I will not take the Oath.

A young person chooses a Hive, which wasn't the choice of their ba'pas. Terra Ignota fanfic.

Published . 828 words.

I hereby renounce the right to complacency,

But we have never had a right to be complacent. Complacency is only a privilege. When life is on the line, though the Laws sometimes allow for neglect, you’ve raised me to care about life. I can’t in good conscience let a system that’s broken remain broken. Either it needs to be decommissioned or it needs to be fixed.

and vow lifelong

Here we get into the commitment thing that you’ve always talked about. Yes, I’m worried about lifelong oaths. It’s why I’m not a Mason. I’ll live two hundred years, at the rate things are going. I can’t predict my own future well enough to say whether I’ll still agree with the Oath when I’m thirty, or one hundred and thirty. I know I don’t agree with it now, but even if I did, would I still, a decade in the future?

to take only what minimum of leisure is necessary to my productivity,

I’ve read the leisure-minimum documentation, I know that there’s a huge amount of rest necessary to remain at maximum productivity. I know the signs of burnout from school, and from what happened last year with Peregrine. But this algorithmic partitioning of life towards productivity doesn’t seem to be the best for me, even if I’m not a true voker like Apollo Mojave was. Freedom to choose when to work and when to voke and when to relax feels so much better. It’s not regimented; it leaves room for creativity and stretching and growth.

viewing health, happiness, rest and play as means, not ends,

Health. That’s the lie. Health is one of our Utopia’s ends. Trying to defeat Death. Humanity can’t do that if health is just an instrument. Health has to be an end, not a means.

and that, while Utopia provides my needs,


I will commit the full produce of my labors to our collective effort

But Utopians never do this.

Either we say that everything, everything we do in any context ever, is towards the Project, or we admit that programming our coats and writing stories and composing the shreddingist anti-deathist death metal tracks are things which don’t actually contribute to The Grand Project. If we say that everything we do is towards the Project, then why have the Oath? If the set of things which do contribute are constrained, why do we do the things which do not contribute? I don’t like that two-facedness. I won’t swear to it.

to redirect the path of human life away from death and toward the stars.

The one bit of the Oath that I do like is the last line: the goal.

I don’t need to be a Utopian to work towards that.

It is only while humans are alive that we are people. After death, what are we but fertilizer? It’s what we do while we’re alive that has meaning.

It’s meaningful to contribute to the Great Project, but many people find other sources of meaning in life. The Cousins find meaning in being helpful. The Masons and Whitelaws and Blacklaws find meaning in adherence to law. Greenpeace finds meaning in nature. Mitsubishi finds meaning in through nature, in the same control that Mason also likes. Gordian finds meaning in the mind. Europe and Mason find meaning in history. Humanista finds meaning in doing your best, in a way that I think only the Cousins really appreciate. Utopia does its best towards the Project, but I don’t think Utopia’s best is the best that can be done.

Utopia is a broken system, but its goal is a good one, and it seems like Utopia are the only people working towards the goal. So rather than decommission Utopia, the sole guardian of the Project, I’ll work to make the Project better.

How did it go? “On my honor, I promise to do my best, to do my duty to my law and family, to help other people at all times, and to obey the Scout Law.”

To do my best.

That’s an oath I can uphold.

So I’ll see you in the morning standup call, and we’ll have to figure out account access to the project boards and todo lists now that I’m outfreyn, and I’ll still play wingball.

But I’ll be wearing different boots now.

(aaaa I have to come up with boot designs now)
(why is this harder than coat nowheres)

((Sorry for springing this on you; it just kind of hit a point tonight where I needed to choose, because if I didn’t choose then I still would have made a choice))

(((Yes I’ll have #1551 done by standup; this just got in the way)))