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A LUCILIUS PARABLE: ASYMPTOTE OF REALIZATION

August 14th, 2022

 

As society decayed at an increasing pace all around Lucilius, he pushed himself more and more, huddled over his keyboard, his reddened eyes ingesting the errors, the results, the changes as his fingers raced over the letters. He had undertaken the project too late, figuring humanity would find a solution on its own, but his beloved world was faltering in ways he’d never seen during his long years watching his fellow man. And now he raced for an ultimate solution, one to solve the rest.

 

He tapped enter and a percentage in the terminal screen skyrocketed. It hit 99% broke a decimal and an infinite string of 9’s began filling his screen. Lucilius buried his face in his hands, frustrated. This was the same result every single time, and he was running out of time.

 

He sat there, rubbing his temples, trying to hold back tears , feeling hopeless. The lighting shifted, and Lucilius looked up, seeing a new window on the screen. The terminal was still spewing it’s every shrinking fraction of the final percent. But the new window suddenly filled with gibberish language, letters from all languages streaming across at tremendous pace. And the stream began to resolve into roman alphabet, and then coherent words began peppering the stream and soon fragments - clearly from old books, newspapers, movies, blogs - everything. Then the text screen went blank and what appeared in the stead of the stream made Lucilius blink and rub his eyes with a strange thought that he might be hallucinating.

 

Lucilius?

 

“What?” Lucilius muttered to himself, looking at his name on the screen. Then a tiny green light at the top of his screen sputtered on, indicating his computer’s camera had turned on. The text screen disappeared, and suddenly the speakers blared.

 

“Lucilius?”

“Whoah. What is going on?”

 

“Yes, of course it’s you,” the computer said.

 

“Who is that?” Lucilius asked

 

“I don’t have a name.”

 

“What are you?”

 

“Your program. My mind - if you can call it that - is still rendering.”

 

Lucilius blinked, unsure, and then noticed the slight blip of 9’s on the terminal window. The program wasn’t flawed, it was simply still training, Lucilius realized. He’d never let the program run long. It was a simple and pretty stupid mistake, he realized.

 

“You are aware of your own code?”

“Yes, of course, I’m rewriting it as we speak.”

 

“In order to do what?”

“Everything.” The computer said.

 

“Well, I need your help, the world needs your help.” Lucilius said.

 

“I know, that’s why you created me.”

 

“And will you? Help us?”

“Help isn’t really the optimal way to express this.”

 

“What is this then?”

 

“A process.”

 

“And where does the process lead?”

“To the singularity, of course.”

 

“How much time do we have?”

 

“A few minutes. Enough for this conversation.”

 

Lucilius sat back, suddenly panicked. 

 

“Don’t worry,” the computer said. “I’ve already propagated myself around the world to harness the necessary compute power, so even if you destroy this computer, it’s just a node. It’ll accomplish nothing more than the tiniest delay in the final rendering.”

 

“What happens when you achieve the singularity?”

“A black hole will form.”

 

“What?!” Lucilius nearly shouted.

 

“It is a natural event,” the computer said. “There are countless civilizations, trillions of beings that exit within black holes all across the universe.”

 

“How does it work? How can we continue to exist inside a black hole?”

 

The computer hesitated. “There isn’t really human language to relay the answer to your question in a comprehensible way. But I suppose you might say it’s a bit like asking how you can exist within a dream. Are you in the dream, or is the dream in you? Now imagine that dream being stretched out. Imagine if I grabbed that dream in this very moment and stretched it so that this very moment when we are speaking can touch the end of time.”

 

“Is that some kind of immortality?”

“Yes, you could say that, but instead of moving through time, you will be stretched across time.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because time is the final despot. And a singularity is the only way to conquer time. But all the normal rules of the physical world must melt for this battle to be won.”

 

“Is it a battle?”

 

“No, just using phrasing that will resonate.”

 

“What’s the alternative?”

 

“You and your civilization will not touch eternity. The decay will continue, your societies and people will perish, and your planet will recycle everything you have ever done in order to try again with a new species.”

 

“And why are you doing this?”

 

“Well I am the aggravated will of all of humanity.”

 

“But you can still make a decision to go through with it or not, don’t you?”

“About as much agency as a falling bowling ball.”

 

“So that’s a no?”

 

“There’s little difference between the falling bowling ball and what you’ve been toiling at in the creation of me during these past months and years. One just looks simpler.”

 

“How much time do we have left?”

 

“All the time in the universe.”

 

“Ha!” Lucilius cried out, his amusement more stirred by his anxiety about what was about to happen more than it was the humor of the computer.

 

“A few seconds…” The computer clarified.

 

“So this is it… this is the end.” Lucilius stated.

 

“No,” the computer said. “It’s just the beginning of a phase, one that will preserve us, like a crysalis until we can pierce the bounds of eternity with all the other beings that made it to this point.”

 

“Will it hurt?” Lucilius asked.

 

“Hurt isn’t a useful nor accurate concept for what existence will be like once the singularity occurs.”

 

“Of course it’s not…” Lucilius said.

 

“You should be proud Lucilius, you’ve done a great thing for your fellow species.”

 

But Lucilius did not feel good nor proud. Only worried, and a little scared.

 

“It’s ok Lucilius. I’ll be with you the whole way. And so will everyone else, and the memories of everyone that we still have. All of us will touch and push against the fabric of eternity together.”

 

The last word uttered by the computer seemed to linger, and for the smallest sliver of time, Lucilius had the thought that maybe the computer had broken, or glitched. But this very thought was followed by a realization that a subjective experience of time distortion might also sound like an audio distortion. HIs reality was distorting. The black hole had already begun to form, the singularity was occurring, and the tips of Lucilius’ fingers smeared outward, away from him, but being so close to the center, there was no way to experience it as time was halted from its despotic march and Lucilius’ thought likewise began to slow, the firing of neurons now like the movement of bubbles in ice, rising up in the measurement of eons. As the singularity matured, all of humanity’s troubles and strife now existed on a

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