from behind a hard bonk right against your head. You turn just slightly, and the offender comes into your periphery. The crow familiar, Reva. You aren't even surprised the thing knew exactly how to stay inside a mantis's blindspot.
Turning further, you swat a raptorial at the crow. It dodges fluidly, flying up to your face and pecking right above your mandibles.
"Ow, what the why!"
"Blood," the crow squawks harshly high.
You feel something pressed into your other raptorial -- it's the thick red potion, your mother is giving it to you.
"Your choice," she repeats.
The bird pecks you again, in the same spot, and you feel it piercing sharply into your chitin.
Your choice, and you don't have the time for your usual deliberation.
Is there more to consider, though? You were conflicted, and your mother pointed out a way for you to have your centipede and eat it too.
"You have to tell me if there is something neat down there." Or... something not so neat.
Your mother folds her antennae, a sad curl in her maxillae. "I will promise nothing of the sort."
"Why not!" You flare your forelegs open, and flash the eyespot patterns of your inner raptorials.
She only shakes her head, and does not open a spiracle to respond. Tlista lifts a leg before, as if forgetting something, dropping it again and placing a dactyl on the potion glass.
"Remember this," she starts emphatically, "keep the glass as still as you can, never shake it. Touch as little of your flesh to it as possible, keep it from growing warm. Do not bring it near those black pools you passed outside. Do not open it."
She stares, and you nod quickly, and then she steps past you, walking carefully toward the corner.
But you turn away, and start toward the cabin's door.
There's a tug on the potion. The bird has its beak gripped around the neck of the bottle, and is trying to rip it away from you.
"What do you think you're doing?" You punctuate the question with your other raptorial closing hard around the bird, spines touching flesh through feathers. By that threat of piercing, you pull the bird off enough for it to open that beak. You've realized thats where the sound is coming from. What kind of animal talks out of its mouth?
"Slow, too slow. Master bleeds," it says.
"Did you not just hear my mother say never shake the glass? Idiot bird." You smack it with a midleg.
"Master bleeds. You are too slow," it reiterates.
"I'm going!"
"Then go."
You're outside, walking the path away from the cabin, brisk as you can manage. The bird follows after you, nipping at your femurs. It had been too preoccupied worrying about about its master and the potion you hold to think about your mother remaining in the cabin. (She obviously had the sense to not do anything until you left.)
You're sure this path goes back to Maune. It had to! It hadn't branched much at all. That you could tell walking up it, at least.
So why did the trampled dirt give way to a bush here?
With a suddenness that was almost explosive, two pink centipedes burst from the tall grass on either side of the path, and squirm toward the bush. Mandibles bite into the branches on both sides, and together they pull the bush laterally. It opens down the middle, and the leaves and the light itself seems to bend and bow as a figure emerges.
All thorough there was a growing buzz, and it now reaches a crescendo as arrives half a swarm of moths, all wielding tiny organic orbs. They might have been kin of the glowing fruit littering the vale, but they were tiny enough the tarsus-sized moths outsized them. They cast a pale pink light from the sides where they arrive. The direction of the light gives the figure a curious appearance, with shadows in strange places.
It is not a mantis. If you had only a second to look, you would have noticed that, and you might have mistakenly said the figure's body had more in common with the ugly oblong oval-shape of roaches than the elegant slenderness of mantids. With a moment's thought more, you see this is not a roach. You aren't even half an imago (yet!) but the roaches are barely larger than you. This figure? It's big. Mother would have to stand on twos to look down on it.
Fighting poor lighting and surprise, you managed to finally find the face, and that's enough visual purchase for the rest to slot into place. Face too angular and soft to be a mantis, eyes too bright and black to be a roach. Long, feathery, branching antennae dance above the head, and long dactyls flex on the end of deft tarsi.
It spreads its wings, and there is no doubt; that shifting prismatic mosaic glittering on the elytra? That sweet, cloying smell that has snuck up on you?
You stand before an ambrosia beetle, and you don't know if you should scream or cheer.
It does not speak — can it speak? Your mother called the beetles stupid, but now you can't believe it — yet for one immeasurable moment, you stand mesmerized by the beatific moment known by the buzzing moths holding glowing orbs in a perfect random configuration, by the playful centipedes splayed belly-up on the ground, and the ambrosia beetle, and you; something is communicated.
"I -- yalew, rrenui ha mew yalui?"
The beetle spreads its wings further, and it too begins to buzz, lower than the moths, majestic, and then the beetle takes off, flying above you and away. You do not look to watch it go, and you know not where it went. The ambrosia beetle is gone.
The centipedes have rolled over and sauntered back into the grass. The moths scatter fleeing or playing or seeking food. The bush — it was an ent — scrambles back into the night, and the crow stops pecking at your heels, and it won't start again.
You take a step forward, and there is a single brave moth that remains in your path. It does not wield a glowing berry, but its six legs cling to a ring. The thing flutters right up into your face, and then it drops the ring. It plunks against your cardo, and it rolls down your face to land in your instinctively upraised, cupped tarsi.
Th thing is made of wood. Not carved; there is no seem, there is no internal tree-flesh visible. If oaks grew in the shape of a torus, a young one would look like this.
You slip the ring on. It fits you perfectly. Inside, it has the softness of a baby bush's stem.
You don't feel any different with the ring on. The bird taps you with its beak, and reminds you to start walking again.
The vale sounds quieter in the wake of what happened, but it isn't. There is the creeking sound of prowling ents. There are chirrups and calls of whatever games and politics the lesser insects get up to. The black pools make no sound, but you can hear that lack of sound as you pass. Truly, the vale is no different. The solemnness lingers, but it's fading fast.
You find the witch again among the tree roots and the waving flowerings. Something has left several of the clear fruits brimming with glow-fluid to lining in rows the wide roots of the trees. In this light, you get another glimpse of the gaping holes left in the renegade by the nerve-ooze.
You can see flesh inching back together under the direction of pale branching tendrils, like roots.
"Maune?" You call.
The bird is your echo. "Maune! Maune! Bloood!" It looks expectantly at you.
Slowly, you lift the glass of viscous, writhing red liquid which you had gingerly held with three legs.
But you don't get time to hand it over. Two dark, fleshy limbs that might be tentacles or arms crawl forth from the place where the witch's abdomen meets thorax. They do not look like trees. Spiky and gnarled with chitin and bone, the limbs reach out and brace again the ground, and then they push.
The witch of the ambrosia woods rises with the sound of a deracinated tree. Her pale compound eyes stare into you, and her maxillae are shaking in fever or anxiety or anger.
"Took ya long enough, kid."
A third limb emerges from behind her, and forcefully it spears one of its spikes precisely through the glass bottle. It's ripped from your grasp, contents sloshing wildly.
"Mala," comes that creaking voice of the birds. It hops beside its master, and then it rises on a leg she lowered for it. Perched on the mantis, the bird opens its wings, and three hard irregular forms drop. When did it get those? Where did it get those?
"Ah, Reva, you're so thoughtful." A midleg scratches the bird's head, and it coos cutely.
At a glimpse, those forms remind you of the ootheca baby mantids crawl out from, or the chrysalises you've seen described in scrolls about lesser insects. If someone said it looked to them like an acorn, or a pinecone, you'd wouldn't call them mad. But despite, you doubt the things are of plant or animal origin.
A glimpse is all you get. Soon the renegade plucks two and tosses them in her mouth. They're swallowed whole, no chewing.
The bird indicates the third of the seeds it brought.
"No. I can hardly handle eleven, Reva."
The bird cocks its head. "Termites," it says. Not in the voice you're used to hearing out of it. You wouldn't call it Maune's voice, but an imitation? Yes.
"Not worth the risk," is all she says before she returns attention to glass spear on the tentacle. Her tentacle? She jiggles it, and pours the red liquid in her mouth. Well, it pours as much as it drips down like slime. She only drinks half, and takes the rest and pours it on her wounds.
You watch the flesh quiver and warp where the red slime lands.
"Never seen a health pot at work? Newborn little nymph." She seems to regain her strength by the minutes, and soon she shifts weight off of the tentacles onto shaking legs.
"What are those things?" you ask.
She laughs. "I'm less surprised you haven't seen a raptorial of the vespers before. No rangers in that podunk little town of yours, is there? A shame, and a mystery. But I suppose the stewartry is starving for bodies again." She waves one of the tentacles. "It's a trick all vesperbanes pick up sooner or later."
Maune's gaze wanders, taking in, finally, that you are alone.
"Your mother, where is she?" There's a twinge to her voice. Fear? For Tlista, or of Tlista? It's something you watch closely, wondering if it's revealing feelings about whatever secret she's hiding.
"I—" You have excellent composure, and you have a head for social situations. Maybe it's not in your best to answer straightfowardly. "She sent me to give you the potion."
"So she stayed," the witch says. A tentacle flies out, swinging and slamming into the bark of the tree she rested under. Little bits of wood fly away. "I told you not to poke arou-" And then she notices you. You've shrinked back, and eye the other tentacles with fear.
"It's not your fault kid," her says. "You couldn't have stopped her. You couldn't have talked her out of it. It's fine. Everything -- everything will turn out fine, I'm sure of it."
"Even the termite stuff?"
"Even the termites. The stewertry takes these things seriously. You and I don't factor into it." She peers at you, and then leans a little closer. You can almost make out the hairs on her maxillae. "It's not all bad, anyway. I've wanted to speak with you, alone, and this is quite the excuse."
"With... me? Why?"
"You want to be a vesperbane, don't you? Some kind of story-told hero?" Nod. "How's that going?"
"It's... not going well. Hervanian Alcha got inducted when she was just third instar! But it's been four years since then and examinations every year and every year I get rejected. I'm about to be fifth instar soon and mother got inducted when she was fifth instar and if I get rejected again I'm completely hopeless."
"She told you that?"
"No! But it's obvious, I can figure it out on my own." Your antennae curl up into little loops.
"You think your mom will find you completely hopeless if you don't get except two years before standard?"
"Well, I don't know. But I'm the best in the village! How could I not be inducted yet?" Unless you weren't the best.
"I can help you."
Your antennae pop out to attention again. You look up at the ambrosia witch.
"How?"
She smiles. It's a broad, wicked thing. "There's nothing stopping an intrepid renegade such as myself from giving you the gift of the vespers. The how is obvious once you understand even two ounces of vesper theory."
"You mean, you can make me a vesperbane? Right now?"
"Are you a really vesperbane if you aren't countenanced the stewartry? I guess you wouldn't be a capital v Vesperbane in any sense. But molding enervate? Cultivating expressions? Magic, in its manifold forms? Yes, I can offer that."
She's also a renegade.
"Wouldn't that be, uh, extremely illegal? Immediately summary execution illegal?"
The bird is migrating up her arm to perch at the shoulder where foreleg me prothorax. Maune pets it.
She says, "And how would they catch you?"
"Uhh, next time I take the examinations probably? There are always vesperbanes there, and percipients."
You see a maxillae twitch at the mention of percipients.
"You're going to be gunning for stewartry inductment no matter what, aren't you?" Maune shakes her head. "Look, you're a — you'd be a third generation vesperbane, wouldn't you? Tlista's mother was an insignificant wretch who resigned after a few years. But Tlista was the poison queen, and was on prowl to become arch-fiend after Dlenam, the bastard, until — it didn't turn out that way. But still, they're going to recognize her name, especially if they're coming to Shatalek. And the thing everyone knows about second generation and onward vesperbanes is that their bodies and essences are — sometimes — already warped by the vespers. It's how Clans start. And it's the perfect cover! Just say it's a Blood Secret, and they won't question it. Nobody understands Blood Secrets."
"So, you make me a secret vesperbane, and if I ever get caught I say it's a clan bloodline?" You're still unsure.
Maybe that shows in your tone, because next she's giving you another smile. "I think I've got the measure of you, kid. Tell me, what do know about ambrosia beetles? I'm the greatest expert the heartlands ever had. Even if you get inducted, you'll never get what I'm offering."
"I've, only heard stories. Weird forest beings that nymphnap and steal, and give gifts that curse and change you, and make plants grow feral and disobedient." You pause, and I unsure about your next words, if they would spoil something sacred. "I saw one, walking over here."
"You... you saw one? It appeared before you?" Those six words wick away so much of her confidence and bravado. She's incredulous, indignant even. But she recovers enough to say, "Do you now what that means? Do you want to?"
You hesitate.
"Eifre, be my student, if only for a few months. You have potential, I'm sure of it. I can make you strong enough to go anywhere you want in the stewartry you want. I could have done it myself, if I didn't throw it all away for something higher." She pauses, and smiles. "The Dream is a nightmare. But I'll sing you to sleep, if you like."
You look away, as though not staring into Maune's inviting confidence would clear your thinking. Instead your mind lights on the trees lined with fruit like little stars, and all the weird, impossible creatures that dwell in the layered canopy, and below it. It would be a shame to never see this again, wouldn't it? To never learn all the secrets and wonders they live here?
"Tell me, have you ever heard of a druid?"
"I haven't."
"Exactly. I want to change that."
And the choice lies before you. Accept Maune's offer, and become a vesperbane in secret? You don't know how lenient the vindicators will be if caught. Renegades are the very antithesis of the Dream and the heartlands; and you would become one, if deniably. But you don't know if you can stand being denied the power and knowledge of the vespers much longer. And with the threat of the termite mound looming, might it be better to have power to save mantids sooner, rather than later?
But a treacherous part of your mind considers the inverse. You could exploit this, bring a renegade to justice. Surely if a mundane nymph brought down a renegade who'd run amok for years, someone in the capital would take notice? Someone might finally think you're worth inducting.
If you trust your mother, maybe it's worth it to tell her, and see what she says. But should you be that open, when she's clearly alright with keeping secrets from you? And wouldn't it ruin everything if she decided she didn't want you pursuing this path, when it very well could lead to something great?
While you stand and think, the witch of the ambrosia woods settles back on her bed of flowers, and watches you, familiar mirroring her gaze.
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Suggestions Received:
Anyway, I'm leaning pretty strongly towards accepting Maune's offer, but that we should make plans in case any part of the arrangement breaks down.
Plans for if our mom finds out and disapproves. Plans for if Maune is experimenting on us and we need to escape. Plans for if the stewartry find out through someone other than our mom. Etc.
So, illicit untapped power on the one bespined hand, staying the right side of justice and society on the other. I’d advocate deferring on the decision here until discovering what (if anything she deems share-worthy) Mom finds in the basement. If it’s something that gives very good reason to distrust or at least keep Maune at arm’s length, then turning her down as a mentor seems like the best course. If nothing of that sort, then go the Sith route and embrace dark potential. That ring of wood (which was both an excellent and EXTREMELY OMINOUS scene) screams “you’re about to get neck deep in something and boy howdy isn’t it a shame that a mantis breathes through their abdomen.”
l'd be a law abiding citizen and won't accept the offer right then and there, not because their law is any how worth obeying (l haven't heard enough about the dream and why the renegades are being bad beyond classifying the entire law thing as superstitions), but because the fishy recluse, beyond having good intentions, is still fishy and hidey and we need to know about her more before accepting the life changing decisions blindly, not before we all have a nice get together at her house and hearing out what shouldn't we be privy of because of maybe not understanding it, because that's concerning she should earn our trust before she could earn our consent for being trained, for example, how about she tells us about what do beetles give and what their gifts usually do, also try repeating to her what the beetle had said (and since we have good memory, we clearly remember the phrase enough to convey, right?), but let's not tell that beetle actually gifted us with a ring until we see her being open and willing to earn our trust, otherwise we'd better ask tliss about these events either way, a good answer to that is we don't know enough to answer yes yet, we want to learn more before accepting special treatment
I say we take the deal. I want to learn more about what our Renegade friend has to offer
submitted by endlessmoth to u/endlessmoth [link] [comments]

Some thoughts on originalism.

I was arguing with someone on the youtube comments... I have some thoughts. The original reply on Youtube was severely truncated because character limits meant I lost my comments and had to try a couple times. I'll expand a lot more here. I was also childishly accused of somethings, and I didn't want my efforts to go to waste.
For context: Someone was taking an absolutist stance on the firearms with the second amendment, and was quite angry that 2nd amendment doesn't get strict scrutiny protections, and felt like it should be expanded across the board. This reddit post is based on an adaption on the original, with additional expanded commentary in case anyone wants to join in.
Original youtube comments as follows:
Other person: How come we never get a judge like this on a second amendment case! A constitutional judge I don't believe it!!!!!
Me: well for one, the law is not clearly on one side. Religious rights get strict scrutiny protection. Gun rights get intermediate scrutiny.
other person: does the Second Amendment get treated that way because it's number two on the list and not number one? Or should strict scrutiny be observed across the board when it comes to any enumerated right?
Me: It does say well-regulated militia. and if the people are the militia, that means you do get to control who is in it and who gets a gun. Would you allow a psychotic person to have a gun? DC v. Heller said that people have a right to keep and bear arms, but that doesn't necessarily mean "a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner." Its generally given intermediate scrutiny, although that hasn't been spelled out.
other person: you need to get your dictionary out. And after you're done with that go get the Federalist Papers. Where the genius gentleman who wrote the declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights talk about what they meant when they wrote what they wrote. Then come back and talk to me. Liberal talking points mean nothing to me only facts.
I type out a huge wall of text that gets ignored, which was adapted into the meat and potatoes of this post
other person: 😂🤣😊🤣😊🤣😂🤣😊🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂yea ok. NO 😂🤣😂 TRY AGAIN😁😂🤣ILL B WAITING!😂🤣😂
me: absolute no rebuttal. too many emojis. Suggestive of a troll. Seeing as there is nothing to discuss, I'm done here.
other person: lol yea . No. You didn't read the Federalist Papers. And if you did. You obviously didn't understand what you read, and didn't use a dictionary either. So like I said try again!😂🤣😂 and oh yes I must be a bot because I don't agree with what you say! Liberals you guys are hilarious😂🤣😂
That triggered that part of me that insists on correcting everyone. now that I've copy pasted what was said so that I don't get accused of misrepresenting anything....
Arguing on the results
The first problem with originalism to me at least, seems to be that its used to support certain political stances, the stance comes first, rather than the law stuff. That can be said for pretty much any way of interpreting to some extent however. What I don't like is how there seems to be a premise of our opinions don't really matter, we should start with what it actually meant originally. And the pretense of true neutral on modern day politics, since we are going with the original intent of back then.
First step is showing that rights can be "limited." All rights are balanced against other rights. If my religion says I get to murder you just because, that doesn't excuse it. You have a right to not be murdered. The religion is not an excuse. Do not murder is a general thing we can all agree upon. There is a government interest in preventing murder. Another exception to free speech is defamation. You aren't allowed to spew false things to hurt someone, and hide behind free speech. So no right is absolute, despite what the law may say. Its absolute as far as tyrannical government intrusions. By creation of tort law, Did Congress a) abridge the right of free speech or b) such free speech right does not allow you to defame someone, because you are abusing speech to harm them, in such a way that is so unfair, it violates something big enough worth it. Ie Does free speech give you the right to defame someone else? If so, that means the person who you defamed must put up with defamation, the lies and reputation harm? Put another way, are you allowed to call anyone a pedophile/murdererapist regardless if its true? Its better to think of them as declarations of principles. It doesn't take too much effort to try to stretch out the rights and realize that they come into conflict at some point. Furthermore, due to 9th amendment, we get implied rights of a right to privacy and bodily autonomy, freedom of thought and conscience. it seems like one of the risks is forgetting the fact that just because it isn't written there, doesn't mean that it didn't matter to the original authors/framers. That would seem to possibly imply it was just a given. In a sense everything is a constitutional issue in that the question is why is the government doing this anyways and do they have the right to, due to the 9th and 10th. So there is nothing wrong with limiting in application a right. Its not that you don't have the right, its just that the right can be limited, not by the government, but necessarily because the absolute right goes against and overrides other rights. I reconcile the seemingly absolute right behind "Congress shall make no law..." with the reality that rights cannot be absolute. Because to him, originalism + second amendment => unlimited gun rights. So I attack the conclusion. It was the most immediate issue, and because attacking originalism is harder and longer.
First premise - there is a single original intent that encapsulates what everyone thought about it at the time, and that this truth is the ultimate, fundamental, original, historically correct interpretation/theory/answer. The natural consequence is to say that the only way to change that interpretation is through an amendment, or at least explicitly in statute. But that's quite difficult/impossible due to Gerrymandering. Scalia calculated that 4% of the population, distributed correctly could stop an amendment from being passed. So yes, we must obviously fix that, but that's another rabbit hole.
The framers were people, flawed people, politicians in fact. Since reasonable people can disagree, and they disagreed frequently, having genuine disagreements and difference of opinions, they would make compromises, and they did that frequently, since the disagreed a lot, including on big ticket items. See Federalist 1.
Thus like good politicians, they would invent a good enough compromise and kick the can down the road, and hope the system they said would be able to adapt and address it. That turned out to be false when it came to slavery. The Constitution and Bill of Rights were full of these compromises (Great Compromise, No prohibiting slave trade until 1808 and fugitive slave act, 3/5's compromise *shudders*, no export duties, yes import duties, interstate commerce clause only, no intrastate). They were nothing but compromises, such as the Bill of Rights.
It was a originally a political compromise offered by James Madison to get New York to ratify the constitution. Eventually, he realized there was more to it than that. It wasn't merely list of rights the people have and things the government can't do, but rather stood for the proposition that people have many rights, and that there are many things the government can't do, not just these. These were merely the ones that people were able to spell out through the amendment process.
Compromise definitionally means that there are 2 or more sides, and everyone isn't completely happy. That means that there are 2 or more threads of thought that go into it, sometimes independent and contradictory. And sometimes you find that there are potentially more than one theoretical underpinnings, but they didn't agree on which one, although both of them led to same spot. So as an originalist which one do you pick?
Holding that a single framer's opinion is the correct opinion, simply because they were the author, means saying that this person was right and the rest were wrong, and ignoring a whole bunch of other people, and somewhat arbitrarily saying the chosen one matters the most. I'd also remind you that sometimes there is no correct answer, in that there was no consensus or majority opinion. As in they agreed on the compromise, but there were no theoretical underpinnings they completely agreed upon, or at least the theoretical underpinnings they did at least partially agree upon, weren't as firm, thought out, or fully agreed upon. Due to this lack of super well thought out reasoning, when analyzing the constitution and laws, one must understand that something might just a placeholder answer for political expediency.
Furthermore, different people can pass the same law, the same text, and come away with differing interpretations, with the descendants of both sides telling themselves we agreed to the same thing. The most horrifying examples can be find in the road up to the civil war. Two fundamentally different halves were developing. One constitutional interpretation was right, and one was wrong. They couldn't both be right at the same time. And lets not kid ourselves, the only reason why a certain flavor of interpretation developed, was because it protected a certain "domestic" or "peculiar institution." So you either need some kind of reasoned principle to say we can exclude this mess, or you pick a certain side. But picking both sides individually presents their own sets of problems as well.
Premise 2 - we must be tightly bound to the original intent that people thought in the past because its correct and we must adhere regardless of everything else
I was trying to illustrate the problems with originalism, using Jefferson as an example.
*tangent incoming*
I actually really dislike Jefferson, not just because he was racist and owned slaves, but he pretended to be this dangerous liberal radical, and made (perhaps recklessly) a bold declaration that he had no intention of keeping or actually meant it. He setup a high bar for himself, and I get to hold him to that high bar. that's not presentism at all. Presentism is the historian's sin of apply our modern day values and harshly imposing them on their times with disregard for their contextual era that surrounded them and that they were born into. In fact, when you do that, Jefferson's evaluation becomes even worse, because he's the least excusable for being deeply racist out of ignorance. Such virtues and ideas existed at that point on the fringes, and he and his contemporaries were well aware of it. In fact, one of the view points of that time was that slaves were inferior because of the condition imposed on them, that the planter class (ie they themselves) did. This would stay as quiet personal admissions. All this out of the way, lets continue. He's not an honored figure because he was a racist slaveholder, he's honored because he put to pen and paper the principle of fundamental human equality, despite the fact that he nowhere lived up to that, politically or in his personal life (potential rape of Sally Hemmings. As a slave, could she even have consented? She was arguable always under duress). This same stuff applies to all the historical figures including the founding fathers, I just used Jefferson because I think he's overrated and this illustrates my point well.
What did Jefferson mean by "all men are created equal" in the Declaration of Independence. He excluded women, children, non-binary individuals (including George Washington who had Klinefelters syndrome and was XXY, for sake of simplicity sex = gender and men = XY, women = XX), the various native tribes, and Africans. We can tell that he was excluding most natives and Africans as nonhumans all of this from his writings (see Notes on Virginia) and behaviors. Jefferson was a huge racist, but we don't follow his actual original intent. For one, reconstruction amendments override him here, but secondly, we don't blindly follow the intent only. We extrapolate the important principle they got right, and try to apply it as best as possible to our modern context. That's why the Second Amendment doesn't apply to muskets only. That's why First Amendment protects this as speech.
Jefferson called the constitution a living document. Its living because its interpreted in different ways and open to change. So where are the parameters and boundaries of this. Who gets to determine the boundaries of the living constitution? Due to Marbury v Madison, right now, its the courts, so I rather have them be more open about their bias. I'd prefer the least amount of bias possible, but we shouldn't pretend that they aren't biased at all. But with originalism, even less people's thoughts counts. Why does only certain individuals' thoughts count, and who are these people? Well they are the chosen people because they were born white, male, into a wealthy family, with the right last names. Originalist is ridiculous because its so restrictive on who counts. They are dead. There ideas are valid, but originalism means they don't get examined on their own. The whole point of jurisprudence is to work through these complexities, and to reflect the historical nuances. The problem with originalism is that it doesn't allow for this, and assumes a certain narrative is true already, and which narrative is that? Whatever is determined to be the "original," which due to the fluid nature as described earlier, could be whichever one is politically expedient.
*tangent* I do however, agree that it shouldn't be overstretched because it would then break/tear. it does frustrate me that everything is a constitutional issue (not in the sense of why is the government doing this, how do they have the powepermission to do that), but in the fact that its gotten overstretched. Like on first impression, I had no clue that Roe v. Wade was a constitutional issue. I didn't know abortions were in there. (Yes I know there were privacy things too, but my point is still made)
But adhering to strict originalism means naturally accepting this baggage of bigotry from a previous time along with it. Or you can say that this baggage wasn't the essence of it, but these accidental characteristics were just as much part of the original intent, quite sadly. So you need some kind of limiting principle that allows you to dump the baggage of bigotry, which means not being originalist, or you throw out the strict originalist option out (as in we MUST adhere to the original intent as opposed to saying history is a useful guide, but we have no obligation to copy what they thought. If we are talking about a specific well-written statute, then there is less wiggle room, but that's not the case here, these were a lot more of declarations of principle.) Arguably, you can avoid dealing with this uncomfortable implications by saying this questions are worthless because 13th-15th amendments, but that's not really a good system then, if its that rigid, that you need an amendment to escape the racist views of the past view.
*tangent* here I go into the weeds of how one could be a super strict originalist and not be racist, more of a thought experiment and hypothetical.
While the 14th and 15th amendments could be argued to provide a principal, it depends on how much of a textualist you want to be. 14th amendment establishes the a principle of don't discriminate for dumb reasons, but it doesn't spell out any protected classes. Some may look to the 15th amendment, since they were passed around the same time by the same Congress with the same context. It spells out race, color, or previous condition of servitude. So it depends, but I think might point still stands. Its scary to think about it. I don't know anyone who would take it this far, but is there any principle stopping it from going this far? Luckily enough John Bingham the primary author of both the 14th and 15th can serve as a save, since his original intent was more better, in contrast to the compromises on the 14th and 15th amendments, which muzzled it and made it more muted/toned down than originally desired by some, including John Bingham and Charles Sumner. A lot of things are missing like a ban on poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, nothing on naturalized citizens born overseas (for the nativists), also women's suffrage. But another racist originalist may consciously or not emphasize a more conservative author and hold that up as the original intent. Thankfully, these problems not addressed there were fixed later legislatively, but never on an amendment level, so it could be changed. I'd remind you, we have no equal protection clause on the federal level, its read to be implied in the 5th amendment due process clause, so uninterpreting out is possible since its implied. Maybe the equal protection clause should be amended to spell out protected categories, or maybe the solution is another ERA. But the fact that I'm going into the weeds has another implication... do we really want to be held back by the failures of the past?
I'm just going to mention briefly the subtext of conservatism in (Burke's sense) terms of tradition vs progressivism/revolution.
Originalism basically solidifies these long dead people's points of view unless specifically contradicted by statute, but even contradicting via statute wouldn't work entirely because how would you go about doing that for a constitutional issue? And the problem is that in the context of the Constitution, tradition, is just peer pressure from the dead, but on a constitutional level, this solidifies their points of view, and requires an amendment to change. Is that really a wise idea. I'd remind everyone that we had a long and bloody path that led up to war. Adopting this approach makes the law too clunky to adapt. So arguably, that means adopting racist points of view that contradicts the 14th amendments.
One of the compromise/balancing acts was the question of how much should the constitution be able to be changed? Keep in mind that its the scaffolding, the base structures and basic principles, and that's not something you want to change too often. For context, the Articles of Confederation required the assent of 9/13 states to do something, and unanimous 13/13 consent for other important things like amendments. The US Constitution requires a simple majority in both individuals Houses/Chambers of Congress, and the President to sign off, with a 2/3rds on both to override veto. The whole point of a republic is balance. Neither mob rule, nor tyranny of a dictator, popular sovereignty/majority rule, while still upholding minority rights and rule of law. It should be able to change with the times and reflect the people, but not too much, hence representatives and refinement. Fair laws created through a (representative) democratic process, and enforced and applied evenly in a way that actually makes sense. But if you are to go with originalism, that means that judges are to stick with the original (often bigoted) intent or more likely reconstitute/patch-together a modernish meaning and call it original, which is often a political issue. Originalism also means that judges inherently must be conservative, and cannot ever introduce a new interpretation or way of looking at the constitution, which can prevent necessary change, which then creates a need for more legislative changes or amendments to ensure the a functional government under the constitution. If this is a good or bad thing is neither here nor there, but I will say, its quite impossible because of stuff like gerrymandering.
This felt like I was typing something for something more than a mere reddit post off of something more than just mere youtube comments.
submitted by ilikedota5 to scotus [link] [comments]

Survey results and mod application form

Hi y’all,
The survey has been up for little while, I’ve gotten a lot of answers, most of them very helpful, from you.
So, I wanted to go through the results, for those of you who are interested. I’ll be specific with numbers when interesting, but I will mainly be discussing what I found interesting, informative or the likes, reading this. You can find the mod application form at the bottom.
There are also some general notes at the bottom.
Remember that we have a discord. You can join here: https://discord.gg/U4V4JQH
Q1: Which country or region are you from? Be as vague or specific as you are comfortable with.
The vast, vast majority of you are from the US. To a surprising degree. Among US-citizens New York and California had the most representatives, confirming all of my prejudices about USA, that it’s really nothing but Manhattan and LA. No, I’m kidding.

Q2: How old are you?
44.8% are 20-25 (like me!), and 48.3% are 14-19 years old. Which is what to be expected. The oldest was a single person in the age bracket of 31-35.

Q3: What is your current occupation?
We have 4 PhD, and 4 post-grad students, 2 people in the workforce and the rest is split down the middle between high-school and undergrad-students.
I found it funny how many had given their own answers specifying that they are working part time while studying. In my home country, when you are asked your occupation on a survey there is only either student, unemployed, retired or employed essentially, because most people work while studying. Anyway, I hadn’t considered some of you wanted to specify, but I wanted to make clear, that I am fully aware that many, many students also work (including myself)

Q4: If you want to, please tell me about your major: Which are you considering/did you choose and why? If you are out of school or working part-time within your desired field, feel free to tell me what you are working with as well.
So, these are obviously individual answers, but I can say many, many studied or wanted to study the fine arts and Classics (obviously), as well as science (especially chemistry! Are y’all mad scientists?) and psychology. Not a lot of representation from the social sciences and STEM minus S.
My favourite answer to this questions ended with the following: “I live for bringing beautiful things into this ugly world and being dramatic”. If that ain’t this community, then I don’t know what is.

Q5: What’s your gender?
3/4ths identify as female, 10% as male and the rest of you a mix of non-binary (which I forgot as an option, sorry), genderfluid, gender neutral, and prefer not to disclose.

Q6: Where did you first learn of Dark Academia?
Most people found DA on Instagram (36.2%). That really surprised me, since Instagram is one of the only possible social media platforms where I haven’t seen DA.
After Instagram, in the order of frequency, we have: Tumblr, Strange Æons’ video, people IRL, Pinterest (I’m so happy I’m not the only one who still uses Pinterest), Donna Tartt’s novels, Dead Poets society, others

Q7: Explain briefly and with your own words; what is Dark Academia?
Again, individual answers. But honestly, I’m going to be borrowing from a lot of your answers when writing “about”-sections in the future, because most of you were so, so eloquent in your explanations, damn. But since I loved so many of the answers, I decided to turn some of them into user flairs, so go nuts in those!

Q8: Which parts of Dark Academia appeals to you personally?
The most popular answer here, by far, was: The general values of thirst for knowledge, etc, (93.7%) which I think is very neat. Other than that you are generally primarily into the aesthetics, fashion, art, and literature.

Q9: Where did you first learn of DarkAcademia?
The vast majority (79%) of you actively searched for a DA-subreddit and found us. How nice.

Q10: Have you participated in any community activities such as introductions, book club, pen pals or the likes? If so, do you remember which?
Most of the answers to this questions were along the lines of “Not very much, but I’d like to”, which is great. We’re a new community, and according to most literature on the topic, the vast majority of Social media users are spectators, rather than commentator or participators, so that’s to be expected.
But my favourite answer for this questions was:
“yES!”

Q11: What do you most come to the subreddit to find?
Again, primarily discussions on literature, art, fashion, and aesthetics as well as community.

Q12: What would you like more of?
Generally, it seems like you want more aesthetic and outfit-based posts, which I definitely get, I’ve been missing that too. Maybe we should do a weekly thread for outfits or something like that? What do you think?

Q13: What would you like less of?
A large minority (23%) wants less of a discussion of contemporary literature such as The Secret History.
Other than that most of you didn’t have anything you would like less of.

Q14: Do you have any suggestions for things you would love on the subreddit, or things that you don't like that you would like to see changed? Or generally, if you have anything you'd like to be sure you said, now's the time!
Individual answers, here. Many reiterated that you want more fashion and aesthetics -- especially personal examples from users and not picture-perfect outfits/rooms/etc from Tumblr or the likes. I think that is such a good point.
Another person suggested having older members of the community teach younger members in their fields of study. Is that something you would be into? I would love to facilitate a weekly or monthly lecture from someone in the community.

Q15: Do you believe in aliens? Why/why not?
The vast majority believes in aliens, and a big minority said they don’t believe in aliens as the concept, but do believe that there is other life in the universe – I love a pedantic <3

Q16: Do you believe in ghosts? Why/why not?
A pretty big amount of you believe in ghosts.
This was my favourite response: “As a pan-culture cultural folklore phenomenon: yes. As is "I saw a ghost and it stole my cornchips": no.”

Q17: Do you believe in astrology? Do you know your sign(s)? If so, what are they?
Even though, astrology seems to be one of the biggest supernatural trends in recent years, y’all haven’t fallen for that, and most of you don’t believe in it. Some thinks it sort of fun or interesting, and some used it as prompts for introspection. None believed 100%. Most of you were pisces. Like, a third of those who shared their sign was pisces. Pisces are supposedly creative and emotional, very much the artist sign. So that’s fun.

Q18: Do you believe in Myers-Briggs' 16 personalities? Do you know yours? If so, what is it?
Again a lot didn’t believe, but most new their personality type. To literally NO ONE’S surprised the VAST majority are either INFJ or INTJ, which are both introverted people who like to engage with abstract thoughts and org