Systematic Epistemological Action
Note to Readers
This entry has been approved by the Committee for Epistemological Hygiene at the Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge, and a reading of it should not promote the outbreak of contagion. In accordance with CEH/BOFK accepted practices, this article will only summarize publicly available sources of information, and systematically avoid synthetic research. Readers are strongly encouraged not to pursue lines of enquiry suggested by this article without first consulting with the CEH, for their own safety and the safety of the community.
In the Beginning
In the beginning, heads exploded, and the mandibles, they were everywhere. In insectkind's search and thirst for knowledge, there was no light and dark, no good and evil, no worth and unworth. We thirsted, but in our fervor, we drank both the panacea and the poison. Consensus reality, orthogonalities, transformational theory -- all caused our heads to rise up against the will of the body and to splatter themselves ruthlessly instead of fighting the good fight of understanding, comprehension, and matriculation.
Many heads and parts were lost, as this was long before the donor programs of the Office of Knowledge About Things. The beginners tried many things, such as inventing the concepts of Up and Down: whereas our heads were Up and they exploded, and our Feets were Down and they did not, we tried learning while reversed: Head to the floor, Feets to the sky. Our Feets, they did not explode. Our Heads, they ruined our rugs.
And so the beginners, in their sadness, created the Ultimatum. These ultimatums commanded us to, or not to, handle knowledge. We were not to know about infinite iterations, but that two burnflies in the bush are better than one in the hand. We were to know the price of fish, but not the location of Their Box. We were not to know the true history of the beginners, but only the intent of their reasoning and the willingness of a story that wanted spreading. We were to know we are, but not we mightn't be.
On that day, light and dark was created. To ensure the light remained light, and the dark dark, the beginners admonished their continuants to forever "revise and surmise, revise and surmise".
The Folly of the Continuants
As of roughly -14 EC, the term "ultimatum" has been replaced with the longer and less friendly "Systematic Epistemological Action". The reasoning, though unwarranted and heretical, concerns dilution of the original term's power, and is retold in an issue of Aliens Everywhere. Regarding the disappearance of Altifur Witherspoon, the "hobosopher of the East":
MISTAH: So, he comes up to me, and says "Where's Altifur?"
MISTAH: And I says, I say, "Wha'choo want with Altifur?"
MISTAH: That there Altifur, he's not right upstairs!
Missus: And then he said he had to show him something.
MISTAH: He had to show him something, that's right.
Missus: Tell 'em what you told him, honey.
MISTAH: Lemme tell ya what I told him.
MISTAH: I told him, "Altie's Mate Ate 'Em!"
Missus: Altie's Mate Ate 'Em!
MISTAH: Altie's Mate Ate 'Em! Ate 'em on Tuesday, she did.
Missus: He hadn't taken out the garb...
MISTAH: Woman! This is my story! Who's tellin' the story?
Missus: You're telling the story.
MISTAH: I'm telling the story. Thas' right. It's my story!
MISTAH: See, that there Altifur hadn't taken out the garbage.
MISTAH: And she ate 'em!
Missus: Tell 'em who that guy was.
MISTAH: Dammit, woman, I'm getting there!
MISTAH: Lemme tell ya who that guy was. That guy...
Missus: Was someone big important.
MISTAH: Apparently, he was someone big important.
MISTAH: Starts telling everyone 'Altie's Mate Ate 'Em!'
Missus: Altie's Mate Ate 'Em!
MISTAH: Altie's Mate Ate 'Em!
MISTAH: Next thing I know, everyone's saying it.