Primality and Power

Last year’s essay factored the date, an esotericism I declined to elaborate. 2017 is prime.

A number is either prime or it is not; 2017 is. Can a year be prime? Can a cat be treble?

A year can be prime in the way that a year can be a fire rooster.

2017 is.

Nearly, was.


That is.

Bitcoin and the Rise of Worse is Better

Primes are surprising.

In some key sense, non-prime numbers do not exist. We say 16 when really we mean 2 × 2 × 2 × 2. This is a convenience. 2017 we cannot decompose in this fashion.

Mathematicians delight in this quality. As of 2017, Anno Domini, primes have come to prime time.

Crypt- is to conceal, or hide. It is the part of the church where they keep the relics.

Primacy and Power

I was once headbutted by Wesley Willis.

This was in a record store in Chicago, near the Berwyn stop.

Wesley Willis, peace be upon him, was a schizophrenic Black man. Through some alchemy I am not privy to, being a bit young for this sort of thing, he was selected and celebrated by the Punk community. I first encountered his music in Austin, Texas; “Rock over London! Rock on, Chicago!”.

He was sitting on a milk crate, next to the cash register, selling CDs of his music. This was just after the fall of Napster, and the Twin Towers, and I was at the record store out of some hind-brain instinct. It was on the way home, and I was looking for music for fucking, or tripping. I haven’t a clue what I found.

I do remember the timbre of his voice. He stood up, and leaned into me. “SAY RUT” he said.

“Uh, rut” I replied




It was fairly gentle as headbutts go. He struck me as kind, and bored, and lost. It was a confusing time.

What am I to make of the Willis Tower?


I was seven years old, when first I stood on the tallest tower of Earth.

My Guru had come to Chicago, and my family went there for darshan. I was a part of a dance number to welcome her, to the tune of Chicago, dressed as a firefighter. I remember the lyric:

“You’ve caused more


than O’Leary’s Cow! than O’Leary’s Cow!


is really on fire


yeah “

At which point I doffed my fireman’s cap.

While we were there we visited the Sears Tower, at that time the tallest building in the world.

I was seven and on top of the world, astride a great shard of steel and glass.

11 September

It was a gray day by the lake, which found me in Linear Algebra class, warming up the ol’ brainpan. Drinking black tea.

My professor came in the door and he looked Old. Older than professors normally look, I mean. Haggard. Wan.

He told us of airplanes and buildings, and mentioned also the Pentagon.

As I live and breathe, dear Reader, I started awake

and asked

with great consternation,

“Did they blow up the innermost ring?

I felt all eyes upon me, and stuttered out some attempt to explain why this felt important.

No answer was given. (They did not).

Class was dismissed. Rumours flew. Prominent among them: ten airplanes remained in the air.

I returned to the Seville, a nine-story tower of its own, where I lived, and did my worship and exercises. Climbing to the peak, I gazed South, trying vainly to see if Sears still stood.

When I returned to the third floor she was there, safe and sound.

A Medium of Exchange

The Sears, Roebuck and Company invented the point and click.

It seems the English were specially loved by God. To be granted an entire continent to despoil and plunder is the greatest of gifts.

When I was a child, Prodigy was the gateway drug. Before Internet stomped all over everything there was a halcyon age of private networks, one of them operated by none other than Sears, Roebuck and Company.

The Sears Tower was built by making. Sears took the primeval forests of North America, lovingly curated by its natives, and rendered them unto paper. This paper they printed with every wish a growing boy or girl could have. Indoor plumbing! Weathervanes! Toffee!

They also built a network and were unceremoniously ground to dust by Amazon in a few short years.

Internet SMASH

And so the Willis Tower, so they say.

Y’know, “they”.

At some point I don’t care to look up, a corporation purchased the right to rename the Sears tower. After Wesley Willis.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Through a glass, darkly

When in London this year I chanced upon the shew stone owned once by a doctor John Dee. This piece of obsidian was used to summon spirits. I gazed upon it until my own reflection joined, and moved on.

Nor was this my first encounter with such shewing, though it was the first with this stone. The primal is always a dance with the first. The first alone may multiply the prime, and only to its identity.

I had reached London for the Internet of Agreements, and an encounter with an old friend, and teacher of the magic arts, Vinay Gupta.

John Dee was the court astrologer of the virgin Queen Elizabeth, first of her name. His name is laughable; if John Dee is a name then a Teletubbie is a bloke. His number was 007.

John Dee is credited with various and sundry philosophickal and magickal acts, of no great importance to our tale. John Dee also invented the corporation.

Say the word slowly. Savor its taste.


Breathe in.

Breathe out.

The corporation exists as the dust devil exists. Sixteen is just four 2s standing on each others shoulders, wearing a trenchcoat.

Once we have captured a prime, we may multiply by it. These subsidiary impressions form the substance of our fabric. Each offspring resembles the former in one or more ways. None is prime nor can be.


This is the future Martians want.

As the train pulls into Union Station, I look up at

neé Sears Tower

now Wesley Willis


and I wonder

when Adam named the beasts, did he name this one?

I have not met Balaji Shrinavasan. I expect I shall. We are both, after all, Galactic Senators of the Urbit. For a brief, shining moment of 2017, it seemed plausible that he would head the FDA, which Administers Food and Drugs.

I do not know his number, for the early Tlon investors have chosen to veil themselves in the repo. Mine own is twelve. Let us trace back that trail.

My father was a scholar of science fiction, my mother is a lover of cats. There was Quasimodo, with the kinked tail, and Lady Alia of the Knife, and there was Sam. Mahasamatman, the korat, binder of demons.

My father smoked, then, and he would throw the matches into the trash. If he didn’t hit, Sam would fetch it back.

Great cat. Blue. Fuzzy. Dad ran him over backing out of the driveway.

I was raised Hinju, which is a peculiar religion indeed. It is not prime, precisely because Hinduism and Judaism are its factors. As Judaism descends from the mother, I am of it. When my father met his Guru, Baba Muktananada, my mother asked a Rabbi if practicing yoga was kosher. It is, at least, that’s how I heard it.

Being as I’m named from a character in a science fiction novel, naturally, I devoured the works of Roger Zelazny. This is how naming works; if you name your child Batman, they will wear the cape.

One of his minor heroes is named Konstantin. When I was knighted, I took that name, with another known only to the seitch.

Many years later, I was to be granted a Czardom, by the enigmatic scholar Mencius Moldbug. They were named for the Emperors of old, the galaxies, in those days.

Yes I’ve done a lot of roleplaying stop looking at me like that

Emperor Norton was taken by some Australian fellow, so I picked Constantine, for the consonance. And here we all are.

Mencius gave me a seat at his table, and very well. A Trezor keeps secrets. That’s its job. That’s all it wants to do. Given a large number, what are the factors, who knows? The Trezor knows. That’s its job.

This is an admirable simplicity of purpose.

I trust Balaji because of this

and because of this

This guy knows what’s up. If I can’t trust him I’ve got much deeper problems, y’know?


Each new prime must be thought of as a new dimension. Multiply the first.

A prime is blessed to conceal. It must be factored with on its own terms.

The Bitcoin calculation, at its essence is two things: this primacy, and privacy, and entropy. To have is to hodl. To move is heat.

Keep it secret.

Keep it safe.

The actual situation is dire.

We have built a dragon of silicon and steel.

Hear me.

The actual wattage of watt ever is ear elephant. The potential of the Three Gorges is redirected, briefly, to the nine billion names of Zero. Watt of it?

This fire, too, is a season.

When the dust settles we shall know who owns what and which is just pretending.

What in Sumer we scratched in clay. Transubstantiation of the ledger.


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