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I penned the original version of Beneath the Construct in 2006 when I was a newbie psion, just starting out and learning how things worked.  My perspective and my methods have changed since then, and for that reason I’ve tried to have the article removed from the web, with limited success.  Aside from people posting it online without permission, I’m finding that my old articles are being referred to in psionics classes (well, *a* psionics class, anyway).  Clearly there’s a need for an article on the subject.  Instead of bitching about my out-of-date article being referred to, I’ve decided to re-write it.

This is intended to help budding psions sharpen their skills and gain a better understanding of what they are capable of.  That won’t happen if I limit exposure, so feel free to post this article anywhere you’d like.  Things have a way of showing up everywhere online, anyway.  You can drop me a line for whatever reason at lesenthe at gmail dot com.

The first time I actually perceived a construct’s programming was when I was discussing caging with a friend on IRC.  A cage, if you’re not familiar with the term, is psionics parlance for a construct which limits a practitioner’s ability to do things.  He was laughing about having dropped a simple mirror shield over some kids and seeing them jump up and down when they realised they couldn’t get out.  We had a chuckle, and I stepped outside for a cigarette, noticing immediately that he’d dropped one on me.

Muttering a few choice words under my breath for the prankster, I opened up and took a look at the construct.  Sure enough, it was a simple mirror shield, designed to reflect anything I cast back at myself.  Nothing too fancy, but the fact remained that the shield was too strong for me to bust out of.  For the duration of my cigarette, at least, I was stuck.  Or was I?

On a whim, I switched my perspective from the quasi-realism that showed the construct as a mirror-like cage, and attempted for the first time to perceive the programming that made it what it was.  At the time, I had no experience in reading programming, and had no idea what to expect.  To be honest, the idea of trying to understand how an invisible energetic creation worked was fairly daunting.  I opted to simply “look” at what the programming looked like, rather than trying to read its purpose.  The immediate visual was of something very different.  The shape of the construct became a ghostly outline, with the programming appearing as glowing lines or wires in a repeating pattern throughout the construct.

“Now,” I mused, looking over the pattern, “what do I do with this new-found knowledge?”  The answer was very simple.  Instead of attacking the shield and having the energy rebound, why not attack the programming itself?  Take a moment to consider what a construct is.  It is a lump of energy, squeezed into a pretty shape and programmed to do something.  Take away the programming, and you are left with a fairly unintimidating lump of energy.  Ripping out the glimmering filaments of programming, I gave the shield a tap, and it shattered in mirror-like fashion.  In taking out the programming that made it reflect energy, I also removed the programming that held the shield together.  To conclude my little tale, I bounced back to the PC to confirm that I had, indeed, destroyed the mirror shield.  I should mention that I was not quite as thorough as I might have been, though, and left behind enough of the original programming to regenerate the shield in its entirety, but that’s another issue.

Let’s get on to the practicalities.

What I failed to mention in my original article is that my own visual perception of the construct’s programming is quite unlikely to match yours, unless you go into the exercise expecting to see what I saw.  When we attempt to perceive an energetic phenomenon visually, we are using our imagination to come up with a picture we can relate to.  The mind receives the information, and makes a visual symbol of that information for you to relate to.  Because I had no idea what programming should look like (and who does, really?) my mind provided a simple reference that I could use; that of shining lines.  What I saw as lines, you may see as something else.  I no longer see things that way at all, as a matter of fact.  The important thing is that the information is being relayed to you by your mind, not that your experience conforms to somebody else’s definition of what something should look like.

Create a simple construct.  If you don’t know how to do that, refer to the very long-winded Constructs for Newbies.  In keeping with tradition, you might like to start with a simple psi-ball, with some programming in addition to that which holds the ball together.  You might like to repeat my original experiment and make a simlpe shield instead, programmed to reflect energy.

To view the programming, simply “look” at the construct mentally, and tell yourself what you want to see.  It’s a simple act of will, no more complex or difficult than deciding to see something energetically rather than physically, or choosing to highlight a specific tether or link in a large group.  The trick is that of choosing how you wish to perceive the construct in your mind’s eye.  Trust your subconscious.  It knows better than you do how to cover the technicalities.  What do you see?  When focusing in this way, I usually see the construct as a transparent outline, revealing the programming within.  As stated, the visual is merely a way of perceiving something that exists.  Relax, and allow your mind to paint a picture from the information it’s receiving.  If you can see the construct in your mind’s eye, you’ll be able to sense something of the programming.  All we’re focusing on at this point is how the programming appears when you attempt to perceive it visually.  Take the time to become accustomed to the new perspective, and play with it a bit.  What shape does the programming take?  Is colour a consideration at all?  If you’re oriented in that direction, different colours may mean different things.  If not, different shapes could have different meanings.  It’s all a matter of your personal symbolism, how your mind conveys the information to you.  For a simple construct, you will see a more simple representation.  Try creating a more complex construct and notice the difference between the two.  Are the patterns uniform, or are there blank spots?  Do certain areas of the construct represent different functions?  If so, what differences show in the programming?

When you’ve had your fill of just looking, try manipulating the programming directly.  You’ll find it’s no more difficult than putting it there in the first place, and certainly easier than tackling a shield in the normal fashion.  See what happens when you remove certain parts of the programming, and leave the rest in place.  I’ve always felt that experimentation is the best way to learn.  See what happens when you close the gaps in the programming, making it more “dense”.  Do different things to it, and have fun.  Try the same trick with other people’s constructs.

You’ll find a lot of practical applications for this technique.  For those who favour non-visual methods of programming, this method lends itself well to analysis.  Seeing the programming means you can ensure visually that your creation is sound.  For example, it’s common for psions – especially in the early stages of training – to have their programming unevenly distributed.  It will also let you close some potential gaps in your own defense.  If the prankster in the beginning of my story had been more thorough in his programming I probably wouldn’t have been able to break free.  Once you learn to manipulate programming directly, you can learn to defend against it.  Try programming the programming to resist tampering.  You can also make the programming difficult to read, which is usually called “masking”.  Not only can you hide the programming, you can make it appear as something other than what it is.

This article is not intended to be exhaustive.  We’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be done when you directly manipulate programming, and I’ve left it that way for a very good reason.  You’ll learn far more with a few ideas and a lot of practice than you will with a lengthy essay alone.  I know I did.

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