Rocket Jump: Quake and the Golden Age of First-Person Shooters is a time capsule. Continue reading and you'll break the seal, unleashing a torrent of history that recounts some of id Software's boldest ideas, technical achievements, and eclectic personalities. Those breakthroughs stemmed from a culture that was as detrimental to the minds, bodies, and spirits of the Quake franchise's creators as it was motivational. A culture where those involved in Quake could raise the bar for technology and design in the games industry.
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.
You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.
You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.
Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.
We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.
We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.
Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.
Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.
In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.
You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.
In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.
Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.
These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.
We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.
February 8, 1996
Be patient. No matter what.
Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
Expand your sense of the possible.
Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
Laugh at yourself frequently.
Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
Give up blood sports.
Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
Praise at least as often as you disparage.
Admit your errors freely and soon.
Become less suspicious of joy.
Remember that love forgives everything.
If all the matter in the universe suddenly disappeared, would space still exist? Isaac Newton thought so. Space, he imagined, was something like Star Trek’s holodeck, a 3-dimensional virtual-reality grid onto which simulated people and places and things are projected. As Newton put it in the early pages of his Principia: “Absolute space, of its own nature, without reference to anything external, always remains homogeneous and immovable.”
Parenting generally goes pretty smoothly when you and your child agree. You do what you both agree on. It’s what you do when you disagree that determines what kind of parent you are. Do you try to hide disagreements because you believe your child is fragile? Do you put your foot down? Or do you try to cooperate with your child to figure out the truth of the matter, solve problems, and understand more about the world?
Parents aren’t always right. Kids are complicated and you’re not going to correctly understand everything they say, do or want. Lots of family conflicts are due to mutual misunderstanding. The best way to handle that is to focus on learning together. And remember, if your child magically listened to everything you said, then there’d be no progress in the world. Children have to go their own way sometimes, and have some new ideas, for them to have a better life than you instead of just the same life.