Home Culture WTF Is Randonauts?
WTF Is Randonauts - A marker found while randonauting

The Fatum Project was born as an attempt to research unknown spaces outside predetermined probability-tunnels of the holistic world and has become a fully functional reality-tunnel creating machine that digs rabbit holes to wonderland.

The Randonaut Introduction

A Primer in Randonauting

Gather round!  Today we’re looking into “Randonauting,” an elusive counter-cultural movement that’s been gaining traction, in part, due to the blossoming of its subReddit – r/Randonauts through viral meme sharing by its early adopters.

You’re probably asking the same thing we’re asking — Is it a game?  Some sort of ARG?  Or is it a novel form of collective narrative?  WTF is Randonauts?

Let’s start by breaking down the term:

Randonauting: a portmanteau (like cyberpunk!) of “random” and “naut” (short for “nautical”), which is related to travel through the water by the use of ships since ancient times (i.e. the Argonauts).

Now we have our new word, “Randonaut,” meaning an individual who travels through, or by using, randomness.

WTF Is Randonauts - Another randonauting meme
Courtesy of u/nickhintonn333

Explore The World You Never Knew Existed. A quantumly generated “Choose Your Own Adventure” reality game.

The Randonaut App Introduction

Randonautica — Sailing The Seas of Random

Let’s keep going.  Boats on water make sense, but how do you sail the seas of random?  What’s the medium, and what are the means (read: technologies) of the randonauts?  We’re talking about quantum randomness (and it only gets weirder), but what kind of tech let’s you take such a trip?  (read: where’s the boat?)

Unlike Psychonautics, which developed a praxis for traveling through one’s own psyche by means of catalyst (mainly drugs, virtual like art or actual like chemical substances), Randonautics does not make clear distinction between the medium and the means of exploration. One could easily say that the medium is quantum randomness and the specific technology is anything that can capture and direct this quantum randomness. That is why, taking into consideration the simplicity of the operation of traveling through water by means of a ship, we can say that the operation of traveling through quantum randomness by means of multiple technologies that direct quantum random sacks of sentience (read: us meatbags) is a complex operation.

But that is entering too much into the realm of “Randonaut Theory” for now. Perhaps you should check out the Randonaut Reader?

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What’s . . . Uh The Deal?

So, how come this spreading counter-cultural thing has became what it is becoming so fast?  The questions come back. Is it a game, or a cult? A meme-machine, or an ARG? As its creators claim: it can be all of the above. 

The whole point of this open collaborative project is to escape singular definition by going through “tunnels” of superposed reality (or unreality). Time for more theory.

Speaking freely as someone who formally studied quantum mechanics and advanced quantum physics in general, this sounds beyond crackpot.  Using that same authority as a quack experimental ontologist who abandoned mainstream science long ago, please hear me out and indulge me as I weave a cybernetician’s web of information around this very loose practice that is Randonauting.

From what I can gather, everything began on Reddit when u/unitiveconsciousness, or, as he is known in the community, “Comrade,” stumbled upon a weird potential technology just waiting to be polished — a technology he christened Fatum. Yes, dear readers, he stumbled onto this amazing discovery. According to Comrade, he “found it” rather than “made it” — it was given, not produced.

This origin story was an early catalyst that caused people to sniff the project out as a possible ARG in the making. Then, after seeing its potential, Comrade allied with others to develop a means of harnessing that free piece of technology, a touch of randomness that went previously unnoticed by our too well-adjusted radars and routines set by societal habit.

The Fatum Bot was the result of this collaboration, and it all started in the form of an app. The subreddit was created soon after, and as reports came in from trailblazing Randonauts, things began to snowball.

WTF Is Randonauts - The randonauting instructions - The Fatum Project
Courtesy of u/unitiveconsciousness

Seriously . . . What’s a Randonaut?

Many complex meme theory postulates and pseudo-monographs shared here and there in e-book format, plus iterative updates to the Fatum Bot project, later generated what would soon be known as Randonaut Theory. A wiki was created, along with the series of publications we mentioned earlier. “The Randonaut Reader” is currently awaiting the release of its second volume. The latter comes in an e-zine format with truly a diverse set of experimental works, from poetry to novel essays to weird fiction and beyond. 

But where did it all start?

We know of comrade’s encounter with the Fatum, and we know of the series of small experiments with collaborators here and there, but what was the sparkle that attracted that first movement that rapidly gained momentum to a snowballing effect? When did a burst of people first notice the movement?

How did a seemingly simple idea, a simple application, become a counter-cultural, meme-making organism?

Well, who knows?! That’s why we’re here?!  Right?

I previously mentioned my meager authority in quantum matters, so speaking as an amateur cultural researcher and neophyte Randonaut, my guess is that, for this aberration to have spread memetically, an individual cluster of memes was the original cause of infection.

We all know the rest, the cluster infects, reproduces, mutates, reproduces again, hybridizes, mutates some more, reproduces again . . . that old chestnut. But can we isolate the atoms of this individual cluster, of the root cause of the virulent spread? Among others, I pin-pointed the two most significant events that would become memetically potent signifiers and would potentially disseminate the mystery of the project to a wider audience than the subreddit was garnering at its beginning.

Event: The First

The first memetic event was when someone, an unknown user, had, during their trip, an ineffable encounter with a white owl (the type that fly so silently that you cannot capture the sound of its wings, not even using professional equipment) – and then posted about it, astonishing the Randonauts group.  

From that point onwards, everyone was desperately trying to find one of those mystic birds. Some dreaming about them, some shitposting about them, collectively going paranoid about owls appearing everywhere in the growing community that now attracted a diverse cast of characters from the deepest corners and fringes of society. It even became the community’s official mascot.

Editor's Note: Perhaps the owls are not what they seem?
WTF Is Randonauts - An owl seen while randonauting
Source of owl is unknown. Whose owl is this? Let us know!

Event: The Second

For the second event, I bring you the true hidden mascot of the community. For the veteran Randonauts, this is a true symbol of the project.  This is the grandaddy meme that sprouted from the, even then, fertile soil.

An image that was posted when someone, someone even more lucky than the “first-owl-finder” during a trip, found a bottle abandoned somewhere, filled with anonymous piss. Yes, a piss bottle was the meme that, according my research, catapulted Randonauting into the e-sport phenomenon it is today, as thousands of people started competing not to catch Pokémons, but to find piss bottles.

WTF Is Randonauts - A piss bottle found while randonauting
Courtesy of u/Divine_Mode

Randonauts Seek The Deathly Hallows

As the Randonauts lore dictates, the two most charged artifacts you may hope to find on a given Randonauting trip are an owl and a piss bottle, and if you find both during the same trip you should probably play the lottery, as you might have maxed your base luck stats while glitching the matrix as you commonly do as the basics of Randonauting.   Hey, it happens.

WTF Is Randonauts - A randonauting meme
Courtesy of u/Fishk_

No Bad Vibes

In my culture, owls, especially albino ones, are seen as a sign of incoming tragedy, usually death or illness. To see an owl at night, as it hunts, is almost as bad luck as you can get, only trumped by the bird flying over your home.  Let’s not even talk about what it means if it sits on your roof for a while.  Okay, if we really must, the mythology suggests that full-blown incoming death is imminent for at least one of the people living under said roof.

Nowadays, as one should expect, these owls aren’t seen as frequently. And so, perhaps even more alarmingly, is the fact that nobody has the audacity, or really just the necessity, to piss in bottles around here. Everyone just pisses in the corner, or on trees that are closer to the corner.

If I had encountered one piss bottle for every owl I’ve seen while Randonauting . . . I guess nothing would change. Given my experience, if you find an owl, you might scare your superstitious aunt, but if you find a piss bottle just abandoned somewhere in the street or the forest, then that might mean something really fucked up is going on and you might be attacked out of nowhere by a psychotic-looking man-wolf jumping out of nowhere from the shadows completely in the nude, achieving full-random.

It hasn’t happened with me yet, but just how awesome wouldn’t that be?!  One can always dream.     

Hey, chum. These posts don't write themselves. If you wanna stay in the know, it's gotta be a two way street.*

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