Here's Complexity for Us

Society's relation to depth in the twentieth century

Fifty years after the close of The Design School (TDS), a new ghost has risen to darken the celebrations of its spiritual successor, the Sadism Movement. Workmen renovating the former TDS campus have uncovered papers which appear to be those of the school's last graduate students officer, professor McTavish. The papers, currently in the hands of Interpol's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) reportedly allege the conspiracy against the people reported fifty years ago is wider than originally thought. As well as targeting upper-class students for rigorous design education, a process which made the students incapable of appreciating less complex artistic works, and more capable of understanding the extremely complex work of TDS alumni, the McTavish papers allege a second, considerably more sinister plot. The first plot was accepted by the general public when the benefits of the sadistic experiments were realised, it remains to be seen whether the second plot can be so easily accepted, this time by the "masses" who have been its victims, and not the elite who were the first plot's benefactors.

The original investigative unit charged with investigating TDS discovered and eventually made public the contents of a private library which held papers and notes indicating the first plot. On those same papers, however, were hints at a systematic dumbing down of the populace through the introduction of a "pabulum" agent, a lowest-common intellectual denominator which would result in the "masses" becoming incapable of revolt. At the time, investigators were unable to find any evidence of such a programme, apparently because investigators limited their search to TDS' campus, and history had largely forgotten the cryptic phrases as the ranting of a mad-man.

The McTavish papers reportedly expose the nature of those rantings, and more frighteningly, sources within the SIU claim that the programme appears to be ongoing, and that the conspiracy may even extend into the sacrosanct mass-media and corporate arenas, far beyond the walls of TDS. It seems from these claims that everything we understand as good and true may be dragged down by this sheaf of papers hidden beneath a floor-board in the old campus for so many years.

Understandably, the Sadists are downplaying the whole incident. Their 50th anniversary celebrations are scheduled for next month, and, though few outside the group seem to realise it, their popularity has been slipping lately. They cannot afford to be linked with a major scandal. At least, conventional wisdom would seem to dictate. We must remember, however, that Sadism had some thousand supporters only one year after the TDS incident. It could be that implication in another cover-up and attempt to control the world may attract more followers than any campaign the sadists could launch in the mass media. Sadism might very well play on being part of the "in crowd", and turn this whole sordid affair to their advantage, if they are willing to stand up and take ownership of this plot.

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This work is Copyright (c) Mike Fletcher 1997