by A. S. Patric

Are we more disconnected?

Are we more superficial?

Does the internet cripple the creative life?

Are we more distracted?

Debased and disillusioned?

Do we abandon a spiritual centre for a cyber stratosphere?

Or is it merely two centimetres of distraction?

Are we ourselves filtered through the thoughts of others?

Are we distillations of the failures and successes of our parents, or perhaps, just our social networks?

How much of myself is originated solely from the private recesses of the singularity that is my ego?

How much of me is already historical, global, communal, whether I want it or not?

Where is all this going?

Where is all this happening?

Is there some point of culmination where consciousness experiences itself as a collective phenomenon?

Do we understand where we have been?

Do we understand where we will be?

Have we seen all the tools we have made, and all the tools we will build, for the machines that are our past and future?

Has an everlasting moment always slipped through our fingers?

Do we stand alone below the stars?

Have we always wondered how to see them properly?

Have we always wondered how to see you properly?

Are there really nothing but questions?

Nothing more than a code of 0s and 1s?

Combinations of such broken figures?

Just so many broken fingers?

Do you think in such fractured circles –> wear such incomplete rings?

Have we been little things?

Have we been voiceless?

Have we been a sum on the other side of the sun?

Have we dreamed and found all our answers and then forgotten such sunless places?

Have I known you and lost you?

Have I misplaced our misread faces?

Printed them wrong, forgotten and gone?

Will we now drift?

Each from each?

Clusters of poetry turning into rings, barely detectable, and spinning around Jupiter?

Powdering out in white dust as far away as Pluto’s underworld?

What we where when we discovered that our planet offers us an absolute answer to everything we could ever ask?


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Alec Patric

AS Patric is the award-winning author of The Rattler & other stories (Spineless Wonders, 2011), Las Vegas for Vegans (Transit Lounge, 2012) and Bruno Kramzer (Finlay Lloyd, 2013).

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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  1. Written before the censorship announcement:

    Anthropocene Creed

    We believe in one search engine
    collator of all things real and virtual
    believable and unbelievable.
    We believe in those results
    eternally lodged in an encrypted hyper-reality,
    bitrate to bitrate,
    torrent to torrent.
    Not made, but generated through algorithms
    for us, and for our insatiable desire for information,
    IT emerged to impart knowledge
    to make us wise.
    For our sake, IT is self-censored:
    sinners may be brought to account through their IP numbers.
    In accordance with binary codes and random selection
    we ascend into bliss, a conscious state of being
    or, an obscure bootleg album by DAAS:
    IT will keep searching and ITs domain names will have no limits.
    We believe we are connected via wireless networks;
    without them, we will revert to an anachronistic state
    suspicious of zombie computers.
    We believe that hypertext reigns supreme;
    through endless links and free associations we will overcome the rational, the sane.
    We pity those who lack faith in the system.
    We acknowledge a universal username and one reiterated password.
    We look forward to the next reboot,
    not to the day the hard disk crashes.
    We freely give our e-waste to benefit the impoverished child
    and their life in the third world to come.
    This is the creed of the anthropocence age,
    for we are Men
    and are bored.
    Helen O’Brien

  2. Thanks Alec. I’ve been interested in poetic commentary about the internet for awhile, especially your question as to whether we filter ourselves through others. Maybe this is the postmodern condition of ‘quotation’ with cyberspace and hypertext taking it to the extreme.
    BTW love the answer reduced to binary code. Ultimately what underlies the structure of the internet is a mathematical expression of humanity. (Sorry, that sounds a bit pretentious!)
    Perhaps you might like this:
    I’m rather fond of binary code – thank-you for your Questionnaire.
    Helen – P.S. do I get a chuppa-chup too?

  3. In response to Alec / Helen, poem inspired by Alec’s original post on aspatricink, name to be changed to “Pushing For A Chupa Chup”

    Anti-Social Network

    The new
    has announced
    its word
    of the year
    for 2009
    ‘Love’ has long been forgotten,
    ‘Touch’ is now irrelevant,
    ‘Smile’, ‘Hope’, ‘Peace’, ‘Praise’,
    rendered to dusty print books
    locked in open shelves
    for all and none to see.
    LMAO txt speak has won.
    I am justified in my existence,
    I facebook, therefore I am,
    twitter ergo sum.
    We have created our own Big Brother,
    Split our own personalities,
    Online identities,

  4. Bad workmen

    Forks don’t feed.
    Guns don’t kill.
    Phones don’t call.
    Hammers don’t hit.
    Scissors don’t cut.
    Doors don’t close.
    Pens don’t write.
    Keys don’t lock.
    Shovels don’t dig.
    Cars don’t drive.
    Matches don’t burn.
    Guitars don’t play.

    Only we do.

    We feed. We kill.
    We call. We hit.
    We cut. We close.
    We write. We lock.
    We dig. We drive.
    We burn. We play.

    But only if we choose to.

  5. & I just thought they were rhetorical questions! On Mark’s ‘unfriend’ point, there is a rather thought provoking look on how humans co-exist in Mark Vernon’s ‘The Philosophy of Friendship’ 2005, (Palgrave). I guess the internet has created a different type of ‘friendship’ and like work-based or civic-based relationships many are bound by the commonalities of utility and ideal but may be compartmentalized from other types of friendships. Once those commonalities of purpose begin to fray, then so the friendship dissipates. The unfriend action is not necessarily some hateful act: it is something we do frequently in real life but with more elaborate subterfuge.

  6. The answer to all your questions, except #19 is “No”. And #19 has fundamentally always been “Yes” for everybody.

    This woman on a doco on “Second Life” on SBS the other night had her children taken away from her briefly because her addiction caused her to neglect them. I’d say her answer might be different from mine.

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