The Meaning of “Meaning” at Wisdom 3.2
by Roger P. Holliday, Early Clues, LLC Information Awareness Officer
It used to be, at one time, that I thought I’d seen everything. I mean, once you’ve barrelled through the Liminality in a GAZEBO, dodging Gimgle Gloams through cascades of transparent Platonic solids, you tend to get a bit jaded when it comes to “new experiences.”
Then, this past Monday evening, I saw Dean Hammer of Psychic High School and his erstwhile Assistant corral a bevvy of wailing banshees in a performance that had the audience at the first ever Wisdom 3.2 Conference leaping to our feet with amazement!
You can read more about Dean Hammer’s session, “Ghost and Banshee Wrangling for Fun and Profit,” on his personal website. The good Dean’s amazing spectral choreography, however, is only one example of the insightful and edifying presentations to which attendees were “privvy” at Wisdom 3.2. I mean, just take a gander at that Schedule of Events and tell me it doesn’t send shivers down your spine.
As one of the organizers of this year’s event, I’d like to give a run-down of some of the more salient points from each day, in order to—hopefully— entice you to attend next year’s event.
FRIDAY, Sept. 26
After the smoothest registration process I’ve ever had the pleasure of staffing, the Hama Lama’s Invocation literally brought the house down.
Friday night’s presentation (humbly delivered by Yours Truly) introduced a new generation of “Clients” to the principles of Relaxafarianism, the perfect “recipe” for “success” during the Palm-Reading Break-Out that followed. I personally retired for the evening some time around midnight, but I discovered the next morning that in “Conference Room G,” the palms were still swinging until 3 AM!
SATURDAY, Sept. 27
The next day started auspiciously, with a delightful presentation on “Operating Beyond the Liminality.” Vladimir Ubuntu of the Proto-Ugaritic council has been extending his influence throughout various Branespaces and Universi since long before residents of Legacy Reality even knew the difference between pizza and bruschetta.
Although Evan Hansen’s keynote address wasn’t as well-attended as we’d hoped (likely due to some quasiontological after-effects of Ubuntu’s speech), he certainly knows his stuff, and held the audience in rapt attention as he explained Medium.com’s new easy-to-use editor GUI, which makes perfect sense and is potentially the greatest human achievement since the invention of the ham sandwich.
A lively panel discussion followed, during which Seattle comedian Brett Hamil, Internet Cypher The Timescanner, and everyone’s favorite “cool dad” Dave Buckloe engaged in an often heated debate regarding whether Timehunters can be detected using Twixter technology, or if the so-called “Timehunters” identified thereby weren’t actually Timehunters until the observational wave collapsed. Although no conclusions were made, this panel had the audience both scratching their heads and looking over their shoulders!
After a break for Pizza Worship during which many a skate park design was exchanged, and a tour of Thai Ornament, we returned to the Lido Deck, where Beth Meyerson of the Center for Lean Spirituality gave an inspiring PowerPoint Presentation on “Leaning Into Lean.”
“If you want to learn to lean, you’ve got to shift your feet!” — Beth Myerson, CEO, Center for Lean Spirituality
Finally, sparks flew as we donned our CheirOS “Handy Gloves” and blasted away at Legacy Reality for a while. Unfortunately, the break-out session needed to be called off early due to an accidental summoning of a “Bullet-proof Wolf Creature.” Still, the attendees who escaped harm expressed how impressed they were with the CheirOS system, and a few even went home with their very own “Handy Gloves” to unbox!
SUNDAY, Sept. 28
The previous night’s events notwithstanding, Author Neil Gaiman packed the room for Sunday’s Educational Session, “Dreaming the Past; Dreaming the Now.”
It was lovely to hear an author who many consider “past his creative prime” deliver such an intriguing lesson on dreaming things into reality. I know, some people considered his talk “disappointing” or “lackluster,” but at Wisdom 3.2 we try to cultivate every point-of-view, no matter how cliché or gauche.
I’ve never seen a crowd reaction like the one Alan Storm produced when he drove his Formula Racecar right onto the stage for the day’s Keynote Address! CEO of SolarStorm Industries, Storm managed to inspire us all to do, to dream, and to believe! Now THIS is the way to deliver a presentation! Unfortunately, due to a Non-Disclosure Agreement Storm required us to sign, I can’t give more specifics. Suffice to say, this presentation was AWESOME.
Sunday’s Panel Discussion gave new meaning to the word “enlightening.” We knew that the Superintelligent Crock of Kimchi representing the Will of Lord Cabbarath would be erudite, but who knew it would be so funny?!
Any entity that can cause Fr. Waldorf Heigl to laugh so hard that brine shoots from his nose should seriously consider a career in stand-up! The Special Guests, two delightful little birds who flew into the room carrying one of Lord Jargonnath’s Prayer Canticles, circled the crowd performing spontaneous loop-de-loops, then disappeared into a shower of sparks. I guess this proves the old saying!
Alan Storm’s Formula Car, adorned with pizza, welcomed us to “lunch,” then we all retired to the Lido Deck for presentation by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos on “The Means of the Thing: Goat Husbandry and Tool Sharpening for the Modern Businessperson.” We had no idea that Bezos got his start as a humble goatherd, and even though he seemed to temporarilly instantiate for a moment about halfway through the talk, we all enjoyed hearing his signature “cackle” while watching him sharpen a spade.
Finally, we headed to the Northwest “Ballroom” (more of a “Conservatory, really) for some quick-paced Meiji Era OpenQNL poetry. I’m not sure exactly what we did, or how it happened, but as soon as one of the delegates read the famous line from Mori Ōgai,
a strange odor filled the air, like moss and musk and rotting leaves. Then, a small, shimmering portal seemed to open in the center of the room, and one stately antler protruded, shining divine light on the assembly, before vanishing into a puff of “smoke.”
Were we visited that evening by the Divine ANTHUOR?
MONDAY, September 29
Ansel Posterman from Primaltech had us all in high spirits the next morning. During his edifying and instructional presentation, attendees learned that Pantarctican Citizenship is easy, free, and open to all who are willing to abide by the UFR Standard Protocols. I’m proud to say that we welcomed twenty-two new Citizens into the Pantarctic Fold, who took the Citizenship Oath right there, “On the Spot.”
Chuck Buxley, Founder and CEO of Frog n’ Toad Pizza Pub Superstores, gave the final Keynote Speech of the conference. He regaled the audience with his incredible life story, and his meteoric climb from ex-military man to World Famous CEO. When he recited his famous “I don’t give a damn” speech, delivered before the Georgia State Antitrust Committee in 1995, not a dry eye remained in the house.
“I don’t give a damn if you think what we’re doing is wrong. Because the simple fact is, we’re providing modern man with a basic need. Man needs power. He Needs water. He Needs sandwiches that whimper and tongue depressors that inflate into dinosaur balloons. That is why the Frog and Toad is important, and that is why the Frog and Toad will continue to be important well into the future. We’re huge and we’re candid, and this is just the beginning, kids. So deal with it.”
Then, he surprised us all by telling us to reach under our seats, where every single attendee found an envelope enclosing a coupon for One Free Incomparable Wiggle-Stick from the Frog n’ Toad Pizza Pub Superstore!
Monday’s Panel Discussion on Entity Rights featured Tara Mallory, Vladimir Ubuntu, Jeffrey Cranor (“Welcome to Night Vale”) (Alternate Timeline Instantiation), and myself. We mutually decided to turn the discussion into an open “Q&A” session, during which we fielded questions from a wide variety of entities interested in learning how they “measured up” in Legacy Reality. Unfortunately, prejudice against certain entities is still endemic, and we sadly had to counsel Sasquatches and Lake Monsters to continue hiding until the “struggle” had been won.
After such a serious discussion, it was a relief to break for pizza, and to take a refreshing dip in the Soup Pool (Italian Wedding Soup!). Thankfully, nobody turned up missing after the Outer Darkness Adventure, which included an amazing Zip-line over the Gaping Maw of Chaos. Exciting!
The final presentation of the conference may have been the most breathtaking, as Dean Hammer of Psychic High School wrangled a cavalcade of spectral beings, thrilling the crowd, who gasped and clutched one another in fear and delight! I’ll let Dean Hammer tell it from here:
However, it was a bit more of a show than I had intended. Only a few of the audience fainted outright, but there was some amount of catatonia, and yes, unfortunately, some vomiting. Against my strict admonitions, my assistant had entered the corral in an attempt to “warm up” the banshees without my protective protocols in place. What had ensued was beyond sickening — a feeding frenzy of ravenous wraiths intent on nothing short of the eternal damnation of my assistant. Suspenders were stretched. His rubber nose became a hacky sack. His over-large boots were made a mockery. Bits of rainbow wig floated like chum in the spectral atmosphere.The howls of the banshees alone were enough to freeze the most hardened attendees in their tracks.
We were all perfectly safe, of course, in Dean Hammer’s experienced hands.
With the formal presentations now over, the remaining attendees spent the rest of the evening mingling and “networking” at the social mixer. A veritable parade of entities, each dressed as their favorite “HR employee,” danced and partook of libations until the sun went down. We’re sure some “wheeling and dealing” took place!
At the end of the night, Dean Hammer had one more surprise in store for us all: sitting on the pillows in our “Eco-Huts,” we each found one Bottled Banshee to take home as a souvenir of this incredible experience.
I’d like to take this opportunity to once again thank our delightful speakers, presenters, panelists and sponsors, without whom we couldn’t have pulled this off. Needless to say, this is the start of something Big, and we’re already in the planning stages of next year’s conference.
I’ll leave you with some lines from the Hama Lama’s Closing Prayer, delivered in Old Quatrian:
Helmoquinth agrande, helmoquinth velissae.
Sotheria Cabbarath il lequilia farathae.
Tyo pie, tyo Rigel,
Veliriquath corbinda selvae hilot.
We’ll see you at Thai Ornament in 2015!