Openly questioning Neovictorian’s Sanity

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Sanity by NeovictorianI recently read Neovictorian’s Sanity. The novel is, in a sense, didactic. It purports to explain how the world really works. For instance, our narrator — and presumably our author — remembers researching the Virginia Tech shooting, where one panicked student kept repeating that “It’s okay, they’re coming, they’re coming to help us!”:

Lesson number one is, They are not fucking coming.

Our hero, Cal — who, rather ironically, goes to Stanford, not Berkeley — finds himself recruited by a “good” conspiracy (the Network, or the Outfit) to fight the “bad” conspiracy (the Order).

The “good” conspiracy seems to be based on — I kid you not — a thinly disguised version of L. Ron Hubbard and his Dianetics — in this case, Heights, the new novel by Phillip Duke, announced in Analog Science Fiction, June, 1974, which grows into the ReHumanism movement.

Cal learns a lot from the Network, as these excerpts suggest:

  • Karsten taught that history wasn’t facts, or trends, causes, war and politics, Great Men or the power of the polis; history was a method of wisdom, the deep contemplation of which enriched understanding of men, women and societies. History revealed the gold and the dross of human behavior, and enabled more effective action in every area of life.
  • For instance, we know about a number of Soviet spies that were caught, working on the Manhattan project and secret military projects and the US delegations to Bretton Woods and the United Nations. But what about the ones that were never caught? I suspect a few spies spent entire careers undercover, retired well and died comfortably in their homes in the Virginia countryside.
  • The perfect crime isn’t the crime you get away with, it’s the crime that no one knows has even been committed.
  • “The ‘unseen,’ Mr. Black, might even be a group, an organization of sorts, but one that is silent. How would we know what effect such a group has had or is having on history? We know a good deal about Templars, Rosicrucians, Freemasons, the Black Hand and so on, but what if there are other groups around, that are operating in a shadow so complete that they might as well not exist?”
  • “Don’t show your cards”
  • “Do you ever get a feeling Cal, maybe you have since you were 12, 13, maybe even younger a feeling that you were almost like an alien observing earth from a distance, that your friends and family were often strange and stupid that everyone’s just acting acting acting all the time?”
  • “Do you feel that if it was necessary and right you could physically stop someone who was doing something bad and wrong, hurting innocent people, starting a war, threatening to use nuclear weapons, something like that?”
  • And put something in there that the herd will think is innocuous, and only the aliens will understand.
  • It’s your future actions and choices and accomplishments that influenced what happened today. Physics works both directions in time — you might consider that.
  • The Outer Church and the Inner Church. It’s universal, everyone from the Greeks and their Mysteries to the Templars and the Masons and the German dueling societies and the Ivy League fraternities use some variation on it.
  • “Because social science is just a branch of the Order, and its purpose is to keep the mass fat, dumb and happy, so the Order can continue to be the Order.” “The Big Order or the Real Order?”
  • Do nothing for one breath. Do nothing, then assess, then take charge.

What Neovictorian really has to answer for is his young protagonist’s decision to carry a 1911 with two seven-round mags.

Anyway, as I read, I like to note interesting words (or phrases) I don’t see every day:

  • peripatetic – traveling from place to place, in particular working or based in various places for relatively short period
  • gloaming – twilight; dusk.
  • so mote it be – “So mote it be” is a ritual phrase used by Freemasons, in Rosicrucianism, and more recently by Neopagans. It means “so may it be”, “so it is required”, or “so must it be”, and may be said at the end of a prayer in a similar way to “amen”.
  • contubernium – The contubernium was the smallest organized unit of soldiers in the Roman Army and was composed of eight legionaries, the equivalent of a modern squad. The men within the contubernium were known as contubernales. Ten contubernia were grouped into a centuria.

Again, the book is didactic, and that means it works in references to other recommended books:

In his afterword, he explicitly mentions his favorite authors:

In some rough chronological order they include Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Robert Heinlein, Ayn Rand, Mickey Spillane, Ian Fleming, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.

L. Ron Hubbard’s Final Blackout always makes me cry.

The late William Patterson Jr.’s fine biography of Heinlein, In Dialogue With His Century, recounts several “mystical” experiences Heinlein had as a boy. I had a few, as well.


  1. Jeff R. says:

    The only reason not to carry a 1911 with two seven round magazines is if you happen to choose the perfectly viable alternative of carrying a 1911 with three seven round magazines.

  2. Kirk says:

    Interesting read. Took a couple of hours out of the day, but interesting.

    Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the genre. The root problem with the whole Illuminati thing is that first sentence you quote: “Lesson number one is, They are not fucking coming.”

    That’s the reality; there is no vast secret conspiracy or cryptic organization waiting in the wings to fix things; we are, completely and utterly f**ked.

    This is the root problem with all the usual anti-semites that keep polluting the space here: They so badly want there to be someone else responsible, some defining conspiracy for all the stupidity going on around us, but the sad and sorry truth is, the people they need to blame are the same set of idiots they get up and look in the mirror every damn morning. There is no Trilateralist Committee, no Rosicrucians, no Jewish Elders–At least, as they conceive them, running the world in the background.

    Here’s the reality: People are ‘effing stupid. Large groups of people, acting in concert, are even more stupid. Occasionally, we rise to slightly-less-than-stupid, but the facts are that everything we see around us…? That’s pretty much it; epic nitwittery, on all sides.

    I love the anti-semitic BS, though: It’s inherently humorous, because the believers in it are so f**king stupid that they think the Vast Jewish Conspiracy ™ is simultaneously so competent that they run everything, and that at the same time, they’re somehow going to miss the anti-semite whispering in the corner… If the Vast Jewish Conspiracy were really that competent, then you dipshits sign your death-warrants every time you point out the existence of that conspiracy. Since you keep yammering on, I’m afraid it has become clear to everyone except you that the Vast Jewish Conspiracy exists only in your fevered imaginations.

    Same with most of that same sort of BS–The root reason it exists is that the idea that we’re really out here on our own, all by our lonesome selves, is pants-fillingly scary. You want there to be some conspiracy out there, doing things in the shadows, because that implies that someone has a f**king clue, and even if they’re evil, that means that the universe is comprehensible and something that we can cope with. The alternative is to have to acknowledge that we are all really just flying by the seat of our pants, and have not a damn clue what we are doing. Comprehension of that fact is something that most of us can’t cope with, so we make up other shit that’s nowhere near as scary–Like the Trilateralists, the Illuminati, and whatever else people like to fantasize as their secret masters.

    This is why I think that most people actively want to be slaves; they can’t handle the idea of doing things on their own. They want someone, anyone, to tell them what to do, and they find the idea of a secret cabal running everything to a plan to be comforting. The alternative of self-actualized responsibility and freedom is just too much for their little minds to handle, so… Jews. Illuminati. Whatever. Anything, anything at all, except that man in the mirror, every morning.

  3. Wan Wei Lin says:

    Kirk, When I read this article my first thought was this recurring quote in the series Person of Interest, “In the end we’re all alone and no one is coming to save you.”

    A bitterly sad fact of life. That and as you say… people are stupid. The sooner you get a grip on those two facts the happier you’ll be.

  4. Kirk says:

    It’s a harsh realization, one that most don’t want to accept.

    I’d wager good money that were you to write a protagonist that espoused that set of thoughts into a novel, it’d sell like whatever the opposite of hotcakes is.

  5. Harry Jones says:

    Let me tell you why this sort of thing is popular. At a certain time in your young life – if you’re not a complete imbecile – it occurs to you to do the math and realize that the world does not add up.

    You cast about for explanations. It’s one thing to know you’ve been lied to but to know the truth is another matter. Conspiracy theories seem to offer a shortcut from one to the other.

    Besides, they’re fun.

    But the conspiracy theories don’t add up either. When this dawns on you, you have outgrown a phase.

    Me, I still find detective fiction inspiring, because it’s about an empirical approach to the problem, and empiricism is one faith that has never let me down. Give me hardboiled noir detectives in trenchcoats and fedoras confronting treacherous women and murderous men, approaching the truth carefully but doggedly, one step at a time, one lie at a time. That’s an approach to life.

  6. Kirk says:

    You want really great, self-consistent conspiracy theories, you have to go to either the Balkans or the Arabian regions. The Arabs will give you ball-shrinkingly nutty ones, but the Serbs? Oh, my friends, the Serbs… Artists, all of them.

    I grew up around a bunch of expat Yugoslavs. There was an intellectual Serb among them, and the versimilitude with which he’d spin his theories while you argued against them… Holy hell, you could not even begin to do it justice. Throw up a logical objection to something, he’d weave it into his conspiracy theory as even more proof of what he was saying, and by the end of it… Neither you, nor he would know which end was up. I eventually came to the conclusion that it wasn’t really something he believed in, per se, but more a free-form artwork that he’d create out of whole cloth from esoterica and trivia. The scary thing was, how convincing he could be, and how well he could carry you along.

    What’s even more ‘effed up? Some of the stuff he was saying actually came out as truths, and the projections he made came true. Accident? Or, was he somehow tapped into an aspect of reality that I simply refuse to believe…?

    Most American conspiracy theorists are so pedestrian, so coarse, so easily refuted. The Rothschilds? The Trilateralists? Child’s play–You have to hear the deeper, darker secrets of the Balkans, come out to play in the modern world, like some sort of vestigial tale of Baba Yaga come to life.

    I think there’s a bit of the fairy tale, to it all. I hope someone like the Brother’s Grimm someday seek to document and preserve it all, in all of its wondrous mad glory. Believe me, there’s room for a classification guidework, akin to the one they use for folk ballads and fairy tales. What’s really amazing is to hear some of the same wild-ass conspiracies reflected back from other sources, and be able to say “Oh, man… Branko, buddy… You are dead, but your works LIVE!!”.

    I’m telling you, it’s a folk art. Or, so I’ve come to think–Just like the fairy stories of old. Although, I can’t quite make out the social purpose of them, to be quite honest. I still think they’re basically the same comforting sort of lies the racists tell themselves about their supposed “racial superiority”, as they go about their dysfunctional lives.

    I wonder if there is an ethnographer who’s done the work on this, or if I’ve actually managed a new insight here…

  7. Isegoria says:

    I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the genre, either, but I tried out Hans G. Schantz’s Hidden Truth novels, and I enjoyed them. Conspiracy thrillers are intriguing. And I don’t think we’re supposed to accept them as non-fiction.

    I had to tease Neovictorian about his young protagonist’s choice of gun, because a .45-caliber 1911 with 7-round magazines is seriously old school, if only because 8-round magazines are now the norm. And that’s a big, heavy carry gun; it was never intended for deep concealment.

    I feel like Neovictorian has some interesting insights into L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, but he hasn’t written an essay on the topic — not that I could find on his blog, at least.

  8. Alistair says:

    Aha! But we elders of the Vast Jewish Conspiracy (VJC) don’t eliminate casual Anti-Semites who unwittingly reveal themselves. Such clumsy foes pose no direct threat to our carefully laid plans. Conversely, killing them would reveal not only the VJC, but expose us to possible counter-moves by our sworn enemies in the Bavarian Illuminati and the Men in Black.

    Now, if you will all please line up for the neuralizer…

  9. Kirk says:

    That’s the spirit, all right.

    My Serb friend would weave such a whole cloth out of your objections that by the end of it all, you’d think black was white, and up was down. I once suggested that it was a pretty poor Vast Jewish Conspiracy that would allow six million Jews to die in the Holocaust, and he slickly turned that around into the whole thing having been a Cunning Ploy(tm) with which to conceal the power of the Vast Jewish Conspiracy–See, the Rothschilds and Bilderbergs had sacrificed their pawns in the ranks of the poor Jews that weren’t in on the upper levels of the conspiracy, in order to make it look like the Jews were powerless, and, ohbytheway, most of the people killed in the Holocaust weren’t really Jews, just poor Slavic schmucks who had been passed off as such to the Germans, while the Real Jews(tm) were living large in the Urals and America…

    I wish I could reproduce here for you the crazed nature of all this, and also create the sort of detached-from-reality mien that all this was delivered with, it being “merely a hypothetical” explanation for various things “that don’t add up…”. But, I can’t. I remember it, I remember the discussions, but I simply cannot even come close to replicating the sheer boffo insanity of it, nor reproduce the delivery. Interesting to look back at, and I wonder if I wasn’t “in on the joke” for a lot of it, and it was mostly a folk art version of the classic sort that here in America produced such things as Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill.

    This idea that the conspiracy theory might represent a sort of folk tale is something that’s really beginning to stick to my mind, and I don’t know why. It explains so much–If I truly believed in the reality that the Rothschilds and Bilderbergs were behind a bunch of the inimical stuff in society, I think I’d be doing something about it, not whispering in the shadows. The vast majority of these conspiracy theorists never act on their ideas–The odd nutter who listens to them does, true, but the majority of the theorists conspiratae I know have been more than satisfied to keep living quietly while spinning their tales of the Illuminati. The idea that they’re modern storytellers, spinning tales around the figurative campfire… Kinda resonates, doesn’t it?

  10. Ezra says:

    “what if there are other groups around, that are operating in a shadow so complete that they might as well not exist?”

    The goal is power. You do not have power if no one knows you exist?

  11. CVLR says:

    “The goal is power. You do not have power if no one knows you exist?”

    The first purchase of power is privacy, though the Internet may have upset this particular applecart.

  12. Wan Wei Lin says:

    Kirk, It’s one thing to lie. It’s another thing to believe your own lie. The Arabs specialize in this. I can’t remember the name of the book, but the Arab mind was illustrated with this story: A man is trying to nap on his couch, but the noise of children playing in the street is keeping him awake. In his frustration he gets up, flings open the window and yells to the children, “Why are you playing here when they are giving away fresh bread in the square?” The children run away at this and the man lays back down satisfied with the silence. Still he can’t sleep thinking to himself, “Why am I laying here when there is free bread to be had in the square?”

  13. Kirk says:

    Believing their own BS is an Arab vice; they have an inability to keep track of the stories they tell one another, and so come to believe wholeheartedly even the things they know are BS because they gave life to the lie themselves.

    It’s one thing to Believe; it’s entirely another to Believe your own BS. That’s the fundamental cultural weakness in the Arab/Muslim world. You can never get to ground truth on anything–You ask “Did you do this thing…?”, and they’ll stand there and tell you they did, that the thing is done, and you’ll be looking at the clear evidence that it hasn’t been done. It’s why you will never, ever find an expat pilot-trainer in Saudi Arabia who will get into an aircraft that has been maintained by Arabs.

    The Serb, though? They know very well what the reality is, and keep that in a separate box to operate on, themselves. There is always a clear hard line kept between the two. Or, so I’ve observed–It’s an interesting cultural difference to see. An Arab would typically use a parachute that he wasn’t sure was packed properly, in’shallah and all that; the Serb? Yeah, we’re gonna make sure that thing works, first… If he’s gotta use it.

  14. Wan Wei Lin says:

    Kirk. I have read the Qur’an and hadiths multiple times. The Arab deception goes all the back to Mohammed. Mo would ask his followers a simple question such as, What is today?” and the answer would be, “Only Allah and the prophet know.” Mo would then expound some crap and they would eat it up. What Mo should have done is tell them what a bunch of morons they were and kick their asses, but then he wouldn’t have his blood thirsty cult. As long as the Arabs/Muslims cling to In’shallah and everthing it entails they will always be a 7th century primatives.

  15. Kirk says:

    Had the acquaintance of an Arab guy who was remarkably switched-on, and assumed that since he was a Christian that he was a Maronite or something from Lebanon. He was from Lebanon, it turned out, but he said something one day that made me go “WTF? You were originally Muslim?”. So, I asked politely what had happened, that he’d converted and turned half his family into blood enemies that wanted him dead.

    The thing that did it for him was something I’d always kinda wondered about: He noticed that the Quran and Hadith both said it was perfectly fine to lie in the furtherance of the faith, and coupled that with the fact that Islam has always called Satan the “Father of Lies”. He’d noticed this in madrassa, asked, never got a satisfactory answer, and eventually the question caught up to him in later life, and he concluded that Islam was something created by Satan…

    Apparently, those two facts aren’t often connected in the Arab/Islamic mind, and once they see it, it can’t be unseen.

    I’ve said it before, but I am pretty sure that Islam is the only major world faith that condones lying anywhere, or that does it so clearly when it comes to getting the faith ahead. You’re positively enjoined to lie, as a faithful Muslim, which is… Unique, to my knowledge. Christians don’t do it, Buddhists don’t do it, Hindus don’t do it, and none of the larger fringe religions do that, either. Hell, most of them enjoin their faithful to tell the truth, as they see it. Only Islam asks them to lie…

    And, again: Who is the “Father of Lies”? Yeah. Satan. Just who exactly was Mohammed actually talking to, in that cave…?

  16. William Newman says:

    Kirk wrote “You’re positively enjoined to lie, as a faithful Muslim, which is… Unique, to my knowledge. Christians don’t do it, Buddhists don’t do it, Hindus don’t do it, and none of the larger fringe religions do that, either. Hell, most of them enjoin their faithful to tell the truth, as they see it. Only Islam asks them to lie…”

    Really? (And do you mean this as whether there’s direct scriptural support for it, or whether reasonably representative and powerful branches of the religion encourage it, or — to pick on the religion that I know most about — whether in modern times now that Christianity has been driven out of the glass house of actually ruling in practice, it is an opportune time for Christians to throw stones about how nicely principled they would be if they ever had serious political power?)

    The Bible does have many stories giving explicit encouragement for stubbornly professing one’s faith even when it’s terribly dangerous. But the Bible is also full of, e.g., polygamy, and it’s not terribly useful to conclude from that that Christianity is necessarily polygamous, because religions in practice can be rather aggressive about changing standards or maintaining multiple standards.

    If it is usefully true that reasonably mainstream branches of Christianity don’t support lying in pursuit of a policy of later converting the poor suckers by the sword, what was up with the Stuarts in the decade or so running up to the Glorious Revolution? This is not entirely a rhetorical question: I know it’d be relevant for me to read what the Stuarts themselves, and their close associates, say about monarchical lies about their faith and/or false promises of tolerance made in pursuit of the power to impose intolerance. I haven’t, only stumbled into a few pages of such primary sources, and a few chapters of books by modern secular apologists for James II. It might be even more relevant to read the writings of influential Jesuits on the subject, but I wouldn’t even know where to start. (I don’t know enough to decide who to consider influential.) But just from the bare historical facts, it looks as though there was important and unmistakable deception in favor of the Catholics generally and the Jesuits specifically, and as far as I know this deception was and is at least broadly winked at by Catholics generally and by the contemporary Jesuits specifically. Beyond that, I vaguely remember Macaulay in his History of England accusing (at least some) Jesuits of explicitly arguing in favor of dishonesty in pursuit of their policy objectives, but I didn’t do anything to investigate what Macaulay was referring to.

    Also, for a modern case in which I admittedly know even fewer of the relevant details, I’ve generally assumed that modern smuggling Bibles into states that make that illegal commonly involves some falsehood (e.g., on customs declarations), and further assumed that believers nodding about the brave holiness in such stories also make that assumption about dishonesty. Is that wrong?

  17. Kirk says:

    William Newman:

    Gee, can you show the rest of us where the nasty Christian badtouched you…? Just asking what everyone else is wondering.

    I note that you don’t say squat about anything in Islam, merely that Christians don’t live up to their faith much of the time. You also fail to point out anywhere in the scripture or doctrine of a Christian sect where they condone, let alone enjoin the Christian to lie to anyone. I can point you to numerous places in Islam where that exact, diametric opposite is written into their equivalents to the Scripture.

    I don’t think you know as much as you think you do, or you wouldn’t even attempt to dissimulate the way you are here–Your post is classic “whataboutist”, and in no way refutes what I said (which, to be honest, is actually a set of points that came from a convert from Islam…), nor does it do anything to support the argument that Christianity condones or enjoins lying in its doctrines or holy books.

    So, what was the point of your post, again? Other than that you hate Christians, that is?

    Oh, and by the way… I’m not Christian. Deist, maybe, like the Founders, but emphatically not a member of any Christian sect.

  18. Wan Wei Lin says:

    William Newman,

    Nowhere did Christ by example or command tell his followers to lie, cheat, kill, etc in His name. Those who have done these things have no textual support and distort the NT scriptures.

    Muslims lying, cheating, killing, etc are justified by the example and Qur’anic words of Mohammed who was a warlord, slave holder, pedophile and beheaded hundreds of captives personally. Jihad over the centuries has been considered by Islamic jurists the highest form of devotion with instant admission to paradise if a Muslim dies while fighting in the way of Allah.

    Devout Christian missionaries declare a message of salvation building hospitals schools along the way.

    Devout Muslims raiding out of Arabia killed 10s of millions to establish the caliphate across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and India. The survivors and conqueres both record the bloodshed and devastation. The survivors lament. The conquerors shout Allahu Akbar as they do today.

  19. Longarch says:

    “Muslims lying, cheating, killing, etc are justified by the example and Qur’anic words of Mohammed…”

    As for the example of Mohammed, I doubt we can prove anything.

    As for the words of the Quran, the pro-Islam boilerplate is at:

    The anti-Islam boilerplate is at:

    But I am surprised that no one has mentioned the obvious religious precedent for holy lies: Kol Nidre!

  20. Buckethead says:

    I’m about halfway through this book and enjoying it overall. The Scientology bit is weird, to be honest. I also liked Schantz’s books, and more generally I’ve always been a fan of conspiracy and hidden-history novels.

    But more accurately, I’m a fan of the first three quarters of conspiracy and hidden-history novels. The build up, the clues, the arcana and odd coincidences… fantastic fun.

    But where pretty much every single author screws up is in the reveal. The conspiracy’s final form is inevitably a let down; banal and hollow no matter how excellently constructed the set up.

  21. Gaikokumaniakku says:

    “Gee, can you show the rest of us where the nasty Christian badtouched you…? Just asking what everyone else is wondering.”

    It is incorrect to write “everyone else is wondering.” I was not thinking along those lines. I understand that Kirk’s off-color joke was intended to exaggerate the emotion expressed, but comparing an articulate response to the emotional trauma of a sexual abuse victim is intellectually dishonest.

  22. Neovictorian says:

    Though I visit here fairly regularly, somehow I missed until today that the distinguished Isegoria had read and written about my book. Much appreciated, sir!

    There are already a number of massive comments above; I’ll just touch on a few things that might be of interest to readers. No spoilers.

    Conspiracy thrillers are intriguing. And I don’t think we’re supposed to accept them as non-fiction. Exactly, yes.

    Sanity was originally begun as “Red Pill” and/or neoreactionary fiction. Also, for fun. I didn’t want it too be explicitly didactic, but my level of art is probably not high enough to conceal my intentions completely. Heinlein and Rand were didactic, and they sold a bunch of books. So Mote It Be.

    I left an “n” out of contubernium, dammit.

    Cal carries a .45 because he’s a Jeff Cooper fan and maybe it’s a compact model and has the shorter mag. I’m not sure–but it’s blued steel, I’m sure of that.

    ReHumanism is a jest, but it’s also a glancing examination of what Scientology might have been if Hubbard wasn’t Hubbard. There is a post on my blog about it:

    “The Outfit” is lifted almost whole from Heinlein’s “Homo Novis” in his novella “Gulf,” with, as Heinlein always said, “The serial numbers filed off.”

    But where pretty much every single author screws up is in the reveal. The conspiracy’s final form is inevitably a let down; banal and hollow no matter how excellently constructed the set up. Maybe.

  23. Longarch says:

    “I have read the Qur’an and hadiths multiple times. The Arab deception goes all the back to Mohammed.”

    The tradition of religious deception probably predates Mohammed.



  24. Isegoria says:

    I think I first noticed that contrast between build-up and reveal while watching the new breed of “smart” TV shows. Twin Peaks may be the canonical example. (I never started Lost…)

  25. Isegoria says:

    You’re very welcome, Neovictorian.

    It was immediately clear to me that Cal’s choice was inspired by Coop, but that’s a generation or two behind the times, when it comes to gun culture. You’re right that a compact “Commander” model would only hold 7 rounds though.

    I had read your piece on how Scientology could school the Neoreaction, but it didn’t spell out everything you’ve clearly researched and thought through. I’m intrigued.

    I’ve been meaning to review “Gulf” for a while now, but the queue is long.

  26. Neovictorian says:

    Reality will be available January 15, and there we find out where Cal got his .45 (“a 1950s Colt commercial model”) and his mags.

  27. Isegoria says:

    “Your father’s 1911. This is the weapon of a pistolero. Not as random or as clumsy as an uzi; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.”

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