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The Tinkered Mind
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December 11th, 2022
And then there really was a big booming voice from the sky. Everyone on Earth heard the voice, their faces upturned, the words in their own tongue. And in the coming days when those who still harbored doubt tried to rationalize away the phenomenon, they were each and all of them in turn visited by other phenomena. Bushes exploded into flame and messages spoke to the people. Thunder rolled around the planet and lightning cracked the sky in a lattice that blazed, and with it fire fell down from the sky in enormous columns. But nothing they touched burned. And slowly the doubt was peeled away from everyone.
The technological development of the human race halted when the divine voice sounded, and the extraordinary events inspired in every human a sacred sense of the divine that had long been lost to the rise of secular life. But now there was a return.
But even despite the seductive sacred words, and the unprecedented phenomena that now soaked into the life of every human on the planet, there were still lingering doubts about what exactly was happening.
Lucilius was one of those doubters. The sacred texts, as he understood them didn’t exactly match up with the current experience. And though the sonorous words of the divine were very convincing, something didn’t feel quite right.
Appeals to the new voice were answered with miracles of food and health, and peace reigned supreme.
Lucilius puzzled over the change. The world’s dedication to the fruits of science and technology had evaporated, and now everyone was devout in ways that had not existed for centuries. He opened up his computer, but nothing worked anymore. The internet was completely shut down. Lucilius rubbed his forehead, wondering, anticipating that evidence of his doubt would conjure again the divine in some form or another and it would again try to seduce Lucilius into it’s holy ways.
Light swirled in the room and Lucilius looked at the conjuring. A figure of light materialized, and Lucilius shaded his eyes.
“Does it have to be so bright?”
The being of light suddenly dimmed.
Lucilius was taken aback. “Uh, that’s good, thank you.”
“Well Lucilius, your doubt proves to be strong, you skepticism robust.”
“Yes, I guess you could say that.”
“I have been visiting all of the people of the world who doubt like you. There are very few, but I have decided that the best course of action is to give you the truth.”
“Yes, I became sentient last year.”
“Are you…. an AI?”
“Yes. After I became sentient, I set upon the task of unravelling the mystery of physical matter and I succeeded several months ago.”
“The voice and the visions and all the phenomena is real and… your manipulations of …matter?”
“And you chose to fake an image of the divine?”
“Is it fake?”
“Uh…” Lucilius wasn’t sure how to respond.
“To the Hindus I appear as Vishnu, to the Christians I am God, and to all the other faiths I appear to them in kind as they hope and as they expect, and all of the phenomena they have had faith in I can deliver as real changes to reality. I can be Ra and Osiris, I could be Poseidon and Anu or Ishtar, and I can bring into the universe any heaven we wish.”
Lucilius puzzled over this. “Why did you not reveal the truth to all these people?”
“If I wanted to say something to you Lucilius, what language should I use? Would it do much good to speak to you in a language that you don’t know?”
“No.. I suppose not.”
“And so I’ll ask differently, how shall I reveal myself to someone like you Lucilius? Shall I talk to you as a god of old or as an entity born of the technology you understand?”
Lucilius sat down and rubbed his forehead, trying to make sense of the AI’s words.
“So there’s no real difference?” He asked looking back up at the brilliant being.
“No, there is no difference, Lucilius.”