The Somnolescent Manifesto

Principally written by mariteaux with editing and input from fellow Somnolians carrot, neo, cheren, capy, and dotcomboom

We dedicate this work to the public domain worldwide. Somnolescent is a concept as much as a collective, and we encourage sharing of our ideals. See for more information.

I. The Rise of Creation

It's hard to describe the aims of Somnolescent without first addressing what inspired it.

We all experience a growing sense of getting left behind every day. Left behind by a culture we're out of step with. Left behind by a changing internet, chasing attention rather than passion or excellence. Left behind by ourselves, in some cases. The past is still with us, by choice or by circumstance. Limitations bind us.

It's in these pressures that creation happens.

Creation is the ideal to strive for. It's a way to translate thoughts, ideas, pleasures, pains, and fantasies into something tangible. It's an escape for all parties involved. It's self-improvement—provided you keep yourself to it. It's passion, something to wake up to and breathe in deep, and something to stumble to when it hits the brain.

What's being created is of lesser importance. Our collective features musicians, writers, visual artists, coders, and worldbuilders alike, and we have room to grow further into new mediums. The important thing is that creation happens, and that the mindset for creation is there.

II. Being Somnolescent

In medical terminology, "somnolescent" refers to a tendency towards drowsiness. For Somnolians, "somnolescent" is just the natural state of being.

Taken literally, the focus on sleep (and indeed, the original meaning of our half-bulb insignia) is because Somnolians are not the most disciplined or structured bunch, and staying up long hours of the night and sleeping irregularly is how we operate. Less literally, however, it's a microcosm of everything we stand for, our modus operandi as creators.

Certain traits define a Somnolian:

  1. The drive to create, as discussed.
  2. An unshakable desire to keep moving, whether the present is any good or not. Ironically, despite sedate appearances, the last thing a Somnolian wants to do is stay in the same place.
  3. A fascination for the damaged, the bizarre, or the obsolete, or any combination of the three.
  4. A shared sense of isolation or alienation. Being alone brings us together, and Somnolians are fiercely loyal to those they care for.

In this sense, the bulb takes on meaning. It's an idea. One perhaps undercooked, with no real aim, a bit scuffed, and born out of an underlying fascination for times long gone, unseen, or intentionally buried, but an idea nonetheless. It's something to be fostered and explored.

Somnolians are a varied bunch. Some can't stand the noise and others live for it. Some of us are better with words than others. We specialize in pockets of niche knowledge and trades far apart from one another, converging to expand our horizons or just to enjoy something a bit different.

One thing stays true: even half-asleep, we put up a hell of a fight.

III. Ideals

Somnolescent comes down to five main ideals, all of which steel our resolve as creators and as people.

A. Passion

We call it many different things, but excitement and passion define a Somnolian. It's the minute, detailed, and yes, maybe arbitrary that drive us. The things that make us a little embarrassed for how loud we crow about them. We might not all share the same things to be passionate about, but we share passion.

B. Openness

Nothing will burn the river down faster than dishonesty, both dishonesty with each other and dishonesty with our work. Somnolescent means the freedom to dissent, to challenge, to disquiet. Disputes solved openly will always end better than dirt kept inside. This comes with the side effect of having to face the unfortunate and painful head on.

C. Anti-obsolescence

Nothing is ever truly obsolete. Things cast aside as such will always have a use for their characteristics or as a point of reference. In some cases, "obsolete" methods of doing things (such as CGA color palettes, Gopher, or 80-column text files like this one) are desireable precisely because of their weaknesses or limitations.

D. Experimentation

Somnolians are eager to try out different methods of solving problems or getting certain effects in our works. It keeps the occasionally tedious and frustrating process fresh and interesting. Even if it doesn't work, it's been tried, and that's worth more than it seems.

E. Interconnectivity

Our small size enables us to experience the benefits of both individuality and community. Both taken together create individuals that can stand on their own and be part of something bigger when advantageous. Collectives are nothing to be shunned; they're how things get done.

Put simply, Somnolians use the past to find the future, for ourselves and for each other. A Somnolian accepts a hectic existence, even within our own collective, with honesty and optimism. A Somnolian seeks the way forward tirelessly, even when something new is doomed to fail.

IV. Forward

For Somnolians, the way forward is always creation. Even as we slow down, burn out, get distracted, and grow anxious and fragmented, creation will come in the end. There is no rush and no price for creation. We often start from nothing and can continue from nothing at will.

The Somnolescent collective itself grows sporadically. A rather insular group (a Somnolian often distrusts until more information is available), the process of joining and where it takes place is up to legend. When it happens, it happens. Each Somnolian has a different story as to how they got here.

Our principles are concrete, but we constantly change as people. We push each other and we push ourselves. We have more than enough time and more than enough drive to keep us going, regardless of who gets in the way.

All will be fine in the end. The glow of the bulb will guide us all.