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A Scriptorium Reborn

Updated on December 29, 2009

Revival of an ancient craft

“Say Eclisias, how come nobody has told me? As much as I dislike the thought, I’d like to hop on board or the joke will be on me soon enough.”

“There’s no joke, Maestro. It’s all around us even as we speak. You cannot tell who is scripted and who is not.”

Originality and innovation rendered obsolete the scribes, these unassertive and undemanding hired pens from a distant past. We created the foundation for your collective conscience, writing with equal dedication about Christ and Antichrist, blood and water, love and violence, fact and fabrication, sin and virtue. With hard work and unending dedication, we brought you the tools and knowledge you needed to replace us. Once the presses started spinning, we, the monks, gave a sigh of dispair and put the caps on our ink bottles.

Mass publication brought you enlightenment and political activism. Fact and insight became a commodity. We had looked near and far for every detectable particle of truth, until Gutenberg & Co. took over and sold truth to you, the masses, in bulk.

That model worked until the whole "knowledge scene" imploded with the advent of digital media. Who needs media moguls, anyway, with so many venues available for self-expression, individualism, narcissism, and vanity publishing, even a random drop of genuine originality here and there?

The robotic age turned reality on its head once again. Inspired by the robots, which appeared composed and content, humans got awfully tired of self-expression, so that every new novel or poem almost made them puke. In a final and desperate attempt to regain their identities, people stopped expressing themselves in any meaningful way.

It had become thus that all things were essentially being executed via a single command. Some preparation, at times extensive, would go into that - and then when the moment came, preparation was turned into action in a carefully scripted event. An encounter in a store was now seen as an act, a controllable event with each person playing their respective roles. Except that now it had been scripted, the one doing the performing would need think none of it as all had been decided upon well in advance. To perfect such mechanisms, variations aplenty were built into the scripts as needed, allowing for improvisation as the situation well might require.

The downside to this, if any such word is to be used, was that you would all have come to realize that life is a play, a series of acts. The upside, of course, would be the resources given you by this ability to script, to organize, to predictably put into boxes all that your days might entail. Significant resources could be freed up as a result.

Apart from these scripts, there was a complex network consisting of additional top layers of scripts in which prior scripts were being executed in a calibrated order and pacing. Thus, demanding tasks could be scripted as well, even those spanning over longer periods and thus requiring some multitasking. Once these matters had been perfected, it was envisaged, you could all go home essentially. What needed to be done would be done because it had been scripted for your benefit and purpose.

Then you ran out of writers, because nobody wanted to express themselves any longer. Goes without saying that in such a melodrama there would be much scripting to do - thus the scriptorium became busy once again.

"My dear scribe," one has-been author wrote to us, "you have been reinstated into the Brotherhood of Man, no longer obscure and dusty. Cry not, wipe your tears away, these are the days when you shall see that you have not lived in vain. Tell your peers, even those who died before we could bring this message to you, that we have stacks of new books to be written, only this time the language and purpose will be different."


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