Embracing Uncertainty with BitTorrent

Avery Edison combats ennui with copyright infringement.


When most solutions and explanations are just a Google or Wiki away, how are we to come to grips with the unknowable, the unsolvable, the unsearchable? Like everything else you could ever want, the answer lies in BitTorrent.

The Uncertainty of Solitude

0 seeds, 0 peers. Are you to keep your client running, ports open for incoming connections? Or are you truly alone, nobody sharing with you the Full Series Run of Clarissa Explains It All (XViD) (Ht3) that you seek?

Recognize that you can’t change anything — not the past, not the future, and definitely not the number of Nickelodeon fans who do the right thing and upload at least as much as they download.

You may be forever alone, searching for those VHS rips of Melissa Joan Hart, but in that loneliness is comfort — for if you are the only one connecting to the tracker via this particular torrent, then you are master of your domain. Or, at the very least, master of your IP address.

The Uncertainty of Inertia

2.3 KB/s. 5.6 KB/s. 2.1 KB/s. The latest episode of HBO’s Girls is out there, and people are sharing, but your internet connection won’t budge. Will the .mkv file ever arrive?

Remember, an ocean that increases by just one drop still increases. With every second, you have more of Lena Dunham’s show than you had before. Perhaps you do not need completeness, perhaps you only need progress.

That said, you really have to see this week’s episode. Maybe stream it?

The Uncertainty of Self

$675,000 Fine in RIAA File-Sharing Case. With each attempt to grab Blink-182’s entire discography from Demonoid, you open yourself up to assault from the legal system. Will it be you next? Will you have to empty your pockets? Will your uncle Jeff represent you in court, even though his specialty is more contracts and corporate mergers?

It is true that your next download could provoke a cease and desist from Johnny Law. And yet, that will not stop you. Since worrying will not help, choose to forgo concern. Let go. Consider the danger of peer-to-peer sharing just another one of “All the Small Things.”

The Uncertainty of the Tangible

267 GB used. 134 GB available. Your hard drive is full of so many TV shows, so many movies, so much music. And yet, to the human eye, nothing in your hardware has changed. Are you gaining anything at all? Does something exist if it cannot be touched? Wait, is Adventure Time really taking up ten gigabytes?

We are surrounded by the invisible-yet-authentic. Air, heat, electricity. Oh, actually, you can see electricity… and heat makes those wobbly lines in the air on hot days… I suppose those examples don’t count.

Look, just because you can’t hold a jpeg in the palm of your hand, that doesn’t mean you can’t observe its beauty. It is, like your downloads, both real and unreal. And when you watch — or listen to — a piece of media, it becomes tangible in your mind. Although… have you ever seen your mind? How do you know that it exists?

Yeah. Totally trippy, right?

The Uncertainty of Time

154 episodes x 50 minutes = 5 days, 8 hours, 20 minutes. Wow. Are you ever going to be able to find time to watch all of The West Wing? Who knew the damn thing was so long? I mean, I know the download was huge, but jeez…

Like bytes through the router, these are the days of our lives. There will never be enough time to consume all the entertainment on offer, to experience everything that you could possibly download.

To come to grips with this essential truth is to face your own mortality. I cannot walk you through this step; there is no Dealing with Death for Dummies.

Oh wait, yes there is. The eBook is on the Pirate Bay.

Avery Edison is a comedian and writer. She is just barely smart enough to include a link to her Twitter in this bio.