God exists, the devil exists, the Bible is true, this is known, not the ravings of a mad man, don’t ask for my name, I am not a believer, at least I wasn’t, rather a man who spent the past 36 years working for the US Government, most of those in the basements of the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and the past 8 serving as a liaison between the NSA and the CIA, a job I thought would be easy, a way to earn my pension while still on the payroll, little work, no stress, pushing papers, setting up meetings, only my penchant for exactness, long viewed as unnecessary now that our thinking machines can do that so much better than we, has led me to evidence, clear, incontrovertible evidence, and I say this not to gloat maybe not even to alarm, though in truth the news shakes me to my core, is that God is real, the devil is real, the Bible is true, all of it, and more than that, this has all been known by a select few within the US Government since the very beginning of the US Government, even before, in fact, as the very founding of the United States of America, the primary impetus for Europeans to formally colonize this land, was precipitated by a secret meeting between the then-King of England — and this is also known by a few living persons, now me included — and the Pope, because a group of monks in what we now call Montenegro came upon evidence — I can’t say more than this, lest Giant Brain targets me for elimination — evidence that proves the truthfulness of the Bible, all of it, and for the past several hundred years the shift of Europeans, then Asians, now Africans to this place we call the United States of America, has been a concerted multi-century effort keep the world destabilized, at war, in a constant struggle with each other, economically, culturally, politically, so as to keep us focused on a specific version of God and faith and worship, right and wrong, good and bad, weak and strong, all to ensure we remain willing believers — not in God — but in the State, enabling some to grow ever more powerful, more wealthy, and with time enough to develop a means of transferring human consciousness — of a select few — into a vessel that will allow these select ((humans)) to live forever, immortal, free from death, free from God, this is why the bones — the DNA — of select leaders have been preserved, they will be resurrected, and this whole effort, America, migration, the global economy, it was all a way to keep pushing society relentlessly forward, never allowing us to enjoy the blessings of our world, the blessings of our (brief) time alive, but to keep pushing pushing pushing until we developed the means of constructing a **literal** immortality for a few persons, which is now achievable, that’s the other evidence I uncovered, it’s all linked together, a way of uploading the brain and thoughts of select individuals into a entity that can keep them safe, keep them linked to Giant Brain, and soon — this is expected in about another 30 years — allow this entity with them safely inside to travel through space, living, learning, growing more god-like, all while the rest of us continue to fight and work and push and hate and jostle one another, all because a few hundred years ago, evidence was discovered that the Bible is real and Jesus is returning, in 2057, to be exact, and most will die and a few will go to heaven and the select few that were in on this truth don’t want either of those options, I’m not sure which one I’d take, to be honest, they want to remain as they are, but in a form that lets them live forever, untouchable, and I’m sharing this with you because if you want that third option, the option presented only to a few, the option to become an immortal non-human, it’s possible though I suspect it will require an actual military coup against our own government.
The bus stops, the people gather, curious, demanding, hopeful, they are desperate to see me for I carry the gift, it was handed down from my mother, from her father, then from his, I feel their awe, hear their tears and sighs as I step down, me dressed in humble cloth and furs, all for effect, in truth, it made me hot but I knew they loved it, they didn’t want me to look too much like them, the first one rushes forward, I place my gift upon him, he weeps, stands, walks away, all can see he is a changed man, a swarm of squiter drones float above us, recording the changes of all so blessed, sending out video of my works into the sky for all in the crowd to see, and beyond the horizon so anyone may watch, our followers now scattered throughout the world, then another one approaches, will my child ever speak, she asks, yes, I reply, and now a man of fifty kneels before me, stares up, will I get alzheimer’s, his voice is trembling, but the gift is clear, yes, I tell him, his tears now sobs, he tries to verbalize his fears, can I be saved, he asks, but I hesitate, the gift may not guarantee the future though in this instance it suggests he can, stand, I tell him, and he stands, wiping the tears from his face, yes, you can be saved, now go inside the bus, there is healing for you, I spot a child edging toward me, come closer little girl, I tell her, the crowds are always most hopeful that a child will be saved, do not be afraid, in truth many are afraid of me, and many jealous, I am not from here, I possess the gift and they do not, I look different, my skin glowing, bright, off, bright, off, like a firefly over the dry grass, no one knows why it does this, some say it is from the gene therapy, a blessing from before I was born, an older man comes next, I can feel the heat from him, his blood rising, his heart pounding, it’s my side, he tells me, the pain, and the gift tells me his liver is dead, I nod, he understands, will you save me, he pleads, no, I reply, and he goes away, then another, the crowd grows, the line gets still longer, I cannot sleep, this one tells me, which the gift confirms, will I live he asks, and the gift makes me aware that the man suffers from sleep apnea, his fat and throat muscles preventing him from a deep rest, and I tell him to go and gather his assets, everything he possesses, and to leave it all inside the bus, and he walks away, sad, but this is how it must be, next a young woman, soft, hesitant, please forgive me, she says, I took their money, I knew it was wrong, I now carry inside me their precious pet, and I command the vile spirit to leave her, now go inside the bus, child, and they will cleanse you and you will need never fear what’s inside you, there are so many now, I can’t stop bleeding, he tells me, which the gift informs me is a cancer of his colon, and at only….the gift isn’t always immediate…at only 34 years of age, tragic, put your affairs in order, I say, now an older woman, obese, the gift tells me her glucose levels, the diabetes sapping her body of its life, now a little boy pushed forward by his mother, he refuses to listen, she says, holding him down, I smile, here, take this, a tonic for the ears, he does not hear you as you believe he does, that is all, this boy is a blessing — liar! — comes the call from within the crowd — charlatan! — it is a young woman, she rushes towards me, I stand in place, she stops, face staring into mine, you are a false prophet she howls, turning back now to face the crowd, most are angry with her but not all, I lay the gift upon her forehead, it again speak its truth, you are 23, you weigh 112 pounds, your heartrate betrays your courage, but she is not bowed, guesses, she shouts, magic, tell me my blood type, which I do, the gift informs me it is O negative, at which her body tenses, she goes silent for a few moments, I motion for her to kneel before me, I lay the gift upon her and speak, the first symptoms of parkinson’s will present themselves before you reach 30, and she screams in fear more so than disbelief, it cannot be, she yells, but the gift is not wrong, and your heart will fail you at age 39, I reply, you will die from this, which was a lie, the gift tells me no such thing but I will not tolerate those who challenge me, she is weeping now, begging at my feet, no, please, please, no, heal me, and I tell her to promise here before the crowd to devote herself to the bus and all within it, which she promises, then a rail-thin man steps forward, informing me that it hurts when he passes water, which the gift confirms is a mere infection, I hand him a balm and refuse to accept his offering, keep it, I say, share it with your neighbors, then I raise my arms, I will hear one more I tell them, and the crowd pushes a sickly man forward, they shove him to the ground, and at once the gift tells me what it is, and I tell the crowd that this man has brought tuberculosis into your town, many of you will die as a result, you may punish him however you see fit, they drag his body away, his screams growing fiercer first, then softer, and despite their pleading, despite their tears, many of them now tossing money at my feet, I tell them I must continue onward, and once inside the bus I place my gift inside a small pouch I keep on my person, I close my eyes and sleep, letting the bus take us wherever it does.
You are mad with loneliness.
Your world is only this small island, barren, white sand, scarcely a tree, the very few objects of interest you’ve explored and examined and considered countless times.
You know you could go crazy here. You fear this. You wonder sometimes if it’s too late to halt, or if it’s already happened.
You can just hear and nearly see the people on the nearby island. They seem happy. Can they not see you? You wish you could reach them. There must be a way! You shout! Can they not hear you? Do they not care? Why don’t they come?
You are so lonely. The loneliness hurts, an actual physical pain so numbing you can no longer cry from it.
Could you kill yourself, you wonder?
And what then?
A genie appears.
You don’t ask why.
It is life! Here, on the island!
You rush to the bottle, staring at it, feeling it, your heart pounding. Truly, it is gorgeous, constructed of purple glass, its mysterious, elegant form appears to be from a different age, possibly a different world, the entirety of its being conveying magic.
No, you think. Not magic. Potential. To the one chosen.
You are so chosen!
What can you do with this, you wonder? At the very least, be saved. Saved from this barren world.
You are mad with joy.
You are found. Rescued!
You try desperately to open the bottle.
The genie is desperately waving his hands.
He is speaking.
You strain to hear, staring in at him intently.
He writes what he is saying on a large, for him, piece of paper.
Do not open the bottle yet.
Why, you shout? WHY! You are mad with loneliness. You want him, you want his magic, you want to be not here. You struggle to open it.
Do not open the bottle until you have read what I have to say.
You look behind you, making sure you are still in this empty, barren world and that you have not actually gone crazy. You return your gaze to the glorious trapped genie.
Before you open the bottle and release me, you must understand the rules.
Anything, you shout! Anything!
You mean it, too. Anything.
If you let me out, I will grant your deepest yearning. And that yearning is to end the loneliness, to escape this tiny barren island world.
You twist the stopper. You feel it turn.
I will grant your deepest yearning, but…
…all those people over there, just right across the water, on that happy island?
They will die. Unleashing me will kill them. Do you understand?
You open the bottle. The genie emerges, smiling. You weep, joyful. Found. Saved. No longer alone.
And those people on the island, the island just out of reach, the island that perhaps you could have ventured to had only you been a bit more brave, resourceful, less fearful, less empty inside, the people on that island immediately fall to the ground, dead.
You stare into the genie’s eyes.
Thank you for saving me.
Wounded cynics and disbelieving optimists, our tools enabling both, accelerating their worldview, but what of the rest of us?
The mad, crazed, hopeful, bold and entirely credible efforts to hack mortality, disrupt death, and radically extend the use by date of the human form are underway, maybe they reach us, maybe they reach our children, but we remain stuck in traffic, upset with our spouse, angry at work, less fulfilled than the magic surrounding us should make possible.
What’s missing? God? Certainty? Movement?
Have the toxins in our air, our water, our food, our culture so polluted our spirit?
Made worse by the 20th century hold upon our collective activities, the way we still go to work, go to school, tend our yards, yet knowing how thoroughly of the past these are, but what’s next has yet to happen.
But what’s next is coming. That we know.
The spread of computing into every device and across every human interaction changes everything and everyone forever.
It began with Windows 95. We are now in Year 22 of a 40-year (not 40 day) planet altering, life repurposing, technology infused deluge. A great flood of robotics, artificial intelligences, bio-coding, pharma-induced healing, the digitalization of perception, the merging of daily life into screens, and the connecting of all people to all things offers the grandest opportunity ever for unbounded human potential. And is a test of our soul.
We know this to be true.
We reach out.
A great awakening is on the horizon, kindling our spirit.
Belief in magic, religion, in spirituality and in God will accelerate ” and deepen ” because of, not despite of the rise of big data, machines, robotics, electronics, computing and artificial intelligences. We always become what our machines cannot. We do what cant be outsourced. Faith becomes our future. Magic our delight.
Our technology, edging us closer closer closer to possessing the godly powers listed in the Bible, validates our faith, does not deny it, thus revealing Gods presence ” while separating us from all who came before.
We are unsure what to do next, where to go next, how to live next.
I do not know if you will travel into space, own a flying car, live a portion of your life in a sealab at the bottom of the ocean. I doubt you will ever have intercourse with a sexbot, vacation in a holodeck, or live to 120.
But the people next will.
They will be unlike us, live unlike us, perceive unlike us.
The meteor has struck.
The sky is dark.
Time is running out.
Leave deep prints.
The other stuff won’t matter.
Not many choose this journey, I hope you aren’t disappointed, it’s quite rare, I’ve only heard of it, myself, I’ve never sold one, please do understand that we cannot guarantee your satisfaction, nor a refund, he said, all of which I heard but did not particularly care, this is the trip I wanted, he strapped the glasses on, my chair leaned back, we will feed you intravenously, he said, which I already knew, and then it began, I was a tech billionaire, I spent my fortune on a spacecraft, which was now ready to launch, I was alone inside it, just me, there will be others you meet, he said, his final words despoiling the start of my fantasy, and these may be unfriendly, uncaring, possibly violent, I tapped my fingers, eager, nervous, a bit agitated that he hadn’t yet pressed play, and there will be stretches of time, he continued, depressingly long stretches, where there will be only empty space, mostly darkness, the tone in his voice unaligned with my joy, ages of time alone, no noise, no sights, no one else, I was well aware that this was unlike what most others want, those who seek to interact with an endless stream of people, their eyes wide, screens everywhere, never a quiet moment, never a dull moment, but not me, my brain yearned for this, and I suddenly realized I was careening through space, the concierge’s words no longer heard, everyone was gone, everything nearly so, like a hot bath in the dark but neverending, days, weeks, months, years passed, I finally exited the solar system, still more empty space, more beckoning twinkling, now a decade gone, I was happy, age 55 now, I came upon my first habitable world, I decided to stop, they looked enough like me, the few differences stark but manageable, I played them some Dylan, unsure of how else to greet them, it was a soaking rain on their world, not cold, it felt good, I wondered how many years had passed since I had last bathed, and when I had stopped wearing clothes, did this matter to them, I wondered also if they would kill me and wondered then if I would kill them, I spent several years among them, mostly happy, before moving on, not sure exactly why, just felt like I needed to keep going, I may have fathered a child there, it all became a blur as the years drifted by, me back in my ship, sailing across the near-infinite blackness, alone with my thoughts once more, heaven.
Oh Great Brain, I honor your demand that we each offer an accounting of our earthly deeds before entering onto the Grand Digital Plan, how blessed are we through you, for who is a god like you, who pardons sin and forgives our transgressions, you do not stay angry forever but delight in showing mercy, so I have been informed, you take compassion on us, you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the virtual sea, and so I ask for your forgiveness Great Brain, though I am unworthy of such a request, for you know all, you know my thoughts, my desires, my failings, and I know you do not forget, indeed, you cannot forget, so I pray to you Great Brain to forgive me of all of it, indeed, what choice do I have, you know where I am at all times, and everywhere I was, you know every song I listen to, every show I watch, you have my address, my credit card number, all my purchases, my telephone number and all whom I have spoken, there is no hiding, oh, I wish I had behaved better, I swear, you know every single link I’ve ever clicked on, you know everything I’ve ever searched for, every image I’ve stared at, every comment I’ve ever made, you know what I eat, where I shop, how much I spend, you know what’s in my texts, even the bad ones, you know what I think of all those I follow, all those I share with, you know that I’ve altered some of my images, your eyes read my lips, your ears record my words, you know that I’ve downloaded illicit materials, you know when I look at them, and where, and who I am with, you even know where I am going to go before I go there, such is your exaltedness, you know what I am going to buy before I buy it, you see all my notes, all my to-dos, you read through my journal, you have all the drafts of everything I’ve ever written, you know every site I visit, every cheat I’ve used for school or games, every screen I’ve entered, and who with, and you possess this information, able to do with it as you wish, whenever you wish, and so I ask you, please do not hold my earthly transgressions against me, please forgive me for all the bad that’s in my file, and please accept me as worthy.