episodes

85 – Epistemology

in which your run through some classic philosophical scenarios, you are hopefully on the mend, preparations are made for the Festival of Quiet Evils and the Festival of Innovation, Corin moves on, Hell has some troubling news, and Nothing Rhymes with Stych has “won” the Ruin-A-Life Drawing. Do Evil Better.

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Intro: What you are about to hear might inspire you to make healthier choices. Maybe.

 

Hello, and welcome to the Kakos Industries corporate shareholder announcements. At Kakos Industries we help our clients to Do Evil Better. My name is Corin Deeth III, and I am CEO here at Kakos Industries. I’m fairly certain of that now. I mean, all of us here at Kakos Industries have been going through the classics of doubt. What if an evil demon just made us moments ago and all of our memories are fabrications? What if we’re just brains in jars and nothing is real? What if robots have taken over the world and they require human energy to sustain themselves? I mean, there are a lot of signs around the building saying, “remember, demons aren’t real!” Isn’t that what a demon would want us to believe? But all the same, these thoughts get us nowhere. Epistemology has always been the worst part of philosophy. I mean, come on. You spend hundreds of years thinking about knowledge, and the best you come up with is a big white shaggy dog looking like a sheep on a hill? Nonsense. It has been even more disturbing to realize that we do have a brain in a digital reality just for the sake of having one. Now we all know it can be done. And that is very upsetting. But we have all had to accept that the simplest answer is probably the true one. We are real. We are experiencing the world. And the memories that came flooding back to us around a week ago are real.

 

It’s been an interesting two months, shareholders. We rebuilt society inside this building. We found the numerous bedrooms and hidden living quarters and took up residence, not knowing where else to go. We ate the food in the cafeteria. When it was gone, a truck with no driver delivered more. We decided who we were based on what we could piece together, and what we knew to be true in our hearts. Many of us were different. We forged strong friendships with our worst enemies. We took new partners because we couldn’t remember any preexisting relationships and boundaries. Some of us even developed a religion. We painted the walls and told stories. We feared the outside. And when one of you became worried about us and decided to visit, you found yourself suddenly at a loss for who you were and why you came, and all we knew was that you were new. And then we locked you up. Sometimes we tortured you. I mean, it was a little lord-of-the-flies, if I’m being honest. Not our proudest moment. But if any of you were maimed, we did our best through science to put you back to your original state.

 

Our ranks here at Kakos Industries evaporated. We were new people. What was a CEO, and who said that I was in charge? I was just like anyone else. Apart from the constant fear of existence that had suddenly set in two months ago, my stress level was lower than it had been in a while. We divided up necessary tasks as a lottery. Cleaning. Operating the microwave. Governing. For nearly two months this continued. We had no idea who we were, but we were in it together. Soundman Steven and I stuck together having braved the worst part of our memory loss with one another. Many of us got comfortable with this new existence. We grew comfortable with our new tribalism. Things made sense. We shared. Everything belonged to everyone, and everyone belonged to everyone else. It was peace. An Evil sort of peace, no doubt, but peace all the same. I made friendships that would have been impossible otherwise. There was no power structure. There were just people joining together dealing with the most pressing concern of our human intellects: the nature of our existence. Many of us remembered important skills, but not how we learned them. We survived comfortably. Except for that spectre. That fear of the unknown. The outside. Those brave enough to venture out came screaming back. It seems that our various lawns stretching out from the building contain certain horrors that you get used to as an employee, but are impossible to reconcile as a brand new consciousness.

 

We explored the building systematically. We formed search parties and teams. We found laboratories and experiments, many of which were running on some sort of auto pilot. That’s a security measure we have in place. The Division of Automation and Job Creation helps our scientists to automate their work in case they become incapacitated. Miraculously, the system worked even though everyone in the building had become so suddenly incapacitated. After weeks and weeks of mapping, getting lost, becoming confused, cursing our very existences, we discovered a lab with a lever on the wall. It said “Memories” on it, and it was in the down position. We had strict rules in place about touching things we didn’t understand. Several among our thousands had some recollection of the lever, but not enough to really go on. We debated for days about what to do with such a lever. If it was real, what could we expect on the other side. Would we like who we were? Would we be the same? What of our relationships and the peace we had created? Then, our hand was pushed. An alarm started going off. Bizarre numbers and letters were displayed on monitors all around the building. The helping robots were no help. Even Helena knew nothing about the alarms. What is left of her human brain is really important to the overall functioning of her robotic brain, leaving her just as confused as the rest of us. When the alarm didn’t stop after a day, we held a sleep-deprived meeting where we decided we needed knowledge, and we had one clue. The lever was lifted into the upper position, and then, like a shotgun blast to the face, our lives, our experiences, all of our knowledge came rushing back. We were all burdened with our pasts once again, and our tribal organization fell apart almost instantly. We remembered shame. And we remembered status. And most importantly, I remembered what that alarm meant. Our Evil output had dropped to dangerous levels. So I did what any self respecting CEO would do in this situation. I went to my office, put on one of my emergency suits, returned to the rest of my employees, and told them they had better get back to fucking work or I would personally flog the shit out of every single one of them. Some shareholders might not like this behavior. Please try to remember that I have knowledge that you do not, and that sometimes it is a kindness to be the bad guy so that others do not have to be. Fortunately for me, floggings were few, and mostly limited to those that like being flogged. Our Evil output has increased, but begrudgingly. We remember who we are, but a significant minority are beginning to wonder if things weren’t better before. Relationships have fallen apart. New ones have been built. It’s not just the cult of Ohh Ahh that share one another anymore. Some meet in secret in the nights to relive those moments. I don’t blame them. But I do flog them. We know who we are. And we know how important what we do is. We’ve encased that lever in cement. It will never be flipped again. No matter how drunk Deborah gets in her lab.

 

This broadcast is coming to you from The Division of Phoning It In’s new radio box. It’s a box, with a speaker, and a receiver inside. The end. It’s okay. Honestly, we didn’t have that much time to get this ready.

 

It should be unsurprising to all of you that we missed the Darkest Universe Festival entirely. We also missed the Water Festival. Oh well. We pulled the Earth Festival off, but just barely, using whatever drugs we had around. It wasn’t much. We kind of got into the stash while we couldn’t remember who we were. I found a number of my grandfather’s stashes, and split the findings with the others. Even though my status meant nothing, my biometrics still allowed me to enter certain areas that no one else could. I think we also kind of covered the Nudity Festival while we had forgotten who we were.

 

Coming up we have the Festival of Innovation. We’re still getting our systems back up and running so I don’t have any predictions for you as of now. Also the Festival of Quiet Evils is coming up. That will give us some time to reflect on what happened, and then move on completely. We are so behind.

 

Junior: Corin. What are you doing in here?

Corin: The broadcast, obviously.

Junior: But I reserved this room for book club.

Corin: This is the recording studio, Junior. There is no book club in here.

Junior: I reserved the room, Corin.

Corin: When?

Junior: Weeks ago. It’s on the calendar. I reserved this room every week on this day.

Corin: But that was during the time when we couldn’t remember anything. That time has passed. This is my recording studio now.

Junior: I reserved the room, and I would like it. I will be meeting with the other members shortly.

Corin: This room is only for my broadcasts now. You know this. You have your memories back.

Junior: And I know I reserved the space.

Corin: I don’t understand what’s going on here, Junior. You know that time was different and things are back to normal now. There is no book club in here.

Junior: This is where the book club meets, and I’m not leaving. You’ll just have to finish your broadcast now.

Corin: There are other rooms. And I’m not going to rush the broadcast. This is an important part of my job. (a pause) Oh, you’re just going to wait, then? Fine.

 

The Division of Figuring Out What All of These Keys Go To, once they remembered who they were, started fiddling with those enormous keyrings again. So far, they’ve unlocked a door, which leads to a 700 foot drop onto a pile of broken glass. They then locked it again and threw away the key.

 

After everything I’ve been through recently, I find that I care a little less about who fucked the Tabithas. I mean, I never cared. Why would I? I will admit that, while I had no recollection of who they were, but had a vague inclination, we did spend some time together. Brosephus, the Tabithas, and I started playing board games in our free time. You might be thinking, why board games? You have all the technology you could ever ask for. The truth is that the computers, and more specifically the Internet frightened us. There was so much information from outside, but none of it seemed to make sense, and we couldn’t decide if it was real or not. So we turned it off and found a number of games ready for testing. You see, the Division of Tabletop Diversion specializes in games that make people hate each other, but they don’t always succeed. We found a box of rejects that were actually kind of entertaining. There was Murder Celebrity, a game where you tried to trick the media into spending all of its time talking about you, based on the murders you could commit with the cards in your hands. At the end of the game, the most media attention won. There was Secret Goodie, a game where one of you had to be the Goodie and secretly do good things without being caught. Then there was Settlers of Streamea, where you competed to see who could settle on something to watch from the streaming service first. The rules to that one were kind of tricky, and let me tell you, you do not want to see most of those programs. I sometimes have a difficult time making friends here at Kakos Industries. It’s why Brosephus was specifically charged with becoming my friend before. During our memory loss, he was coasting off of pure instinct and still somehow managed to do his job. I will say that I do have friends, but they are mostly not in the company and I won’t dare mention them for their own safety. But now it occurs to me that, even though I’m not comfortable with the Tabithas’ advances, maybe I am comfortable being friends with them. Perhaps I was too locked in a mindset of just seeing them as sexual aggressors, and I couldn’t see them for the complex, multifaceted humans that they are. Perhaps I should be happy that they are no longer showing signs of extreme sexual withdrawal. Perhaps I should be happy that they have moved on with their lives. I’m not sure board game night will come back, but perhaps I should let the hostility go.

 

Within about three hours of having our memories back, Jasmine Aashna and Dr. Dunkelwissen burst into my office wearing French Maid outfits. I looked at them and said as sternly as I could, “I just don’t fucking care right now.” Jasmine gave Dr. Dunkelwissen a disappointed spank and they left my office. They’ve started to make such a joke out of my curiosity. Like, I’m sure the answer is something simple and innocuous and everything is fine, but now they’re just making me feel silly for even questioning them. Like, I get the joke, guys. You’re not working together and nothing terrible is happening. I mean, nothing unusually terrible. Nothing I would find terrible. It’s probably plants or something. It’s always plants. They’ve probably found a way to make penises bloom or something. No, wait. That does sound pretty horrible. I mean, if it hurts. That would have to hurt, right? I should really check on what they’re doing.

 

When we finally got our memories back, and then remembered to check on Hell, we found some troubling things. Like, so troubling that you’ll probably wonder why I didn’t lead with this part. There was no communication from Hell whatsoever. We sent some people to check. Once they got there, they found the entire labor camp to be deserted, except for one building where Meredith Gorgoro and the other higher ups were tied up. They were emaciated, and it appeared that Meredith had broken her arm trying to get out of a particularly pernicious knot. We were able to administer care and they are all recovering. The higher ups anyway. Everyone else seemed to be just a pile of human bones along the walls of the complex. We’re still counting the bones and DNA testing them to see who we lost and if anyone is unaccounted for. If anyone escaped, I won’t be happy about it. When you’re sent to Hell, you had better stay there. Even if it means being eaten. All of the equipment, valuables, and experimental technology was also stolen. That might be an issue. I’m considering dropping that nuclear bomb we have in the station at the entrance to Hell on the surface. Just nuke it and move on. Why not. Just kill everything and start over with another hole. We still have the digger. It’ll only take a couple of decades to get down to that level again. And hey, what if we find the real Hell that time? There are some positives to consider here.

 

They say that Evil once wore a fanny pack filled with one positive thought about each person on Earth stolen from their minds in the night. This is Things We’re Taking Credit for Now. Today, we are taking credit for calfskin satchels, baby seal cary alls, and the return of the fucking fanny pack on fucking hipsters. We at Kakos Industries are eagerly awaiting the day when we let cool become cool again. If you don’t believe we did this stuff, then your fanny pack is in the mail. I’d wear it, unless you wanna find out the bad stuff. It’s really bad.

 

Nothing Rhymes with Stych has won today’s Ruin-A-Life Drawing. As a result, the life of Nothing Rhymes with Stych’s nemesis will be ruined through some dastardly means. That nemesis is Zeddicus Eps. We gave the Wheel of Misery a good hard shove and it begrudgingly made a few lugubrious rotations before landing on Starchy. From this day forward, Zeddicus Eps will be in love, or perhaps even more in love, with starchy foods, finding an appetite for little else. Just potatoes and things like that I guess. We’ll be altering the microbiome inside of Zeddicus to make sure that only microbes that consume starches will live there, creating a never ending cycle of starch eating as they pull on the strings of the vagus nerve. All of Zeddicus’s favorite foods from before will now seem horrible. Unless those things were starches. In time, Zeddicus will be made of starch. For Evil measure, Nothing Rhymes with Stych will be 30% more opposed to starches. This will lead to some awkward conversations, no doubt. Congratulations on the win, and best of luck.

 

Speaking of the Wheel of Misery, the Damnation and Ruination Squad all lost their memories as well, but they never changed out of their neon tracksuits with lingerie on the outside. That was their attire before things went to shit, and so it remained. It seems some instincts last even when you can’t remember what a human is.

 

This brings us to the end of the broadcast. You can destroy the radio however. I have bigger worries right now. Speaking of which…

 

Corin: Junior, I think it’s time we address the elephant in the room.

Junior: No one has called me that in 20 years.

Corin: Not you. The book club.

Junior: It’s going to be great.

Corin: Junior, no one has shown up.

Junior: I… I know.

Corin: Who were you expecting?

Junior: There were around fifteen of us.

Corin: The start time has passed, hasn’t it.

Junior: Yes.

Corin: And no one is here.

Junior: No.

Corin: Do you… Did you think they would come?

Junior: I had hoped.

Corin: It was a different time, Junior. We thought we were being tormented by demons. We couldn’t remember anything.

Junior: I liked that time. No one treated me like a monster. No one knew I was a monster. I was just me. And people liked me. They read books with me.

Corin: Junior, you’re not a monster.

Junior: You know that’s exactly what I am.

Corin: You’re part human.

Junior: And so much more. Monster.

Corin: You’re family.

Junior: I appreciate you saying so.

Corin: Do you want to do the numbers?

Junior: I do like numbers.

Corin: Here’s the list.

Junior: Ah, yes, of course. Thank you, Corin. I’m glad you finally decided that my superior intellect is best suited to this task. Let’s see. 88, 14, 4, 55, 66, 88, 4, 33, 4, 4, 3. Excellent.

Corin: So what were you reading anyway?

Junior: Well, it’s called (nether dialect)

Corin: Oh, get the fuck out of here with that bullshit.

 

Kakos Industries is written and produced by Conrad Miszuk, who is also the voice of Corin Deeth, and the composer of the music. The introduction is read by Kim Aiello, and the credits are read by Kelsey Kemmer, the only choice. Please visit KakosIndustries.com for news, extras, and more episodes. There are also transcriptions on the website if you’d like to read along with the Kakos Industries announcements. That’s K-A-K-O-S-I-N-D-U-S-T-R-I-E-S dot com. Please visit store.KakosIndustries.com for merchandise and special offers and get wonderful benefits by becoming a subscription donor at kakosindustries.com/patreon. Questions, comments, or a strong desire to collaborate? Drop us a line at inquiries@kakosindustries.com. If you like Kakos Industries, be sure to rate and review us on your favorite podcasting service, and connect with us on YouTube (YouTube.com/KakosIndustries), Facebook (facebook.com/kakosindustries), Tumblr (kakosindustries.tumblr.com), and Twitter (@KakosIndustries). We encourage fan art and listener participation on all our social media platforms. We’ve recently expanded our social media team, so please visit the website to view their credits and current projects.

 

Special thanks to our esteemed shareholders Iain Croall, Renee Stein, Dan Shumway, Blaise Devletian, William Brandon, Angus McClintock McGillicutty and Courtney Campbell. Also thanks to our honored employee Kei M, who popped all of the bubble wrap in time. And thanks to our Division heads Britney Garcia, head of The Division of Beanies, Booties, and Construction Projects That Are Probably Too Large for Yarn, Patrick Green, head of The Division of Oceanic Micro-Cryptozoology, Lynne Herman, director of the Division of Increasingly Improbable Slash Fiction, Atramento Perdita, head of The Division of Deep Meaning, Euan Goodfield, director of The Division of Ever More Bizarre Injuries, Valerie Koop, Director of the Division of Inappropriate Games to Play in Public, Carl H, Director of the Division of Unanswered Messages, J.K. Runnings, Director of The Division of Darker Sound, and Danni Auttumns, director of The Division of Unlikely Autocorrect Errors. The Division of Beanies, Booties, and Construction Projects That Are Probably Too Large for Yarn has finished their floating fortress. It floated for a while. Then the helium ran out. They’re considering hydrogen. We told them that was a bad idea, but they’re going ahead with it anyway. The Division of Oceanic Micro-Cryptozoology has released the TigerPanther Fungus into the wild. It has already killed all of the other microbes in Kakos Pond 22-C, including our beloved MegaTardigrades. This is a disaster. The Division of Increasingly Improbable Slash Fiction has stopped shipping laser attachments and the animal kingdom. It was an abusive relationship, if we’re being honest. Now they’ve shifted their attention to flowers and grizzly bears. The Division of Deep Meaning has claimed a connection between fire and the feeling that you’re being watched. Perhaps fire is watching us. We may never know for certain. The Division of Ever More Bizarre Injuries has gotten a big toe stuck in an ear. It requires some knowledge of yoga, and then a terrible accident. The Division of Inappropriate Games to Play in Public has invented Who Can Shout Fire Louder. This one may actually be illegal. The Division of Unanswered Messages has collected over one million credit card applications. We all agree that they are annoying and should be ignored, but do they need to be lining the halls around their office? The Division of Darker Sound has gone into the deepest cave known to man to record the ambience there. With the lights off. For ambience.  The Division of Unlikely Autocorrect Errors recently patched some phones to correct the word “impressionism” to “dat ass”. There are going to be some interesting conversations around finals time in the Art History department. Our esteemed shareholders, honored employees, division heads, and other Patreon patrons are the best. If you want a thank you in the credits, your own division, or other great rewards that help us to keep this show running, please head to Kakosindustries.com/patreon. That’s Patreon: p-a-t-r-e-o-n.

 

Kakos Industries can be heavy sometimes. Try following your dreams after all of this years to get it out of your head.

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