Asbestos Head Chapter 9 - Free Will Junkies

Machine Head 
-Free Will Junkies-

Machine Head is Cyborg.

Cyborg are collective and simultaneously subjective beings identical to humans in every way except for their brains, which are in constant data transfer with both one another and a computer-generated Mother Brain.  Through silicon technology and forced genetic mutation, all cyborg have comprehensive sense transceivers allowing any member of the collective to fully experience the epistemological, visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory sensations of any other.  All information is instantaneously sent to each other and the Mother Brain - an outside server that stores their every experience, even after the death of their bodies. 

This eliminates the human concern for understanding and self-preservation because the entirety of their experience is remembered, maintained, and accessible to all cyborg at any time.  As a result most cyborg live alone and haven’t the slightest desire to procreate.  Survival, love, and understanding are all secondary to what they describe as the intensification and appreciation of the Now.  They are inherently emotionless and opinionless by human standards because of their complete disidentification with self and thought.  Feeling and bias are only expressed in the interest of aesthetics as they consider these things to be high-art happening in real-time.  Overall their behavior closely parallels humans except for a couple quirks like these and that cyborg are all artists of one kind or another; Machine Head is lead singer in a hard-core heavy-metal band.  Tonight's show is already underway as Asbestos enters the building.

At first every song sounds the same and hurts Asbestos' ears until he grows accustomed, then he begins to hear the subtleties of Machine's heavy-metal music.  The melody changes before it's established, the tempo shifts without warning, and there seem to be no verses, bridges, or choruses, just a constant increasing and diminishing of intensity.  A psychedelic trance-like keyboard variation plays over a building drum and bass line.  Machine Head creaks a foreboding whisper into a deep growl as distorted guitars explode behind his voice, projecting the most powerful culmination of artistic aggression, crunching coarse dissonance and utter incoherence that somehow stays together through lightning speed leads and subsonic stomp riffs that are not so much played as pulsed into the pit, mashing the mosher's heads banging.  Asbestos cannot understand the words Machine is screaming, but the sounds he's achieving, from throaty growls to spine-numbing screeches, are clearly uncharted and strangely beautiful vocal territory. 

As he leaves the stage, Machine Head yells these last words like a secret message to hard-core fans.  "Between the buried and me, as I lay dying on broken wings in this cradle of filth, I see a dark day dawning from a second story window.  It's blood for most precious blood and blood has been shed – it’s bleeding through.  We must converge, unearth biohazards and napalm death, rage against the machine in this system of a down, run dillingers escape plan out the fear factory and leave it in flames, like taking candiria from a baby.  Goodnight."


Asbestos sneaks backstage and meets Machine Head in the doorway to his dressing room. 

Those sounds were inhuman.”

Machine smiles.  You’re right, those sounds were cyborg.  I can scream too low for a pigeon to hear and too high for a bat.  I can taste any food I want without having to eat it, I can read you every book ever written word for word, sing every song, speak every language, close my eyes and view any film, visit any place any cyborg’s ever gone and live the entire experience of their lives in real-time, rewind, fast-forward or slow-mo."

“Wow.  I’ve just begun hearing about cyborg.  In fact I was wondering specifically, if information is uploaded directly into your brain and not yet necessarily experienced first-hand, how do you know you know things?  How are you aware of new knowledge coming from others and the Mother Brain?”

“Memory.  The same way you know you know things.  By your definition the only thing one can know they know is whatever information they are currently accessing.  My memory is associative like yours and so usually sparked through perception, often in the form of conversation, like this.  While talking with you I may quote a book I’ve never experienced reading before, but the information is there in my memory nonetheless.”

“I see.  I’d really like to hear your opinion on a few things.”

“I’ve never had an opinion in my life.”

“That's right,  I heard about that.  Isn't that terrible?  Is it a side effect of being cyborg?”

“No, and it’s not terrible at all.  Your negative opinion of having no opinions proves why.  You have never experienced pure opinionlessness so your opinion of it is based on ignorance.  And so are most opinions merely a lack of information or appreciation.  In my world of constant information, if I were to constantly weigh the pros and cons of this and that I’d find myself changing opinions before they formed.”

“But it’s natural to lean at least a little toward one side of any dichotomy.”

“Do as you please, but I prefer a straight walk down the middle. Opinions like blankets people drape over all given instances of controversial issues.  But, reality is less cut and dry than opinionland with unseen variables, contradictory emotions, and other factors rendering impossible the validity of any opinion blanket.  Human children are cradled in them early on and grow so sentimental, they’ll never throw them away no matter how old, worn, or smelly.  They claim the blankets are comfortable or remind them of home, but underneath them all are freezing cold naked bodies scared to give up their easy way to stay warm and unaffected.”

“You have a pretty solid opinion on having no opinions for someone who’s opinionless.”

“Anything I say is bias because I’ve chosen to say it, but it’s not an opinion because I’ll take it all back and reassess what I express if given just cause.  By opinions, I mean generalized conclusions that don’t budge and allow no exceptions.

All lies arise from opinions.  Cyborg have no reason to lie because We can read each others’ minds, but humans find many reasons to bend the truth in their favor.  All lies avoid larger disagreements.  All large disagreements occur between overly opinionated people unacceptant of others’ actions and ideas.  One party presents their opinion, creating a mental barricade, built to keep identity in and adversity out.  Then the second party must either tactfully break down the barricade or lie around it.  Most humans choose the latter because they’re lazy cowards that care more about surface harmony and superficial comfort than Truth. 

It happens all the time in human relationships.  Perhaps a parent holds strong opinions about gays, drugs, or religion and fate delivers them an agnostic, homosexual, drug-user.  Convinced of their own opinions, they revert to pre-determined conclusions and alienate their child instead of opening mutually beneficial discussions on such controversial topics.  This teaches the child two things - not to bother with their parents for advice or support anymore, and to develop and defend their own positions in opinionland.  From there on in the stage has been set and the message has been sent that We disagree, so to save time and spare emotions, the child lies and begins their teenage rebellion against parental opinion.

Don't be a slave to opinion, just play librarian with ideas.  Be both completely honest and acceptant, non-reactive, even in thought, of others’ opinions. Listen objectively first, free of judgment, then if you disagree, state your reasons, listen to the reply and repeat until agreement or compromise.  If you don’t know, say so.  If you have mixed emotions, explain them the best you can. You’ll create an aura of wisdom about yourself and no one will ever feel a reason to lie to you.

Once you make the decision to say exactly what you think without exception, it’s contagious anyway.  You’ll find little inconsistencies you’ve casually lied around for years.  You’ll see tendencies in types of people you’d rather just lie to avoid.  You’ll discover societal norms you’ve unconsciously lied to uphold. All conversations become exciting experiments in personal discovery, like the extrospection section of self-reflection.”


Machine offers Asbestos a seat and continues their conversation.  Opinions are present in all habits and rituals as well.  Humans must beware their own prejudices in people, activities, and ideas because they limit one’s worldview into a kind of self-determinism.  If left to his own devices, man cannot truly escape the habits, preferences, and cursed subjectivity of his own mind.  He will create a world around himself that almost perfectly coincides with his conscious actions and expectations to the point it becomes meaningless to get what he wants.   Humans aren’t creatures of habit.  They’re creatures of change addicted to habit.

Cyborg, on the other hand, are free-will junkies and always do the thing We’ve never done before.  And We never judge anything except in the occasional interest of humor.  For humans, judgments affect the accuracy of memory by clouding the actual sensory experience with mental clutter, often yielding exaggerated, false recollections.  Look at it this way.  There’s a reason people don’t take their cameras to work, but can’t resist bringing them on vacation.  Actually, there are a couple reasons.  They want to forget work and remember vacations.  And their eyes are open to beauty in Honolulu but not in the office.  I’ve lived in Honolulu and other idealized paradises and can safely say - you’ll only find what you’re looking for, and everyone stops looking for what’s in front of them once it’s been there long enough.  Ocean sunsets through the glass bottom of your beer bottle become as routine as breathing, and their beauty easily forgotten.  The reality of any fantasy lifestyle doesn’t end the longing, just leads to the same old you with new more petty wants. 

I possess human rationale and have equal ability to sort through data and infer judgments, but I don’t experience life alongside a constant internal voice like you do.  I see so many walking around with eyes rolled back in their heads, unable to control their concentration, unable to experience pure awareness.  I feel bad for humans.  They miss out on so much beauty in life because they never stop thinking.  Without the ability to forget the monotony of perception, only extraordinary, original moments seem beautiful or interesting.  Humans have to travel the world for original perceptions, I only have to shut off my memory or access another cyborg’s experience.

But human habituation is easy to counter-act, just always opt for the most freedom within your circumstances.  Go to a new restaurant, or sit somewhere new at the old restaurant, or eat something different at the same table, whatever it takes to ensure your life maintains constant change in the name of spontaneity.  Whatever it takes so your life doesn’t revolve and cycle circles around schedules and predicted events.  Living with intentionality towards originality and creating truly different moments becomes more interesting than habits are comfortable.”


Asbestos crosses his arms across his crossed legs and rests his chin on his knees.  So no opinions then.  What about favorites?  Do you have a favorite philosopher, poet, artist, musician?”

“Whoever is writing, painting, or composing right now.  We are all products of a constantly evolving creative impulse and for me the most interesting and beautiful creations are the most current because they express the present time We exist in and the present manner of thought which We can best identify with.  They have cyborgs in think tanks right now writing original philosophy based on all recorded thought to date.  Others composing music so intricate it contains layered polyphonics, too complex for humans to hear.  It is innovative and insightful, but the process is still causal and mechanical.  All supposedly creative thought is still just the natural progression of mental complexity.  Even Shakespeare and Mozart are stepping stones.”

“Are there any disadvantages to being cyborg?  What else could you want?”

“Plenty.  I’ve never had a private experience in my life.  I live knowing from birth until long after my death, moments of my life will be accessed and lived by many others.  Since each cyborg’s entire perceptual experience is available to any other at any time, it’s like a showcase of experiential possibilities.  Mother Brain indexes and keeps a counter so We know the most re-lived highlights of Our lives.  You know, of all the incredible moments I’ve had, sex with the prom queen is my most re-lived.”

“Can you re-live your own moments?”


“How many times have you re-lived the prom queen?”

“That’s beside the point.  The point is my most intimate moments are on display for all forever and I’m guilty too.  When I meet another cyborg, I immediately rewind their life and check it out.    Some good experiences are great because they can be re-lived, but some experiences and relationships are ruined because of it.  All cyborg know when I’m taking a shit or jerking it.  They know I’ve got a small dick, finish quick, and used to get the shit kicked out of me.  They know all my most embarrassing and incriminating moments.  They know every evil I've ever thought and every sin I've ever committed.  And all this collective comfort I'm supposed to derive from cyborg's complete understanding is far out-weighed by a desire for the true subjectivity of human experience.  So what do I want?  The opposite of you.  I want to be alone and misunderstood.

The cyborg community has mostly dispersed; I’ve distanced myself and mostly spend my time alone or with humans Now.  I don't know what you're thinking right Now.  That's completely interesting for me.  Every question you ask or statement you humans make, is inherently more interesting to me.  I know what all cyborgs are thinking at all times.  When We're together, most conversation is telepathic.  Language is only used as an occasional emphasis, like an exclamation point on the things We're thinking. To be in the presence of people I can so closely identify with but never fully understand - I feel there's more meaning in those kind of relationships.  It seems paradoxical, but many cyborg Authors have written about it."

Asbestos stands and places a hand on Machine’s shoulder.  I’ve enjoyed Our meeting, the wisdom you’ve expressed, and though I must go, I’d appreciate an interesting favor from someone of your near infinite abilities.”

"What is it?"

“I need a worthy Kaishakunin.”


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