Update: A Hundred Visions and Revisions
TL;DR: I’ll be integrating Greater Mind into a new writing project of a different flavor, tentatively called Hypersigil. In the meantime, I’ll be posting a few miscellaneous Greater Mind chapters that I didn’t weave into the story yet. Here is the first one: Byron in New York.
A few days ago I reflected on what I wanted out of Greater Mind. It turned out that it was not to become a famous author or to weave an epic tale. It was that I wanted to write a novel with narrative archetypes psychoactive enough to shape and strengthen the visions of me and my friends. Foundation and Dune played this role in my life. For instance, today I still find myself moved toward a Foundation-like plan: a collective that tends to humanity's long-term future.
I learned recently the name for a work of art with this intention: a hypersigil. The term comes from Grant Morrison, a comic-maker and chaos-magician. Hypersigils are narratives that depict the author’s desired reality so compellingly, that the author and readers are then inspired to bring about that reality. It is a prophecy written to fulfill itself.
The hypersigil I would like to craft is one that inspires me and my motley set of friends to build a physical neighborhood together, one where we can help each other raise kids while working on cool projects. The hypersigil would make this reality feel possible and exciting.
I don’t think Greater Mind is succeeding at this. It depicts an already built version of that neighborhood, Little Satori. This is a version that – for many of my friends – feels neither possible nor entirely exciting.
Why does it not feel possible? Right now, my scattered network of friends are dealing with a mix of financial straits, idiosyncratic preferences, interpersonal dramas, incompatible dreams, and individual heartbreaks make it hard to imagine something with the polish of Little Satori existing any time soon.
Why does it not feel exciting? The actual neighborhood I want would be the product of the heterogenous visions of my brilliant peeps. Little Satori is the product of only one vision: my own. And my vision has lots of flaws. These flaws are obvious to my friends.
So, I am embarking upon a new writing experiment that will be a dramatic reimagining of Greater Mind. I call it Hypersigil because it’s intended to be one. In Hypersigil, nearly all the characters are based on real-life counterparts.
The tricky task will be to straddle the line between the mundane and the marvelous. I want to depict my people both as the mammals they are and the deities they are becoming. I want to depict a plot that is saturated with both the jumbliness of the real world and the splendor of what might be possible.
Many of the plotlines and characters of Greater Mind will be remixed to fit the new writing project.
While I'm getting Hypersigil ready to share, I'll post here some of the chapters I'd written for Greater Mind that I hadn’t found room for yet. They mostly explore Byron’s character and his history with Alexei. I hope you enjoy them.
Here is the first: Byron in New York.