square: the drift

Drift Science and Compatibility

In (somewhat belated) honor of K-Day, I submit unto the fandom a canon-supported theory of drift compatibility and testing, based on PPDC officer UIDs.

ex. 1 (graphic)

ex. 2 (additional canon examples)

Raleigh Becket   R-RBEC_122.21-B
Mako Mori   R-MMAK_204.19-V

Stacker Pentecost   M-SPEN_970.89-Q
Hercules Hansen   R-HHAN_832.84-G
Chuck Hansen   R-CHAN_512.66-D

Newton Geiszler   S-NGEI_100.11-Y
Hermann Gottlieb   S-HGOT_471.120-V


Harlowe-Sheehan-Parker Compatibility Index: Ranging from 100 to 999, the HSP index indicates range of compatibility with other drift-capable individuals. The lower the number, the smaller the range of potential drift partners for the individual in question. A person with a lower HSP score is less flexible in dealing with dramatically different brainstyles, and requires a drift partner with either significant shared life experience, a high mutual degree of trust, or a close CORO pattern. Someone with a higher HSP score is significantly more adaptable to drift partners of disparate backgrounds, experience, and CORO profiles. Observe above how Stacker Pentecost and Herc Hansen have extraordinarily broad indices and thus may drift with nearly anyone.

CORO pattern: CORO patterns are shorthand for cognitive architecture, how a person thinks, processes input, makes decisions, etc. The range for CORO patterns is 1 to 99. If two people have the same CORO, they can establish a stable drift connection. Whether or not they can sustain a drift is a different matter, but generally being within twenty points of each other is enough to have a solid drift whether they get along or not. Mako and Raleigh are two points apart: they are Jaeger soulmates. Note that Stacker and Herc are five points apart: they are also Jaeger soulmates. Observe that Hermann’s CORO number is 120. The zero stands for a medical exemption, recommending against drifting due to his illness. Otherwise, he and Newt are a point apart.

Juno Keeler Trauma and Stress Tolerance Rating: Ranging from A to Z, from most stable to most easily destabilized, the Keeler rating (also abbreviated KTSTR, pronounced ‘kitster’) measures emotional volatility and resilience, and is also used as a general indicator for how likely someone will go to pieces inside the drift. Less precise than the HSP index and CORO pattern, the Keeler rating is based on in-person psychological evaluation and consideration of any previously lived trauma and/or extant mental illness. Note that a high Keeler rating does not contraindicate drifting, merely offers a warning for potential difficulties. Newt’s high rating is likely due to a mood disorder; Mako’s may be attributed to Tokyo. Observe also how close Raleigh and Chuck are to the beginning of the alphabet. Raleigh arguably had a fairly stable upbringing and, especially given his rating was handed out pre-Knifehead, a mature and level emotional response. Chuck might also have had a stable childhood before Scissure, and his low Keeler rating indicates he is not overly damaged by the experience, he isn’t emotionally-compromised, he’s just an ass.

IF YOU FEEL INCLINED TO USE THIS IN WORKS OF FICTION: I offer this drift science to the fandom for free, no catch, under a creative commons license. Adapt as your fanfictional needs require so long as no profit is involved. I thought the idea was too good not to share. If you do use it, please credit and/or link back to me, and feel free to message me also because I want to see what you do with it.

This is canon-compliant until canon proves otherwise. Go forth, beloveds, AND CREATE!

The Drift: Empathy in Trauma

Can we talk for a minute about Pacific Rim’s concept of The Drift as a metaphor for empathy toward a loved one’s trauma? 

The Drift enables you to be inside someone else’s mind, experiencing their thoughts, feelings and memories. Raleigh didn’t just watch his brother die, he felt it, as though he was dying himself. And later, in the trial run with Mako, he didn’t just sense that she was having a flashback. He was present in the flashback with her, experiencing it with her. 

Trauma is often very isolating. We have an experience or set of experiences that have so changed us, even defined us, and yet, in many cases, we find it difficult or even impossible to either speak of the experience, or to get a listener to understand what we are saying. Even if the listener is sympathetic, they often cannot really understand. 

The Drift changes all that. When Raleigh was with young Mako in her Tokyo flashback, he saw her pain and her fear firsthand. In chasing the R.A.B.I.T., Mako was triggered into a full-blown panic attack. It didn’t matter that the kaiju she saw wasn’t real. It felt real. When comforting someone who’s having a panic attack, it’s easy to get frustrated at their apparent irrationality. But Raleigh didn’t get frustrated. He stayed with her. He kept talking to her, kept the line of communication open, and was there for her when she came out of it.

As Raleigh explains to Mako, it takes a lot of trust to let someone else into your mind. The Drift weds extreme vulnerability to extreme empathy. But once your co-pilot is in your mind, you no longer have to try to explain your trauma, because they get it. It’s a relief to know that someone else understands. It’s a relief to know you’re not alone.

Fleeting Feelings with Justin Vivian Bond, in “The Drift”

A Helix Critical Squad Review by Doug Keeler

Getting off is easy, staying still is hard.

– Justin Vivian Bond, “Wild Card”

Justin Vivian Bond knows how to subvert a performance, whether that performance is gender, a cabaret number, or a Brecht play.  And where traditional theater might aim to minimize disruptions in the performance (e.g. distressed divas, forgotten lines, sneezes in the audience), a Bond show delights in these breakdowns, and specializes in making them both entertaining and accessible.  Because after all, Bond loves performance, excels at it, and is rightfully famous for an improvisational instinct that shreds scripts and leaves audiences in a state of giddy shock.

Where v has previously done so through histrionics and hysteria, v’s cabaret show “The Drift” instead explores the softer disjunctures and dysphorias that defiantly emerge from a performance.  Using Tennessee Williams’ The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone as an entry point, “The Drift” elaborates upon these lonely, lucid breaks, and through v’s entrancing voice, challenges the audience to decorate otherwise unspectacular affects.  By decorating them, dressing them up in “jazz, poetry, and notions,” v produces an elongated sense of relief— like the feeling of flesh airing out after taking a bandage off a small, healed cut— that makes the show so, so soothing.

At its core, “The Drift” represents a determined act of self-care in response to the strict discipline of traditional theater.  (Bond spent this past winter enduring a starring role in Bertolt Brecht’s “A Man’s a Man” at Classic Stage Company.)  Swirling together source materials ranging from Tim and Jeff Buckley to the Landesmans’ The Nervous Set, the show serves to retrieve the pieces of Bond’s artistic voice that had been scattered and stashed away.  How fortunate that Justin Vivian Bond’s acts of self-care happen to also nourish and entertain v’s patrons, fans, and community!  It’s an awfully familiar challenge to reconcile caring for oneself and caring for one’s community, but v manages to do so with finesse, suggesting that perhaps the queer project of “world-making” can be less intimidating than it sounds.

A few months ago, I’d heard v speak at an event at NYU’s Performance Studies department.  Asked by the deeply missed José Esteban Muñoz what v thought of “the good life,” v began a verbose anecdote revolving around Karen Graham (The Estee Lauder Woman), fly-fishing, and striving to feel “serene.”  Justin Vivian’s reflections on the serene manifested similarly in “The Drift,” not as a resolution to be happy, but as a question of how to feel free and not feel empty, to drift and not drown.  Nowhere was this question (or anxiety) more directly felt than during Justin Vivian’s premiere of v’s new original song “Wild Card.”   The song’s soulful hook, “getting off is easy / staying still is hard,” captures Bond’s fear for a freneticism that must inevitably wane, whether in v’s love life or in v’s queer communities, a fear that we will not know how to feel or act or care when we lose our wildness.  Through “The Drift,” v experiments with performing a queer self that is voluntarily relaxed, rather than being filed down by force.  And that wildness hasn’t been forfeited completely either, but crucially inspires us to stay afloat.

Perhaps my favorite moment of “The Drift” is when Bond describes jumping into a nearby boat with a handsome man and drifting down a dark river, drunk on whiskey and high on “something that if you mixed with color you could use as makeup.”  Effortlessly, v sutures the queer survival strategies of getting high and getting pretty, an echo of Muñoz’s utopian prescription to “[take] ecstacy with one another, in as many ways as possible…”  In this fashion, the performance ornaments a series of sad and bad feelings, fleeting feelings that make themselves known as much in the wistful camp of Tennesse Williams’ The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone as in the nostalgic whimsy of Bambi Lake’s “Viking Dan.”

“The Drift” challenges its audience to find glamor in not only the hysterical breaks of v’s performances, but also in more mellow modes of distress, wherein we might feel in-between, adjacent, or adrift.  Justin Vivian’s rendition of Jeff Buckley’s “So Real” perfectly presents this challenge, as v’s voice washes over the room with Buckley’s haunting moans before frantically vocalizing the song’s instrumental break.  Aside from v’s vocal performance being simply stunning, it supplied a break in the performance that differed from the breakdowns that characterized Bond’s “Kiki and Herb” shows.  Rather than take audiences to the heights or depths of feeling, the breakdowns of “So Real,” and the emotional narrative of “The Drift” in its entirety, take us toward its horizon.  This alternative affective journey is crucial to what makes “The Drift” so enjoyable, because it allows Bond to be unpredictable, vulnerable, and nostalgic while still radiating with an incontrovertible sense of hope.


The Drift. Joe’s Pub, March 13 - April 11, 2014. Written & Performed by Justin Vivian Bond, Directed by Scott Wittman, Music Directed by Matt Ray. 

Photo by Earl Dax

linaleah-deactivated20150610  asked:

weren't Stacker and Tamsin platonic best friends? I thought it was part of the awesome of the drift, that you didn't need to be related (or lovers) to be drift compatible. in fact it was the ability to open up and trust your partner was what determined compatibility (as well as similarities in thinking processes). otherwise, Raleigh testing with people he hadn't met before would have made no sense, (I'm also a firm believer of friendship being a necessary foundation to any close relationship)

That’s absolutely right about friendship being the foundation. That’s what they all share. The question of relatives versus best friends, or romantic partners versus best friends really confuses the nature of what it is that makes a bond work. They’re all essentially “best friends.” That is the bedrock upon which all other interpersonal facts and details occur.

icelandix  asked:

Do you think best friends could drift together? Yeah they wouldn't have the same connection as brothers or sisters but could it be done?

Sure, they might even have a better connection than some siblings. There aren’t really any genetic predictors of compatibility. It’s mostly psychological.

pacificrimscience  asked:

Why do Jaeger pilots talk out loud to their co-pilots while Drifting? Even experienced teams such as the Kaidanovskys and the Wei Tang triplets do this, which seems odd to me because I'd expect them to just use their headspaces for communication by that point.

The first time you drift can be very confusing. Especially if you share no common memory reference points with your partner. It’s hard to use the headspace effectively at first. It can feel very impressionistic. Your minds are still learning one another’s “vocabulary” (for lack of a better term). But it gets easier, if you do it right. You learn how to read each other.

First time pilots are trained to “call” their moves 1) to focus the thought and 2) to teach your partner how to read you correctly. Kinda like tags or footnotes to the thought stream. You’ll see that Raleigh’s chatter is generally pretty light on details, and yet Mako instantly gets what he means. When he shouts, “Let’s do this,” she requires nothing more; they’re both picturing it – run, fist up, rocket jump, fist down. (They probably don’t even know which one of them had the idea.)

The more experienced pilots often still call moves purely out of habit, but also so that LOCCENT can keep up.

shmackles  asked:

Hi there! Quick question/clarification: A neural handshake is kind of like the pilot's brains having Show and Tell while they are busy trying to fight kaijus, and when a pilot chases the rabbit they get sucked into the subconscious exchange? And when Raleigh relived Yancy's death, Mako's brain responded with her own traumatic backstory? Or am I totally off base...

Yeah, so basically there’s like an open channel between the two minds. The other pilot feels your feelings, experiences your reactions, “overhears” whatever random thing jumps into your mind, etc. And there’s a kind of super-fast thought dialogue that can happen in the “headspace.” The good ones can do it so fast that it’s essentially like they’re pausing reality to talk about something. In the graphic novel, we see Lightcap and D’Onofrio in the “headspace.” That whole exchange between them happens in what amounts to about one second of real time.

The RABIT is a memory that overpowers you. It’s often something traumatic, but it can be just any really heavy memory. It’s like a self-reinforcing feedback situation. You get sucked into the experience of the recollection at the expense of your awareness of your actual surroundings in the pod.

And yeah, what happened in the movie was that Raleigh was reminded of his last time in the pod and what happened to Yancy. Mako saw it and more importantly felt his flash of terror as her own. It was as if his subconscious had said to hers, “Think Tokyo.” This is why he feels so guilty about her getting raked over the coals for it.

PACIFIC RIM Lexicon Entry #2: Headspace

In an active neural handshake, the interlaced subconsciouses form a “headspace.“ This is the arena of the drift in which the bridged minds communicate. It can feel literal or quite abstract, conversational or highly subliminal. Each crew unconsciously negotiates its own consensus expression. But the result in most cases grows to be much faster than verbal communication. An experienced crew will find that increasingly sophisticated deliberations can play out in a matter of seconds.

PACIFIC RIM Lexicon Entry #1: Ghost-Drifting

A rare, unanticipated consequence of the neural handshake is that a crew will sometimes find that their link remains somewhat active (though muted) even after they’ve disconnected from the hardware. This will invariably manifest as shared dreaming. The condition is known to the pilots as ghost-drifting. It is not common, but the first reported case came reliably from Doctor Caitlin Lightcap herself, the inventor of the Pons system. Even so, Doctor Lightcap and the PPDC’s other experts remain at a loss to explain the mechanisms behind this phenomenon.


There are things you can’t fight - acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger, you can finally fight the hurricane. You can win.

Beyond connecting with the mind of another pilot, one of the most interesting aspects of piloting a Jaege, for me, was the way in which the pilots become embodied in the Jaeger as distinct consciousnesses connected in an interdependent bridge. As depicted in the film and the source material (see the quote from the novel above), the neural bridge acts to connect the two pilots together so that they function as a single individual within the Jaeger. So, to me, when Raleigh says “when you’re in a Jaeger,” I believes he literally means “in,” as in inhabiting the Jaeger as if it was his own body. So, this is the thing that I want to explore: the two Jaeger pilots as embodied in the Jaeger itself.

So, what is embodiment? In philosophy, embodiment is the idea that the way in which we inhabit our bodies has an effect on the development of our consciousness. The differences in our bodies (the “body” in “embodiment”) make a massive difference in the way in which we experience and interact with the world, hence, even Identical twins do not form identical personalities because their modes of embodiment are different. To this end, the concept of embodiment, or “cognitive embodiment,” treats the mind and the body as interdependent upon one another: if an individual had a different body, their experience and consciousness would be accordingly different.

So, before taking the brief sketch of embodiment and applying it to the Jaeger itself, we need to talk about the neural drift. The quote above gives a first person look at what it is to be in the drift with someone else: there are two individual connected as an organic whole, distinct yet connected. When Raleigh makes a motion, Mako completes it; where he ends, she begins. To this end, Raleigh and Mako think of themselves as both subject and object: Raleigh can see the end of his connection and the beginning of hers, and Mako can see the end of her connection and the beginning of his, yet neither moves without the other. That is to say, any action taken while in the neural bridge by one pilot, is an action taken by the other pilot as well, as if there was no distinction between the two.

Now, taking the bridged individuals as the “mind,” we can look at the Jaeger itself as the body. The supplemental material discussing piloting a Jaeger describes the experience as the bridged pilots moving the Jaeger as it it were their own body. We can see a bit of this happening in the gifs above: when Raleigh and Mako take a fighting stance, Gipsy Danger mirrors the motion, as if it were their own body. Sharing the neural load, the two pilots inhabit Gipsy, not like a pilot flying an aircraft, or even a motorcyclist riding his bike, but as a mind within a body, with all of the pitfalls that apply.

Here is where the discussion gets interesting: embodied consciousness typically assumes that the consciousness grows with the body. Again, in the brief sketch offered above, our minds would not be the same minds were we embodied in a different body. For Jaegers, the connection is close, but not as individualized: the movie makes a point that the Jaegers must be calibrated for their pilots before the synchronization can take place. That is, the Jaegers must become the bodies for their pilots, they must be made individual for each of their pilots through a process of calibration so that the mind can inhabit the body as if it were born with it. On this point, I don’t see a problem for thinking about the pilots as becoming embodied within the Jaeger, but it does introduce the notion that the embodiment will be different for different pilots.

The clearest visual evidence for this is with Gipsy Danger, as presented in the gifs above. When Gipsy is calibrated for Raleigh and Yancy, the body language is almost totally different: Gipsy moves with an arrogant, aggressive swagger, she fights more like a prize fighter, and there is more “power” in her strikes. We can view this as the blending of Yancy and Raleigh’s minds (including their fighting styles) being embodied within Gipsy: one of the more interesting things is the way that Gipsy’s swagger is mirrored in the Beckett boys when the audience is introduced to them.

On the other hand, when Mako and Raleigh are embodied in Gipsy, there exists an edge of aggression in her movements, however, this appears to be tempered by Mako’s precision. Her strikes have little in the way of wasted motion, and each has a determined goal beyond smashing into the particular Kaiju.Gipsy’s walk, while it possesses a little bit of Raleigh’s swagger, it is more of a purposive, determined stride than it is a challenge issued through body language.

Further, the distinction in their embodiment (the way they inhabit their body) comes out in the stances they adopt: In the above gif, Mako/Raleigh embodied in Gipsy adopts a combat stance that is more in line with what we see out of MMA fighters: gone are the double handed overhead strikes, replaced with a more conservative defensive stance that allows for grappling and close-in fighting. On the other hand, Yancy/Raleigh seemed to prefer a more aggressive stance favored by boxers, keeping Gipsy’s hands closer to the body and utilizing more “power” shots.

We may chalk the distinction in the stances to a different composition of the bridged “mind” that inhabits the Jaeger: the Beckett brothers were more rash, more aggressive in their combat styles, as evidenced by their actions in Alaska. Against this, Raleigh and Mako exhibit an aggression tempered by Mako’s precision: they waste little time with their combat, employing quick, precise strikes designed to take down the Kaiju as quickly as possible.

To this end, no Jaeger will be the same when it embodies different pilots: as the bridged pilots literally become the Jaeger they operate, and the bridge joins the individuals, a change in any of the individuals would result in a change in the Jaeger itself. Further, it seems to be the case that one pair of pilots is attached to a single Jaeger at a time, and that Jaeger is calibrated for those pilots. To this end, the Jaeger itself will be different depending upon who is embodied within the Jaeger. Thus, I think “piloting” is a bad way to talk about what happens to individuals connected to a Jaeger: “becoming” or “embodying” the Jaeger is a more apt description.

Also, credit goes to whomever captured the gifs and the text from the novelization.

theavocadowithoutfear  asked:

You share an intimacy that you can't replicate with other people when you enter the drift. Do you think it's hard for people whose non blood related co-pilot was of their preferred gender to not fall in love? Have any jaeger pilots lost their marriages because they realize they're more compatible with their co-pilot?

Well I don’t wanna get into circumstances or specifics, so I’ll start with a basic hypothetical. Being good at using the drift indicates a level of trust that would be the envy of most couples. Toss mutual physical attraction into that mix, and it will be more or less impossible to hide from one another. So when all that lines up, the only remaining question becomes, “Is there any reason not to?” That’s going to be different in every case.

I don’t want to sound glib. It can be ruthlessly simple or it can get complicated. It’s a thing people have to figure out for themselves. I would say that it’s not uncommon for non-related pairs of aligned inclinations to have – err – had some late nights. Even if it doesn’t really go anywhere. Not without exception, of course. But it happens.