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story:jungle_cube_culture

Short Story: Jungle Cube Culture
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Above Illustration is used with permission: http://lady-die.deviantart.com; and the jungle backdrop is from villagetaways dot com. Edits by Royce Barber.
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Introduction
* This story is my fictional journey through a society who lives barefoot in a jungle, yet thrives in virtual reality. The purpose of the story is to showcase what humanity could be in the far future.
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Setting
* 1.) A rain forest jungle, with gardens and floating food patches.
* 2.) Virtual reality of a bright science lab.
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Characters
* Main Character:
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Story
The year is 2015. I just awoke from a futuristic dream. I'll explain the dream. I was in a wild overgrown jungle, wearing leafs and rope. I waded through a few little streams, with colorful birds flying overhead. Me and 20 other people of various ages, hiked up to a giant stone cube. Perhaps 100ft by 100ft. The cube was dirty with moss and mud, greatly eroded over time, and wasn't perfectly square. It had artistic swirls, columns, and merged well with it's surroundings, as if in an Indiana Jones movie. I walked up to the cube, touched the cold moist stone, as a drop of dew dripped off a nearby vine onto my dirty yet groomed face. My hands, covered in mud, knew what pin code to press into some dimples in the stone. As if billions of other fingers had pressed a code there. I noticed others walking up to the stone, inputting their security pin in various methods, with intention to enter the grand cube. Swiping, pushing, tapping, some people even licked the stone or hummed into it.
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For each respective person, a slit opened in the stone and the person crawled into a quaint little bed in the rock. The bed covered in leaves and weeds. The opening closed again, to a solid rock face. I strongly craved entering my own slit in the rock. Whilst pushing aside the rock slit as if a curtain, my hands arose to pick up a vine crown and place it to my head. I felt some vibration from the vine, as my limbs quickly started to go numb and I fell helpless to the filthy surroundings. With no fanfare or chimes, I opened my eyes to a white lab of people working on experiments and giving presentations of their peers. The warehouse size rooms had a lot of wall partitions to form open nooks, with most walls curved and organic. I remembered, I'm resting helpless in a little bed hole in a giant stone cube, with perhaps thousands of other people in nearby holes. Silent and still to an outside observer, yet buzzing like bees within their white virtual realm.
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I noticed, I haven't moved from my bed, and the grand stone cube is still all around me. But in this virtual world, many things are clean and have a slight polished shine of light rainbow. There are 3D schematics and diagrams lingering mid-air. Half-built vehicle designs and schematics for microscopic machines. Somehow I know I live here, both in the virtual lab and in the real jungle. I felt a light buzzing vibration on my whole body, as I awoke back in the jungle. I felt a little hungry, and followed some athletic elderly folk to a pond. The people were growing floating objects of various vibrant colors and textures. People were eating these exotic veggies, and tossing the remnants back into the water. Some people were gathering samples of the water, dropping chemicals into the samples, and discussing the results. I didn't see any paper or screens, but I noticed people making keyboard typing motions into the air. Overhead, hummingbirds buzzed about, with distinct gadgets attached under the bird, recording what people needed it to. This society seemed emotionally healthy, thriving, but most of them seemed a bit happier in the virtual lab within the grand stone cube. Technology within the cube was scattered everywhere, yet fashionably organized. But out here in the wild, I didn't see direct screens or wires anywhere. People were laughing and tumbling down mud slides, diving into water, and living somewhat like children. No forks or plates, no trash cans, very few private structures. Privacy was seen as an invasion of social health. Most every resource seemed either a public project, or a calm place of spiritual prayer.
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How do these people learn? Who raises them? The “Mental Data Retention Guild”, was the closest I could find to a school or teacher. People teach each other, as a group effort. The hot topics of interest are software programming, physics simulations, nano-scale robotics within chemical reactions, and an timeline list of people and the environment. Some of the most active and wise educators, were elderly people who could barely move in the physical world, but were very active in the virtual lab. I asked where the real-world hands-on education and experiments were, and I was told it was a blend of physics simulations and robots out in the far reaches of the world. Some robots in the ocean, some out in space, some in lava tubes, and many places. Their term “hands on” was a bit of a stretch at times. One citizen said to me, “Once you're a citizen, you can help monitor public health, animal health, the world statistics timeline, and ongoing updates to our endless cycle of experiments.” It was all a bit over my head.
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I asked, “Where is your industry, your factories, your landfills?” They laughed, saying “Much of what we do is organic, even our 3D printed machines can be dissolved in chemicals. Chemicals are good and healthy, when you respect them. We can grow structures of vines, or print structures of plastic, but the plastic takes more energy to isolate and recycle into storage cubes. We have machines, more than we care to think about, but we build them to dismantle them into other projects. A grand mile-long machine of cogs and circuit boards, takes very little effort to 3D print and dismantle in one day. Some of our machines are inflatable, some are held together by vines which last just an hour. Empty or enclosed buildings are a waste. Anyone can design a complex factory, but what's impressive is how fast you can turn it into something different and beautiful. Sometimes the landscape itself is a machine, you don't need to see it to know it's working. God himself does many unseen things to keep us health, because he loves us greatly. He created all the good things we can build or reuse.”
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One wonders what new marvels this inventive society will create together and refine into majestic tools. One guild thrives on the notion of streamlining the process to enter the virtual lab. They wish to simply touch the grand cube to connect into the virtual lab, but the technology required is a bit complex. A full body immersion into a virtual world takes a lot more than a mere touch.
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I asked, “How do you survive when your clothes are hand made of vines”. The reply, “Some vines are strong as steel. The animals don't usually harm us, but we have sleep darts in some overhead birds. Ticks and snakes are a slight concern, but our clothes and scent usually keep most bugs away. We have many cures, because sometimes get bit by wildlife. Many years ago, some of us wore thick plastic armor, but today we often go barefoot.”
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Playing in the physical world is vital to them, but their love of knowledge is their passion.
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If I dream of these people again, I shall log all my notes. There is much I have yet to learn. Perhaps some day my random dream will be everyday society.
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Human society is always meshing with new shifting technology. Cultures could take one of many paths, as they explore the cause and effects of the universe around them.
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End of story, for now. I'll likely add more another time.

story/jungle_cube_culture.txt · Last modified: 2017/09/21 08:21 by reb