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[2020-09-08 Tue 15:26]

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it explicitly but David Graeber died several days ago, and it has caused many people around me to start reading his work. Of Flying Cars was one of the more popular pieces this past week, which is why I’d re-read it.

It’s criticism of modern technology as one of simulation has been hard to ruminate on, as I also am working on a bit of code that I am literally calling “SiMUD,” sort for “simulated multi-user dimension.”

But, unlike doctors and physicists, I don’t have any particular intention for my simulation to be of use to anyone but me. In fact, the whole reason I’m doing it is because I wanted to make software that was for and by me, and prioritized my way of wanting to look at things.

The goal is to provide myself with a tool for doing a few things.

One goal is that I want to have a way to maintain records about stuff that is important to me, in a way that preserves what is important. This might sound easy enough, but it’s really forced the question about what is important to me.

Another goal is to provide myself with a tool for communicating with other people in a way that works for me. I’d love to use my MUD as my main online communication tool, having it hooked up to other platforms like ActivityPub.

Another goal is to provide myself with a way of manipulating complex concepts in a way that makes them accessible to me. For example, as I am teaching myself about botany, I recently made up some code that simulates photoperiodism, a plant physiology. It helped me internalize the concepts at play and how they intersect.

These three goals are all big, and they don’t even capture the full extent of what I would prefer to do with qtMUD. But, going back to Graeber’s thoughts, does it really matter? This is just simulation tech: rather than moving zeros and ones that represent some poor fascimile of a bean, I “should” be living in a future of such abundance that I could just go stake out a garden if I wanted, perhaps on a extraterran colony.

Which brings me to a fourth goal, one that is ultimately the reason I dusted off the MUD this summer, as my community denies the reality of a pandemic: escape.

I want a place I can escape to, where the realities of colonization and the kyriarchism are heavily mitigated by layers of virtualization and interface, and where most of that virtualization and interface that I’m exposed to are of my own creation.

Right now, that’s my main priority: making a place online where I can comfortably just, be. As a consequence, I hope to move toward those other three goals.

And, as I’ve been gaining some attention from posting about qtMUD, I’ll consider adding a fifth goal of providing a software that’s useful for other people, but I see that as an quality that emerges from me designing toward those first four goals.