A novel by Jeremy Hawkins
  SYNOPSIS : An 80,000 word novel set very slightly into the near future in East London and Siberia:
"Its not a certain society that seems ridiculous to me, it's mankind" Eugene Ionesco.

In a decade the information domain will probably contain all biased, filtered and reinforced information in both nano-digital (D=10 o/s:operations/second.) and biological (C=10 o/s :digitally emulated.) media, with physical (P) and digital locations (L). The switching between the genes in the human genome could include 2 combinations. The novel's background communication infrastructure is indicated in the figure below:
  In 2017 the biological world is giving way to the DNA digital world. The introduction of the latter with its consequent effects on human nature is introduced at intervals during the novel through the 'Billy' character, with a theoretic synthesis of knowledge between nanotechnology, molecular biology and digital communication with the human mind as a tabula rasa (f. L : scraped tablet), partly as a satire of digital communication and as an example of the unpredictable nature of the products of scientific knowledge. Progress is seen as a myth by some characters in the novel, in keeping with Darwinian theory. Sophisticated technology has been used repeatedly by humans to satisfy their oldest socio-biological drives, usually in a crass manner. The novel does not attempt to bolster 'elitist' or judgemental viewpoints based on the over simplifications of relativist dogma (eg: 'equal but different'), but imagines the elusive possible future 'truths' that our species and its technological baggage have got in store for our emotions. Laughter is included if you think the novel's content is funny. Some of it probably is. The more genuine the more mysterious it is, especially if distasteful.

The migration of 'souls' across the adjacent continent to the East, with its echoes of ' Dead Souls' by Gogol, is brought into the 21st century. The 20th Century was dominated by 'universalisms' or 'blank' isms : capitalism, Marxism, anarchism, fascism and religious fundamentalism. Perhaps we may see the start of another era of Enlightenment, with all areas of knowledge seen clearly defined, with no overiding theory holding all the others back or distorting them for its own purpose to appease its respective universalist spin doctor. Old politics doesn't quite fit the new social patterns in the supposed 'post-industrial' future in the UK. Nineteenth century socialists such as William Morris envisioned a possible post-industrial utopia set around 2004, which is a little optimistic in its understanding of the medieval past to serve as a realistic model for the future, considering our current understanding of human nature. His book 'The News from Nowhere' envisages a tamed human nature, not red in tooth and claw, as it remains at the moment. We need active NGO's, legislatures and judicial systems to stop it running wild. It should only run wild in National Park wilderness areas, the horses will always get scared for the next million years at least, with luck.

Three million years of direct biological genetic inheritance meets the changing pressures of selective adaptation in the twenty first century. The pressures are applied in an ever increasing variety on our species throughout the world. 'Early adaptor' is used as a favourable term describing the ideal compliant employee by management guru's in the present day. The misuse of Darwinian theory to promote the idea that there is some kind of 'organic' or 'natural' character to management nostrums is satirised. The pseudo-application of science has been tried on our species by most of the adherents of the 20th century universalisms. It has been found that humans cannot be 'brain-washed' as hoped for by Marxist communists or advertising executives believing the 'subliminal' operant conditioning theory of the behaviourists or the subconcious theories of the Freudians. The use of scientific knowledge in rhetoric also has no long term effect (ie:The white hot technological revolution.). The behavioural theoretic ideas underpinning the Orwellian '1984' dystopian view have been found to have little basis in long term observable fact. Human nature prevails. As Argentina after the generals indicates, for example, with its current apolitical 'revolution', peoples forget 'fear' eventually. This illustrates the difference between a literary understanding of human consciousness and a scientific understanding, which nobody has managed yet, especially considering intentionality. The intentionality idea is examined in chapter 1.

There will, of course, be no argument against those who believe in metaphysical 'facts'. Discussion is never possible on the subject of exactly how many angels there are on a pin head, only with those relativists who believe that pin heads should be enlarged to allow for 'big pinhead' cultural beliefs.( Normal pin heads are not quite big enough for single disabled angels because the undercarriage under their wings is non-retractable.) Most people use pins for temporarily holding fabric together not the literal consequences of other peoples esoteric cultural beliefs. Society could temporarily provide a very confusing and unco-operative environment if a 'big pinhead' belief system was uniformly adhered to in every aspect of life, against the flow of long term 'main stream' human behaviour, past and future. If the world went 'big pinhead' the price of pins would eventually come down again, because most people only need pin heads just big enough to stop them sliding into fabric, not to support religious belief, or show solidarity with it. New legislation which supported the compulsory supply of a free thimble with every box of pins, if the customer required one, would be very popular. 'Small pin head' metaphysical belief system adherents would use less raw materials and generally be more prosperous and have a higher material standard of living. This is the point at which 'analogous thinkers' co-opt Darwinian theory, as a misunderstanding of selective adaptation theory constructing social Darwinist straw men and women, not to mention economic Darwinism.. There is no conscious or totally inevitable aspect to the behaviour of the building blocks of life, merely the twiddlings of the deaf piano tuner, the meddling of Dawkins's Blind Watchmaker and the Hot Air of mute Bachelors impressing a deaf Bride. As the Surrealist Quebequoise painter Mimi Parent once said "Knock hard, life is deaf. ". Pins get knocked out of shape.
Some of these ideas might make certain readers' 'blood boil', if you are one of them you will probably not wish to see publication of such concepts. However, if you think that human knowledge is enhanced by freedom of speech, you will be encountering the same strain put on all in a liberal democracy; allowing the intolerant belief systems of the various 'universalisms' to be discussed or promoted within a tolerant society. This work is a satire of 'universalisms' in all their guises because I find 'reality' too complex to be explained by their inherent reductionist hot air. The title of the novel is echoed in various direct and indirect ways through the text.

A main character name of Proteus was taken from Shakespeare's first comedy: The Two Gentlemen of Verona which contains "Who is Sylvia ?" not "Who is Svetlana ?". On finishing the novel I have made a short comparitive analysis to throw my work into greater focus using one of the English language's sharpest lenses. The comedy of manners in a 16th Century court has a tightly woven pattern of unrequited passion which occurs due to the new situations that Proteus finds himself in. He is ordered by his father, Don Antonio, to travel to the court of the Duke of Milan to gain wordly knowledge. On arrival at court he supplants the love for his local sweetheart, Julia, for the Duke's daughter, Sylvia, who is betrothed to Valentine, Proteus's best friend. Julia continues to love him and eventually, the two 'original' couples marry at the end. Proteus in The Bride and Her Bachelors Hot Air develops a relationship with Svetlana, who like Shakespeare's Proteus has found herself in a new situation, 'married' to Cliff Guest. She is already worldly wisehowever. The fundamental difference between the two works is the change in tone from the idealised tradition of medieval courtly love to the 'unromantic' reality that 'love' is expected to exist in today. Youthful naivety is still present, but it's poetry is harsher and some are less tolerant of it.(eg: Rap music.) There is a non PC anti-semitic element to Shakespeare's character's also, combined with metaphors which equate fairness of skin with fairness of character.
Act 2 Scene 6, line 25:
Proteus: "And Silvia- witness heaven that made her fair-
Shows Julia but a swarthy Ethiope."
I think the difference in the way we view these lines today is reflected in how objectively we may see their falsity, in addition to the moral flaw in terms of utilitarian ethics. Darwinian thought can inform the philosophic notion of meta-ethics in this matter, in a similar way to religion, as opposed to utilitarian ethics of the 'greater good' type. We may also come to understand love far more objectively also. It has recently been discovered that the location in the brain where the 'feel good' neuro-transmitter dopamine is secreted when people are "in love" is very close to the area where dopamine is released when people have taken drugs like cocaine. Both are similarly addictive. Love: the evolutionary pair bonding mechanism.To some it remains a weak biological attractive force. The anthropology of more polygamous social models is not present in this particular novel.
Act 1. Scene 1, line 42:
Proteus: " Yet writers say ' As in the sweetest bud
The eating canker dwells, so doting love
Inhabits in the finest wits of all' "
Neurotransmitters and nanotechnology 'canker' is discussed in my novel also. There is some 'clever clever' word play in both works, I extremely modestly suggest, the double meanings of words roll one into another. In Shakespeare, this is usually when young courtly suitors are trying to impress a lady with their sharpness of wit, so that this displays their Darwinian courtly adaptation, so that they may be selected for by the senior alpha male duke's or king's female offspring. In mine, it is where the intellectual hot air of language displays its inherent absurdity, hypocrisy ( The PC concept.) and fun, being part of human nature.
The 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' is the only Shakespeare play that has a big role for an animal. Shakespeare was subject to a little anthropomorphic conceit. The role was for Crab, the dog, belonging to Lance, Proteus's servant. Svetlana has Petrouska the lap-dog and Uv has his Firebird. Crab's role was inevitably non-speaking, unlike the Firebird. Crab steals the show, apparently, writers say, this being part of animal nature.
In the play we have a glimpse of nature in the raw when Lance the servant takes the punishment meant for his dog for the crime of pissing under the Dukes table, by being whipped himself by the Duke's professional dog whipper. In the novel Uv unintentionally saves a reindeers life and tries to steal ostrich eggs by burning reindeer moss. All these reciprocal acts between animals and plants being a miniscule part of Gaian interconnected nature. There is more in our DNA than meets the eye, but hopefully not our feeble minds and high frequency computers. Their content and product being self evident...

The introduction of the Firebird
This chapter is a vivid opening piece with a dream like quality. The story is almost totally separate from the rest of the novel. It introduces the first possible interpretation of the novels title. There is a single linking strand where one of the novels characters is introduced out of context. The tone contrasts with the urban feel of the following chapters. It is set on the edge of the Siberian Taiga, with its native inhabitant's different forms of consciousness. The animals present are all from different stages of the evolution of intelligence on earth with the various recorded languages appearing one after another in 'mythic form', then discovered to be in the digital form of the near future. This dialogue is incoherent and misunderstood by both communicators. The unspoken communication between the earlier life forms has greater clarity and effect.

The introduction of the characters
Isabella leaves a meeting at the office open organic learning space of the future . The bi-monthly technical function 3 grade 7 (EU) staff conference forming part of the semi-market managed market consortium for packaging grade wood pulp distribution.
She goes to meet her friends Corinne and Proteus at a country pub where embedded chip nanotechnology is manifest. It is capable of making 10 operations per second. ( 2000 million gigahertz computers the size of a sugarcube are currently predicted.). Food is ordered and paid for by the furniture and plates. The humans are only needed to carry it and eat it. Emulated digital human consciousness has been estimated to require 10 operations per second. ( Current computers operate at 10 operations per second.) Without senses, however, consciousness is not possible, as understood by humans. Isabella's colleague, Bix Skodal is a focused, 'self-helped' auto-didact who only feeds on positive 'mental protein'. He gives the initial impression of making his colleagues seem part of the 'slacker' or Generation 'Z' demographic tendency. His corporate smarm vocabulary leaves the rest gasping for air.
The next day Isabella attends a conference where the delegates clip on a minimal headset. Some wore costume jewellery that transmitted sound. Isabella feels like she has 'been dropped into a sensory deprivation tank of corporate proportions '. 'The dissonance between so many minds would produce corporate white noise ' she thought. 'The corporate shoal would see whether the wrinkles and folds in the 'rune rug ' confirmed or denied its preconceptions. It would try to mimic its form, arch its back, droop its shoulders , hollow its belly and emerge in some way enlightened.'
The conferential software is hacked into by an unexplained quasi mystical figure named Shinrat Sepeytoe.' Flashes of frail, dusty imagery.' She was in 2048 bit virtual space. She pushed the conference C3/3 carbon atom compound assimilation button for plants: trees, wheat & citrus fruits. She navigated her way to a conference workshop. She chose 'Alternatives' from the menu. The virtual delegates introduce themselves, amongst them is Gyorgy Markova. Shinrat Sepeytoe hacks in again.' Below, like a badly tuned 405 line TV, flickered the image of floating white swan feathers seen from below '. Isabella remembered that the swan was a creature of transformation to the North American natives. ( A metaphysical sense of being is suggested by the text, this is possible in 2048 bit space.)
'The set of conference delegates were looking bewildered in real time.' Afterwards Isabella conferences with Helga Stensen regarding the nature of human consciousness, from Freud to the current models as a counterpoint to the digital based consciousness described earlier.

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