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A Short History of Novo Dementia
Andy Canfield
Information Management Systems

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To: Heather + Chris
From: Andy Canfield
Subject: Sovereignty
Date: 1997/08/27

I was reading a commentary when I realized that the word "sovereignty" carries two different meanings. The word refers to the position of the King; in some sense it means "like a king". It refers to the relationship of authority and obedience, of mastery, of supremacy. But in two very different ways.

One meaning emphasizes the mastery of the King over the rest of us. The King is our sovereign; he is our supreme maser and we must obey him. If we do not obey him, we challenge his sovereignty (authority). The commentator referred to Adam and Eve as challenging the sovereignty of God. The government of the United States says that sovereignty resides in the people; I suspect that by that they mean that the people, acting as a whole, are the supreme ruler of the nation.

The other meaning emphasizes the lack of authority over the King. A "sovereign state" is a nation which does not take orders from any other nation. If England attempts to make Saudi Arabia a colony, then England is challenging the sovereignty (independence) of the Saudi king and the Saudi nation. The UN is, in theory, a community of sovereign nations. The United States and Thailand are both sovereign, in the sense that neither takes orders from the other.

The two meanings clash when there is a choice between subservience and independence. Adam and Eve challenged the authority of God over them, but they did not claim authority over God. Then challenged his soverignty (authority), but they did not challenge his sovereignty (independence). When the United States attempts to impose it's laws on other countries, the other countries resist, but in doing so they are not attempting to impose their laws on the USA. This is the meat of the clash over major issues like the Helms-Burton anti-Cuba law, or minor issues like the US requiring dolphin-safe fishing nets on Thai tuna boats.

I feel as though I am sliding towards a political position that every person is sovereign. In this sense a community of people operates like the community of nations. I don't take orders from you, and you don't take orders from me. We cooperate voluntarily. We have no obligation of obedience.

If I could issue myself a passport, I would do so.

I defend my sovereignty with great passion. That's why I hate the license agreements that pop up when I try to install a Microsoft program. Bill Gates has hired not only lawyers, but also psychologists, to write these things. The entire experience - the text, the colors, the scroll bars, the buttons, the barrier effect - is designed to instill something in you. I can't say offhand what it is, but it is something like surrender, a voluntary sacrifice of my sovereignty. For this reason it is abominable.

I am sovereign. I hope you are sovereign. I suspect that not everyone is sovereign. I suspect that it is relatively rare. Most people are more comfortable being slaves to someone, something. Given my life history, it might even be not all that desirable. But I wouldn't sell it for the title deed to paradise.

To: Heather + Chris
From: Andy Canfield
Subject: God's Chess Game
Date: 1997/08/27

(stop me if I've told you this one already)

God called his angel Gabriel over, and said that he felt like having a game of chess. God and Gabriel would play chess. Of course, since God is almighty and Gabriel isn't, Gabriel would be sure to lose. So God made him an offer. Although nominally God and Gabriel would play the game, in fact God would chose Gabriel's moves for him. In this way Gabriel would be able to win. In fact, God being generous, God could ensure that Gabriel won. So they played the game. When it was God's move, God reached out and moved his chess piece. When it was Gabriel's move, God reached over and moved Gabriel's piece. After 30 moves, Gabriel won.

A while later God felt like playing chess again. He called Michael over, and made him the same offer. Michael agreed, they played chess, and this time Michael won.

God did this with many of his angels. But one of his angels refused the offer. "No thank you", he said. "We shall indeed play chess. But I wlll decide my own moves. You are great, and I am tiny, and so certainly I will lose. But at least it will be me that loses. I will have done more than the other angels - I will have truely played chess against you. I would rather play and lose than just sit and watch you win in my name." The angel's name was Lucifer, and he will lose. But in a way different from Gabriel and Michael and all the others, Lucifer has already won. The game he played was independence, and the prize he won was existance.

To: Heather + Chris
From: Andy Canfield
Subject: Sovereignty N.D.
Date: 1997/08/28

Playing this evening on the notion of my own sovereignty, and the community of nations. I have in the past defined a "nation" as "a group of sovereign people, managing resources". Well, I have a resource; namely my own body. I manage it. I also manage other things, like money and my bicycle. If I am sovereign, then I am a nation.

So on a lark I sat down and designed a flag for myself. I have a chart of national flags on my wall, so I looked them over. I noticed that no one uses orange. So I wanted to use orange, but unfortunately PCPAINT doesn't support orange. After looking and fiddling and seeing what I liked and disliked, I have (temporarily) settled on this:

"The proportions are 3 units wide and 2 units high. There is a wide stripe approximately 2/10 unit wide running diagonally from the lower left to the upper right. The stripe is yellow. The area above the stripe is black; the area below the stripe is blue."

The yellow stripe was chosen because, looking at other flags, I think it looks royal, and my royalty = sovereignty is very important to me. The black was chosen for the night sky; I like the night. The blue was chosen just because it looks good with the black and yellow. Green didn't look so good and red is too remindful of blood.

A name? Starting with "ANDY", transformed to "N.D.", taken as initials for "NOVO DELECTUS", sounds Latin for "New Delight". The nationhood idea is sort of a new delight for me. Where is Novo Delectus located? A bit further out than California.

N.D.? Novo Dementia? Nothing Doing? Naked Debutante? Nicely Done?

As seen above, this nation was declared soveriegn on August 27, 1997 and named "Novo Dementia" a day later. A Novo Dementia site was started on a laptop computer on December 21, 1997 using Netscape 3.04. Novo Dementia first appeared on the Internet as part of www.laonet.net/AndyCanfield on April 28, 1999. After LaoNet collapsed Novo Dementia was absent from the Internet for several years until it appeared again in November, 2007 as part of andycanfield.dyndns.org. After that site disappeared Novo Dementia was absent from the Internet until it appeared again in January 2014 as part of www.andycanfield.com.