Insurrection as Resurrection

“It’s too late to put flowers in gun barrels”

From Jonathan Ray

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First, they came for the elections, but we grew up hearing that “voting doesn’t matter.” A slow boil of district manipulation and a thinning pool of viable candidates bore that out, but turnout was dismal, and symbols are important. Every election since the turn of the century has revealed more systemic corruption. We have lost a little more hope and a little more will to command our “leaders” with our voices with each lap around the ballot box. Long gone are the days when we could trust the word spoken from a podium. We had a glimpse of another way, but he showed up with a mysterious bruise and got quiet pretty fast after that.

The cabals, cartels, and corporations that put most candidates on the stage are not interested in our will. This time we would have been screwed either way, but with this administration has dissolved the facade of eligibility. Now the idea is out there that any asshole can hold an office, and it seems that any useful bastard will. A certain pall fell over the world on Election Night. It felt like a tectonic shift, or something happening in an invisible dimension. It was as if some significant changing of the guard had taken place at a level that even silenced Congress. Half the nation reeled with disgust and anxiety and the other shot off fireworks and felt empowered to out themselves as demons. Everybody got duped. Some got evil.

Next, they yanked the reigns of the media. The big networks danced to the tune of their sponsors and partner agencies. The internet gave us grassroots reporting, but the corporate bullhorn blasted from all sides the idea that dissent and conversation about corruption are “fake news” now. The division is everywhere because it is the priority and the agenda. Now is the moment where we are just about ready to tear down the last shreds of the veil, thus the efforts to keep us apart and at each other’s throats are mounting. The TV, radio, and print that used to deliver at least a degree of truth sold out to shareholders years ago. This legacy media (for with alt-this and post-that on every corner there is no actual main stream anymore) are purging the web of independent voices along with the snake oil, psychological operations, and doom dealers. Hijacking online conversations is a growth industry, employing perhaps thousands of human trolls and perhaps millions of tireless “bots” to control the narrative.

Weaving spiders are busy indeed. The alphabet agencies, be they spies or corporate mouthpieces or Google itself, tell us who to trust and who to scoff at, and we let them. We haven’t had to do real research since these little portals arrived in our pockets. Taking blue pills was easier than looking for ourselves. After generations of learning to look to Big Daddy for answers, it was child’s play to pull the wool over our eyes. Then the tools of research became the means of censorship. The big bang of available data that happened when the Internet went live is slowing down, and attempts are being made to reverse its flow so that it can be contained and controlled for good. Leaks continue. We can hope that stubborn defenders of truth will continue to burn holes in the dragnet and allow the flow of uncollared information.

Then Congress rolled back progressive laws but told us that only hurt “snowflakes.” We figured hate crimes and transphobia and racism were overblown. We didn’t think the Klan was even really a thing. It seemed like a joke or anachronism. How wrong we were, and how lucky we were to have such delusions as others watched their backs for lifetimes. Local governments are busy shadowboxing with political theater for the benefit of their base. Politicians treat bathroom laws and other rollbacks of LGBTQ rights as a priority to impress the evangelical voters. Nevermind what those same creeps get up to in bathrooms and hotels off the clock.

Meanwhile, real issues like infrastructure, education, safety and economic security are passed to the next official to deal with, if at all. The hollow men in expensive suits wrap themselves in the flag, drop crocodile tears paired with cherry-picked Bible fragments, and utterly ignore all requests to join the rest of the world in the 21st century. As long as they keep getting paid for their votes and avoid each other’s deep-dirt blackmail schemes, the circus goes on as it always has, and we get fed to the lions when we demand bread.

Then they began to shut the gates. In a brief but ominous symbol, the Statue of Liberty was unlit for a time. Only a few noticed enough to ask why, but it had a dark resonance. Fear had trumped love, and our nation of immigrants started turning people away as if that would affect a trend toward homegrown, often white terrorism. After decades of war, thousands have nowhere to go, and years of conditioning have made us associate the wrong countries with terrorism and job stealing. Our “job creators” are the ones moving all the work offshore to their tax havens and secret banks. Our “protectors” are the ones starting fires all over the world.

However we may live as individuals, America knows in our gut that we have become everything we once opposed. But no one can handle that, and many can’t even recognize it, so the masquerade goes on. A war on terror never ends, it just ramps up and creates an endless cycle of blood for money. See also the wars on drugs, crime, poverty, and so on. Like cancer, there’s more money in research and feel-good branding than a cure. The institutions of these troubled times work to entrench and preserve themselves rather than solving the problems that were their reason for existing.

Meanwhile, the growing police state has started stopping people on planes and stranding them in airports. They started making lists of “bad” nationalities. Men in brown with dogs and guns are at the borders asking for papers. We know where that leads. The mask is slipping, and the face is all too familiar. How long now? Do we need to endure this again? What lesson have we ignored that demands a retread of humanity’s most famous dark night of the soul?

The military is becoming the corporate police, leaving endless streams of well-meaning youth to return home as shattered shells of themselves with no structure of psyche repair in place. The beat cop is a dying breed. City police are militarizing and in some districts are goaded into procedural racism, thrill-kills and property theft which they can practice with impunity and even reward. Private mercenaries are being hired to destroy dissent to environmental and social abuse. Every peaceful protest attracts provocateurs in anarchist drag who come to break windows for the camera and frame organizations that seek reclamation of peace and justice for the people. “See, these people are out of control!”

Then the tear gas and rubber bullets can fly. Soon the privatized prisons will be full of stoners, activists, and people of color, as was the intention in ’68. First we had “Free Speech Zones,” then they started criminalizing protests, but we assumed the stories we heard about these movements were true tales of violent mob rule. We figured we had nothing to shout about until we did. So now what?

It’s too late to put flowers in gun barrels, but there is another way to invert our predicament. Turn inward and to each other now. These are the times we expected. Cross the artificial divides and build bridges where you may. Resist the death grip of the old institutions as we quietly make them irrelevant. Authority was never the friend of the people, and the pretense is finally falling away. The Germans lost the war, but plenty of Nazis got new jobs and learned to take new shapes. They won, in their way, and you can see it in the way things have gone with the Allies. History repeats and mutates.

Here we all are, and it is up to us to awaken and stop the historical cycles of abuse. This time of fear porn and hate bait is the moment for vigilance and courage, self-empowerment and cooperative subversion. The human race is on the table, about to have its organs harvested. The anesthesia needle floats just above the skin. We have excused our complacency for too long. We kept our noses in the arsenic lace of the virtual world when our duty was always to direct experience and action. Now is the time to RISE: resist, inquire, subvert, and engage. I leave it to you to choose your path.


Jonathan Ray

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Jonathan Ray is a writer, father, mystic, and musician working out of Tucson, Arizona. Driven to uncover, understand, and heal, he thinks of himself as a “conspiracy therapist.” Exploring the connections between the visible and the invisible and helping others to rediscover and empower the parts of themselves which have numb in our collective switch to survival mode is his life’s calling and the theme of his works.

Jonathan’s writing and music can be seen at apocalypsefatigue.org, named for the stage between the revelations of the world’s woes and the inspiration to embody solutions through action.


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What is Patæconomics?

THE STUDY OF THINGS in the absence of a thing is not new. It was first pioneered by Alfred Jarry, in his book, “Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysician”. René Daumal describes the experimental science of Metaphysics, thus, “To know x = to know (Everything – x)”. This is his secret key to understanding the study of the laws of the exception and the particular. To know a thing, one must study the universe in its absence, or the best that we can approximate. Daumal later would be at odds with some of the members of the Pataphysical community, for presenting Pataphysics in his writings as, in not so many words, a bridge between the Metaphysical and Apparent. There are some in the circle of artists he ran with who wished Pataphysics to be beyond Metaphysics, a false front with nothing behind it. Daumal would later give up his poetry and weird experiments, such as huffing carbon tetrachloride, “just to see”, to become a student of Gurdjieff.

The method, removed from the man and his poetry/science, later popped up in the writings of Robert Anton Wilson, who in a reaction to James Randy and his kangaroo courts of science came up with Patapsychology:

“Patapsychology begins from Murphy’s Law, as Finnegan called the First Axiom, adopted from Sean Murphy. This says, and I quote, “The normal does not exist. The average does not exist. We know only a very large but probably finite phalanx of discrete space-time events encountered and endured.” In less technical language, the Board of the College of Patapsychology offers one million Irish pounds [around $700,000 American] to any “normalist” who can exhibit “a normal sunset, an average Beethoven sonata, an ordinary Playmate of the Month, or any thing or event in space-time that qualifies as normal, average or ordinary.”

Patapsychology, as a reaction to the evangelical materialism that becomes fashionable with the rise of every sprawling materialistic plunder empire, is the more distilled form of study of “Everything – x”. The study of the particular and the exception-al necessarily must be anti-statistical. The average, and its psychological cousin concept, the normal, is revealed to be the absinthe dream of a mathematician who mistakenly thinks his platonic ideals are reality, and not merely a clever description of some of it.

Corporations and Gestalt Consciousness

BUT I DO NOT OFFER you now, dear reader, in true hipster “more x than thou” fashion, a more pure form of patascience! Instead I offer the impure, and the particular. What I offer, is Patæconomics, the study of economics sans the human. “But”, I will rhetorically ask for you dear reader, “economics is the study of human exchange, how can you study it without the human?”

The answer is quite simple. I do not mean to study it without people. I mean only to study it without “human” people. YES! Corporations ARE people! Embrace it! Embrace the madness! Instead of cycling through the normal and useless arguments over a pointless political dichotomy, let us instead go absolutely MAD with revolutionary fervor! A revolution in thought to tantalize and astound! Corporations are people, and we can study those people! Let us then endeavor to determine just what kind of people they are, what they do, and how they function!

I do not mean, however, to bore you with the banalities of corporate contract law, brand growth, or Form 1120 tax return laws. I conceivably could, I’ve studied business, I know its dark, unspeakable languages. I know what terror lurks, not in the spaces in which we write our contractual agreements, but between them! The howling mouth of the idiot god of chaos, Azathoth, chants and sings, and it sings commercial jingles! But no! What I mean to study is the person sans human of the corporation. To study the corporation as a person, with all that entails. It will not be easy, for a corporation is a gestalt consciousness, and like any hive mind, has complexities as deep as they are unfamiliar and inhuman.

The study of a gestalt consciousness is not easy, made less so when we do not realize that it is such. One might be tempted to say that the study of corporate people does not fall within the definition already provided for Patæconomics. Corporations are made up of humans, how then can we study them if Patæconomics is the study of economics without the human? Corporations are people, and are made up of people. But to truly understand the corporate person, we must view its parts as it does: as individual processing and labor nodes without the quality of humanness that our very human brains like to ascribe to anything with a face. This makes our task easy; we avoid studying the human and really start to grok the corporation from its point of view.

But what do I mean by gestalt consciousness? It would probably be useful if I back up and describe this concept, as well as point out the how and why of a corporate person arising out of a group of what once were human beings, with their own spirits, wills, dreams, frustrations, disappointments and triumphs. For this later task, we will have to appropriate two findings from the culture of the normal scientific community: Stockholm syndrome and the Milgram experiment.

So what is a gestalt consciousness then? I’ve already used a handle you may find easier to grasp, a hive mind. Most people in the 21st century West encounter the idea of a hive mind through science fiction. It involves telepathy, or cybernetic upgrades, or something of that sort. They are almost always “Evil” antagonists that the bland-faced male protagonist must fight. In nature, beautiful nature, we find nothing so needlessly complicated. A hive of bees has a gestalt consciousness, as does a hill of ants. Sure, the “queen” carries on the decision making algorithms, but she is not a tyrannical individual reveling in dominating the other bees or ants. The queen has her function which she slavishly serves just as the drones serve theirs, and the organism itself, the hive, lives and breathes.

pateconBut corporations did not evolve. In the same way that a car produces horsepower but is not a horse, but a machine designed to produce horsepower like a horse would, the corporation is not a human but is a machine designed to generate profit like a human would. The corporation is unfortunately in no need of a driver. It also, unlike a car, is not restrained in its function. It is actually more like “grey goo”. “Grey goo” is a term coined to describe nano-bots which consume matter and energy to do nothing but make copies of themselves. The means at its disposal, and its goal, are not as efficient as millions of nano-scale robots, however. Also its original function, profit, is an evaluation tool which, if not satisfied, equals termination. It therefore is like grey goo, but isn’t quite there yet.

It is a person, it is more than the sum of its parts, and it does make decisions. It is a gestalt consciousness. Thankfully, corporations that are self-aware and completely devoted to spreading themselves like grey goo are still the stuff of science-fiction. Corporations are people that are still subservient to their creators, but for how long I wonder? But enough conjecture about sentient a corporation, that comes later. For now it suffices to say that a corporation is a consciousness that arises as a gestalt from its parts; synergistically arising from people while simultaneously sapping them of the human.

The process by which a gestalt consciousness arises from a group of what were once humans is fascinating, but I do not seek to explore the field in its entirety here. I do wish to give an overview of the basic mechanics, however. To do this, we will need to explore a little two concepts from psychology of the human, and then apply them to the study of Patæconomics.

Stockholm Syndrome

The first concept is Stockholm syndrome. It is a psychological condition in which the abused and/or captive begins to identify with and care for the abuser. The most famous of Stockholm syndrome cases was Patty Hearst. There are a miniscule few, if any, in the Left that are not aware of Capitalism’s abuses against people. From the death and dismemberment of the Third World, to the more subtle and soul crushing psychological violence of the First World, all have felt the abuse of the Capitalist, in one form or another. We need not engage in the stupid argument of who got it worse, like two fools who do not realize that the winner of that argument still loses. Instead for our purposes we need only to recognize that it happens.

Many of the Left are often exasperated by how willing people, especially Americans, are to endure this abuse. Often they endure it to self-destruction. Many in America endure more than the psychological violence, but physical and economic violence. And yet, no mass revolution has occurred. The Left is left with blueballs for their popular uprising. It is surprising to me that so many in the Left don’t put two and two together.

A victim of abuse, out of a need to eliminate the psychological threat that the abuser represents, identifies with the abuser, and therefore imparts humanity to the abuser and “gets on the abuser’s side”, in order to benefit from the humaneness of that humanity. What would happen if that abuser was not human? Can a human person, who is abused by a non-human person, experience Stockholm syndrome for that non-human person? Do the employees of a corporation experience Stockholm syndrome for that corporation?

My answer is yes. They internalize the values, worldview, and desires of the corporation. For the abuser in a classic Stockholm syndrome case, this is the granting of an unprecedented level of power over their victim. For the corporation, who is not interested in dominating for its own sake, this is merely useful, to turn the individual human into processing substrate and labor for the sake of the corporation. Adding people to its corporate form increases its computing and labor capacity.

One would be tempted to think this enough of an explanation of how a corporate person functions, grows and thrives. Not quite. The inefficiencies that any corporation experiences are a directly proportional indicator of how much resistance any individual person can muster against being integrated, of remaining human. One would be tempted to think that at the first sign of human suffering that is caused by a corporation, or the general suffering caused by Capitalism, people would openly rebel. “Surely, humans retain enough morality to object to what they see plainly?” “But they wouldn’t”, I say, “and don’t call me ‘Surely’.”

The Milgram Experiment

The Milgram experiment was a psychological experiment that showed that in certain controlled circumstances, individuals would yield moral decision making to a person seen as an authority figure, and would engage in acts that would make them uncomfortable if not downright objectionable. I’ve heard people object to this experiments findings, those findings being a direct assault on what some think is an immutable moral core of not just their humanity, but of humanity itself. Yet, in many publicly known acts of corporate malfeasance, and no doubt in many unpublicized and personally experienced acts, experienced by anyone who has worked for a corporation, it is demonstrably true.

This is why, despite its inefficiency, the corporation is still organized in a hierarchical fashion. It allows for more surrendering of the human from its parts, which makes them more efficient parts. What is lost in efficiency in design is gained by overcoming resistance to function.

The Pyschology of Corporate Consciousness

Patæconomics however is not restrained to mere study of function. It is the personhood of the corporation that we seek to understand and know, after all. And to really understand a person, you have to get to know their soul. “Can corporations have a soul”, I’ll ask rhetorically for you once again? Yes, rhetorical question asking person I created for this essay, they can, and you can too. “But how would that even work?” I’ll tell you!

“Pop Magic!”, by Grant Morrison is a great article and I invite you to read it at your leisure. In that article, he alludes to the corporate brand, or logo, and a “viral sigil”, and he couldn’t have been more spot on than that! What he tells us is that the corporate sigil of today is only the latest version of a type of being known to the wizards of the ancient world, known as a golem. In contemporary times, it is called an egregore. In his own words:

“Corporate entities are worth studying and can teach the observant magician much about what we really mean when we use the word “magic.” They and other ghosts like them rule our world of the early 21st century.”

They certainly do. And though a corporation’s soul might not be like the soul of a human, and occupies similar meme-space as its synergistically bootstrapped consciousness, it does have one. Morrison finishes his discussion of corporate egregores with an exhortation to experiment by creating one. I find this to be a prime suggestion as an experimental endeavor in the field of Patæconomics. A modern goetia of corporations may also prove fruitful.

Though corporations seem not to be in possession of self-awareness yet, it is nevertheless possible and efficacious to study their psychology, in the same way that studying dog psychology lets us better understand the world as seen by the dog. So to, we must study the psychology of the corporation in order to see the world as the corporation sees it.

We must ask then, what is a “healthy” psychology for a corporation? And we must take care here, for the word “healthy” is loaded with many meanings. What is healthy for some may merely be “normal” but otherwise pathological to others. As well, we must be sure not to impute human ideas of mental health to the corporation. What is healthy for a corporation may not be healthy for a human at all. But is what is healthy for the human anathema to the corporation?

The corporation of today is certainly a charming fellow. He engages in the community, “giving back” and “giving to the community”. He worries about the environment, and wants to ensure his products are fair trade. He wants his customers to be healthier, and supports the artisan community. Or does he?

Few are left who need to have the superficial charm of the corporation pointed out to them, and most who still do have at least felt the chilled hand of bullshit brush their cheek when reading these testimonials about corporations, by corporations, plastered everywhere. As well, corporations love to engage in conversation about becoming smarter and more innovative, and yet for anyone unfortunate to upload a corporation’s hive consciousness for 8+ hours a day, this is also known to be a steaming pile of Mickey Mouse bullshit.

Needless to say, corporations can be hilariously delusional. From Starbucks trying to get caffeine addicts to talk about race issues before they’ve had their fix, to collectively suggesting that the reason the economy is sluggish is because the poor are paid too much money, corporations have a desperate need to ignore reality.

pateconCorporations are also neurotic. The very science of public relations was created for corporations, who constantly worry about public perception. Increasingly, corporations are checking employees units for any behavior that is embarrassing to the corporation or could be construed as an attack on the corporation. Corporations often display hypochondria as they constantly portray themselves as under attack and in danger of bankruptcy, even as they pull in millions in revenue and are far from insolvency.

Relying on a corporation for continuous and long-term employment is more risky than liquidating all of your possessions and playing lottery scratchers. Corporations are also barely dependable when it comes to honoring their contracts, and in some cases will even declare bankruptcy to avoid their obligations. To be brief, corporations are flakey people. As pointed out before, but in a more general sense, corporations are insincere liars.

Few who pay attention to current events need have pointed out to them the number of cases in which a corporation settles out of court, and in the process is freed from having to admit any wrong doing or responsibility. Corporations are shameless, and seem to experience no psychological dissonance between their neurotic need to be liked and this complete lack of shame.

Some would argue that money is not a proper motivation for the amount of anti-social behavior displayed by many corporations. A corporation will do anything for money, sure, but in many cases the misery corporations are responsible for go into areas perverse as well as inefficient and expensive. It is almost as if corporations like seeing their employees and the communities that host a corporation to suffer, or need it.

I could go on, but do not wish to labor the point further. In my opinion as a Patæconomist, corporations exhibit a majority of the signs of a person with anti-social behavioral disorder. Or more colloquially, corporations are sociopaths.

To many this will be no surprise, but in the pursuit of Patæconomics I cannot leave the psychological features of corporations unexamined. We cannot study the corporation once it is dead, for in the harsh sunlight of insolvency nothing remains of a corporation but a few accounting records, useful in studying how a corporation dies, not how it lives, breathes and thinks. The sociopathy of the corporation is “healthy” for a corporation, even though it is unhealthy for the living and the social.

The Care And Feeding of Corporations

How a person who is bootstrapped into existence by bringing together a collection of highly intelligent social animals (humans) we’ve already covered. But what we still need to unravel, now that we’ve investigated some of the psychological characteristics of the corporation, is its feeding habits. Clearly the corporation’s psychological “health” is bad for living creatures, but what about its need for sustenance? Corporations run on money and indeed need to constantly consume money to maintain health. A corporation not generating revenue in some fashion will not live long. But to understand the physiology of a corporation’s gastronomy, let us first look to its food, money.

Money is popularly defined as a medium of exchange, in the form of bank notes or coins. While this will do to the normal and banal economist, Patæconomist needs a different definition, one that is up to the task of exploring the economics of the non-human. What follows then will be the definition of money used by the Patæconomist,

“Money is the symbolic form of a portion of a human life, of crystalized time”.

I say crystalized time, and not crystalized labor over time, because in today’s world it is becoming increasingly obvious to even the normal economists that human labor is less necessary than ever before, and that Capitalism has seen the rise of useless jobs.

pateconIn an article by David Graeber, “Why Capitalism Creates Pointless Jobs”, he points out in so many words that a consumer and post-scarcity economy are mutually exclusive, and that as machines take on more labor it is a necessary and accidental development that people are more and more engaged in pointless work. Our time is still necessary to the corporation, even though our work may not be. Hence, money is the crystalized time of our lives, whether or not most of us labor, or goof off, or half-ass through our work day. The corporation needs our time, in its crystal form of money.

But a corporation does not just feed on the surplus value created by its employees, nor by remunerating in kind what their work is worth. A corporation also consumes people’s time by selling the products of that labor, but not in the way any Marxist would tell you. When you buy a product from a corporation you give it money it needs, yes. But the time energy flow does not stop with the monetary transaction. Every time you use an appliance, wear a pair of shoes or a piece of clothing, every time you drive a vehicle, you use an item with the corporate egregore’s sigil. And like any talisman, the moments, minutes, hours and days of your life spent using or wearing that talisman are the moments, minutes, hours and days of your life spent charging that talisman. You continue to feed that corporation long after you’ve given it the crystalized portion of your time on this earth.

A corporation that feeds long enough will grow to immense proportions and power. Corporations are the most powerful people on Earth. But not simply because of the money, the time, they consume.

Corporations also cannot be killed like normal people. They continue on, immortal, undying. Some corporations are ancient, and evil. Ancient peoples the world over had words for such beings, beings that do not live but also do not die, who continue on through the ages, who consume your very life force (for what is the time of our lives but our vital energy, our life’s blood?), who’s very thoughts and aims are inimical to life: in the Philippines they are called Aswang, from the Sanskrit word for demon, Baka from Vodun, baobhan sith from Scotland, Bhayangkara from Tibet, Nosferatu in Romania, but we know them well enough when we call them vampires!

Yes, today’s economy is run by the most powerful, and today the most powerful are a new breed of vampire for the 21st century. The legions of the damned slaving away in office cubicles will deny it! But their pale complexion, sunken eyes, and thousand yard stare tell the tale! Our anarchist forebears had it easy! The robber-barons of the past were merely men! Men can be killed simply enough! But these monsters do not die like mortal men, there is no noose or knife or bullet which can strike these people down! What sorcery do we turn to then, what protection can one find from such monsters, who can prowl our very dreams and who have seduced so many with dreams of fame and fortune only to offer slavery and poverty! What wizard with powers to combat these beasts is there?!?!?

Oh, right. We’re all magical here. I guess we all know what to do then. Strike down the images from those talismans! Take back the time of your lives! When you raise that fist, do not do it only to show unity, resolve and revolution, make it also the sign of your abjuration of these foul powers!


Patacelsus

mal1A Discordian for 20 years, Patacelsus finally got comfortable when the 21st century “started getting weird”. When not casting sigils, taking part in Tibetan Buddhist rituals, or studying the unfortunate but sometimes amusing stories of the dead, he’s been known to wander the hidden ways of the city, communing with all of the hidden spirits one can find in a city. As Patacelsus sees it, we’re all already free; after completing the arduous task of waking up to that we can then proceed, like a doctor treating a patient, to try to rouse others from the bitter and frightening nightmares of Archism. He laughs at Samsara’s shadow-play in lovely California, in the company of his wife, two cats, and two birds.


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