You have no control. All you have, is the ability to do or not do, but even then, it’s not up to you.

Oscar Petrov
10 min readJan 16, 2021


Futuristic cityscape; Image from Wallpaper Flare

Imagine living in a world where you don’t have control, a world upon which you are always stuck with choosing between two options for anything and everything in life. Well, guess what? You’re kind of living in it.

What if I told you that your life would be irrelevant if it weren’t for the people around you?

Hear me out with this maybe not so theoretical theory.

You are you. As an entity in a biologically-wired world, you were innately bestowed upon a certain degree of consciousness at birth. Assuming that you aren’t special, so did everyone else around you.

Fetus rendering; Image from The Sociable

You live in a city of other people just like you, all of whom share similar traits.

Such traits include a:

  1. Scope of consciousness.
  2. Biologically-based origin and composition.
  3. Consciously (or, perhaps supra–/subconsciously) solipsistic view.

The varying distinguishers between the people in your city falls within two, primary frames of reference — personal subjectivity and sphere of influence (both of which are constantly subject to change)

  • A person’s subjectivity towards their surroundings can be reflected via one of two unique personality types: those who are either referred to as the encouragers, or those who are the disgruntled screamers.
  • One’s sphere of influence — or, magnitude of connectivity (i.e., from a quantitative standpoint) — however, varies enumerably from person-to-person, depending primarily on how many people fall within that person’s direct proximity. Characterized by their spatial relativity, people who fall under one’s sphere of influence may be denoted by the term: proximals. Proximals have the ability to both have an effect on, or be affected by, other corresponding proximals, due to the either concordant or conflicting nature of their tasks.
Sphere of Influence concept; Image from EmergingRNLeader

One day, you find yourself walking into a coffee shop. Not because you were hungry or thirsty that day — not that you, personally, even had a choice to exhibit such physiological states — but because you were informed to do so. By the Commander. The lady behind the counter then asks you what you’d like to order.

Interruption: Hey there, reader… Just thought I’d jump in and clarify that the Commander is an entity that is solely responsible for the assignment and completion of everyone’s tasks. Feeding off of information from other worlds, the Commander, in his active state, uploads information streams into everyone’s consciousness in real time, ensuring that every able person knows exactly what they ought to do, and at all times.

Whether or not your designated task was actually accepted in it’s prime form was dependent on the actions of those directly within your sphere of influence — i.e., your proximals.

Any interference of your task with that of a proximal’s would’ve incited those who are deemed anti-proximals — bellicose beings whose purposes neither align, nor are mutually exclusive, from yours — to verbally express their conflict and disdain in the form of screaming. This, correspondingly, would have had a negative psychological effect on the completion of your task — almost in an inhibitory-like way — as one might expect.

On the other hand, the concordance of your task and that of a proximal’s would have incited such pro-proximals to encourage you to carry out and execute your task, thus boosting its actionability — which, conversely to the inhibitory-like anti-proximals, may be deemed as excitatory.

To clear up any misconceptions: ‘Purpose proximal concordance’ may be defined as an event regarding two or more proximals, in which the execution of both proximal’s tasks either acts harmoniously and indispensably, or non-negatively, with that of the other’s task — these are, to remind you yet again, tasks which have been carefully and intentionally crafted by none other than the Commander.

What determined the overall execution of your task was governed by a concept known as the threshold of actionability. The threshold of actionability is a quantified, universal constant that must be surpassed in order for a person to conduct an action (Crossing such a threshold is dependent on whether the concordance of the nature of your task enough outweighs the conflict of said task — i.e., more people must support you in your endeavor, than discourage).

Think of it this way: Imagine you’re sitting on a slide. Sitting right at the top, and without a little push, you’ll never reach the bottom of the slide. However, the closer you inch, the larger your angle of decline increases, and the easier it becomes for nature and gravity to take its course and push you down the slide. Backing up for a second though, and perhaps even tying in one of the most essential principles of Calculus from back in high school, the fundamentals of continuity states that for any object to start moving, it must initiate some sort of acceleration. In other words, there must be a point in time, t, when an object starts moving. Obviously, you don’t see a car instantaneously jump from rest to 60 mph… (If you do, it may be wise to consult with your local doctor regarding your response time, and potential side effects.) In this way, it is necessary to achieve a certain angle of decline (i.e., ceteris paribus) before an object is able to coast down the slide via the force of gravity which must be overcoming the resistive, sliding friction.

Tying in the aforementioned regarding pro-/anti-proximals, it can be thought that your pro-proximals are up there at the top of the slide, pushing and encouraging you to go down the slide, whereas the anti-proximals are down at the bottom taunting at you and trying to physically keep you up there at the top. What ends up happening is that, given enough encouragement and force by your proponents, you’ll eventually find yourself accelerating down the slide in an increased-activity type fashion. Similarly, the converse points out that if the anti-proximals end up overpowering the pro-proximals, you will remain at the top of the slide unmoved.

Very important note to internalize 🙂: There is, of course, a binary aspect to the aforementioned analogy, which, in the field of neuroscience, is more commonly referred to as the “all or none” principle.

Those who are temporarily, or permanently even, assigned the role of the peripatetic messenger will find themselves traveling to and fro the various parts of the city. As one might reasonably expect, messages don’t always end up reaching their intended destination. This consequence stems simply due to the inherently complex nature of the city’s structural make-up (i.e., its roads, and traffic lights, and complications), its inhabitants — who aren’t always eager to support their neighboring proximals — and other external influences.

Hyper-myelipods — personal, hyper-speed carrier systems designed to transport individuals to their destination as quickly as possible — tackle these issues pretty substantively by facilitating such propagation of information through the minimization of anti-proximal conflict. Unfortunately, however, not everyone has access to these devices, mainly because such devices are costly. For this reason, hyper-myelipods are typically reserved for those needing to travel exceptionally long distances.

Futuristic Pod Taxis; Image from The Digital Store Australia

Now it is important to note that all of the aforementioned axioms hold true with the assumption that everything goes as plan. But as Murphy’s law states (“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”), that’s almost never the case.

Some ways that people can fail to achieve the Commander’s desired output stem from the following generalizations:

  • People may develop mechanically deficiencies (worsening of throughput of tasks over extended periods of time) as a result of emotional and physiological wear.
  • Electric abnormalities may strike in certain regions throughout the city to cause widespread problems, such as: the prevention of upload of information; confusion and disorder among inhabitants and sectors; and/or the mixing up of crucial tasks. Also, the ‘butterfly effect’ may potentially cause what appear to be seemingly small effects to snowball into catastrophe.
  • Just as old age wears out all other biological processes, malfunctions may occur all the way up until the point when these beings can no longer effectively accept streams of information. These beings, no longer alive and functioning, are soon disconnected from nearby proximals, however, they do not always get disposed of.

It is also quite important to note that the Commander, on regular occasion, enjoys fancying a vacation after an arduous day’s work; This results in a momentous period of time in which many parts of the city go dark.

City at night with some locations lit up; Image from GreenBiz

Making matters even more interesting, some folks find themselves eager to make the best of the Commander’s absence and thus relieve themselves by throwing parties and engaging themselves in wildly unconventional activities — surreal activities, more often than not 😉.

It is by mere luck to the city’s inhabitants that the Commander conjures up little to no recollection or acknowledgement of any of these events, even after returning from vacation.

Hey! Back to the coffee shop, bud. Are you even paying attention? You ordered a Cappuccino and a Chocolate Croissant…

While you engage in conscious, existential thought, which in of itself points out the very essence of your own existence, you find yourself struggling to see past the city walls. Walls which both physically and mentally imprison you into a world upon which there appears no clear sense of individuality and importance.

Innocently, but blissfully, you pick up both the swirling cappuccino and molten chocolate croissant — upon which is squarely and neatly sprinkled, confectioner’s sugar — that you clearly forgot you’d ordered. Seating yourself at a table in the corner of the room, you pull out and open up the laptop that you didn’t realize you’d charged the night before. As the warm, earthy aroma of cacao powder fills the room, you take a large bite into a chocolate delicacy of the perfect consistency and softness.

Cappuccino and Croissant; Image from Pinterest

Looking out the undersized windows of the cafe interior, you see a herd of individuals glued to their devices, a mob of lifeless organisms. Living creatures, you think to yourself, but mustn’t autonomy, to some extent, be a characteristic of all living beings? Not long after, a sound reverts your attention back to normal —


Traversing across tabs on Chrome, you finally reach your ‘Gmail’ tab, upon which you see an unread message in your inbox — the one you were waiting for. You take a couple sips from the perfectly (almost surreally) foamy cappuccino, and then finally open the message.

It reads:

*Make sure to pick up the clothes from the dry-cleaning on your way back home.*

Yours truly,

The Commander

One day passes for you; And then another… timelessly. Until all of the days become a blur and reality itself starts folding in on itself, so much so to the point where you don’t even know if you’re you.

You live a life of ease, and blissful understanding, but from an outsider it is evident that at the end of the day, all of your actions are wholly determined by the Commander, and further influenced by those which surround you.

And you think to yourself that all you can really do is accept the reality in which you live in and perceive the causality of life and its whimsical nature.

Now you may choose to deny or accept all that is within this article. But even then, who’s to say you’re even making that choice, thinking your own thoughts?

After all, you’re nothing but a mere pawn in the dented chessboard that is life.

Oh, and one last thing before I forget:

“Don’t forget the dry cleaning…”

Author’s Note:

For those that have made it this far, I really hope you enjoyed the article in its entirety. If you’re interested in learning about other cool content, don’t forget to give the article a clap or two and smash that follow button so you can catch more of my articles in the future 😉

If you have any questions, comments, disputes, or anything of the sort, do feel free to reach out to me either by email or LinkedIn.

My name is Oscar Petrov and I am a 16-year-old with leading interests in Neuroscience, Quantum Mechanics, Space Technologies, Philosophy, and the like. I’ll catch you later. 🐊



Oscar Petrov
Writer for

A curious manifestation of billions of exploding neurons. I like to think about brains + the universe. Also passionate about ethics, philosophy + human rights.