30 October 2084 the ideal is the real

a story for Yevgeny Zamyatin and we*

Ours is an ideal society but it's not static, nor is it hierarchical - it is in the form of an ever-changing network.

It is global in the sense that everyone is the whole of it - but no one can dominate it and no one is a subservient part, for it is present in each one. You cannot leave it nor hide inside it for it consists of all of us, of 'we' as Yevgeny Zamatian imagined us, as equals (apart from the tyrranical benefactors within the wall and of the outcasts outside it - in his story). But though equal we are not identical as were his 'we' - that's where the difference begins - our identity does not exist yet the logic** of hierarchy is gone.

'We' includes everyone - it also includes 'we others', 'nous autres', those of us who think we are different. We all think. We all are. We all believe we are unique. And none of us is perfect for perfection is singular whereas imperfection is indescribable (is that nonsense asks someone or is it poetry)... There is no fall because there is no elevation to start with.

And what of sin asks the voice of tradition.

But that voice is ignored - we are free to ignore or to pay attention in the life we live now. There are no commands, except in emergencies. Run for the exit!

There is no compromise here because our actions are perfect and our thoughts are in accord with what exists, though they change it. Our reality now isn't as it was before we did what we did and we do what we do.

But nothing is new says the voice of tradition - but again we don't listen though we include all voices in this text, in this story, for YZ and for everyone, for we, for we are all the people, there are no others any more.

17:24: 31 October 2984

thinking in and of softopia

16:25 Outdoor cafe. The weather has turned cold today though it's still sunny with no clouds this wintry afternoon - so this may be brief...

...it was brief, for the one writing walked away. When he reached the hill he stopped to look at the moon which seemed bigger than usual, and nearer, and redder as if suspended above the houses... as if the moon had become a part of the earth. Was it ever separate?

and nothing more was said or even thought of these things, they indeed seem imperfect, even inclusive, but the perfecton of YZ's Weis not approached - is there anything wrong?

7 November 2984

The one writing this ceased and awaited new existence, for these words were premature... they were wishes not facts. Even now.

* Yevgeny Zamyatin,We,translated by Bernard Guilbert Guerney, introduction by Michael Glenny, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex 1972. Written in Russian in 1920 but censored, the first authentic Russian edition was published in New York in 1952.

Zamyatin was born in 1884 and became a naval architect and an Anglophile. He translated and analysed the writings of H G Wells. He noticed that all the Utopias he knew of were static - nothing happens. Early translations of Weinto English and French are thought to have influenced Aldous Huxley's Brave New Worldand George Orwell's 1984.After appealing to Stalin, Zamyatin was allowed to leave the Soviet Union. He lived in Paris until his death in 1937.

** This logic (as I perhaps imperfectly rememeber it) is that, if distinctions between things are taken to be constructs of language, no hierarchy is possible (and all form is thus artificial?). The marvellous complexity and beauty of this logic can be found in:

Annetta Pedretti, The cybernetics of language, princelet editions, London 1981 (by mail order from princelet editions, 25 Princelet Street, London E1 6QH).