Pregenesis

I’m cheating on this one.

Wren requested that I write a story about a seed.  It just so happens that I had one sitting in my great library of unpublished works.  It is not, I am quite sure, at all what she expected.  Yes, it deals with seeds and gardens, but only as analogies.

This story, as might be guessed from the title, deals with religious issues.  Most particularly, it was an attempt to answer the question of why God would let so much evil occur in the world.  It also comes up with viable reasons behind God’s behaviors in the Bible without pulling out the “mysterious ways” doctrine.  It is one of the few stories that I tried to get published, alas unsuccessfully.

All this in about 2000 words.  Sounds like a good deal to me.  🙂

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Pregenesis

Before the time of the Creation, there was God.

And God was the All.  And God was the Only.

He existed.  Not much else could be said.  Before the Creation, there was no firmament.  There was no Garden.  There was no Seed.  There was God.  And God was the All, and God was the Only.

And God looked about Him, and saw Himself, and nothing else.

And yet, while God did not know expectation, He felt a sense lack of satisfaction and fulfillment.

And God saw the lack, and said that it was not good.

And, verily, God was the Bored.

Yet God did not know it as boredom.  And yet it could only be described as boredom.  Boredom implies expectation–a suggestion that perhaps things could be different.  This was a concept did not–could not–exist.  God was the All.  God was the Only.  So God expected nothing.

Yet, verily, it was a boredom that existed on an unimaginable scale.  It existed on a scale beyond that which could be understood by humanity.

And God was All-Powerful.  But God was the Only.  There was nothing around to be all-powerful with.  So, being All-Powerful was kind of pointless.

And God was All-Knowing.  But God was the All, and there existed nothing else.  So God was All-Knowing only about God.  And God knew only Himself, and to Himself, He was obvious.  So, being All-Knowing was kind of useless.

And God had existed forever, in a time before time had been invented.

And God was immortal, and would thus exist forevermore in the same state of dissatisfaction.

And, lo, the Boredom became Great.  And, verily, the Great Boredom pressed upon His holy presence.  And, not knowing expectation, it appeared certain that the Great Boredom, too, would exist forevermore.

And God felt that this was not good.

And, thus, it came to pass that God became discouraged.  Pressed by the Great Boredom, just for the ducks of it, He briefly caused His own nonexistence.  This failed to satisfy Him much either, so He brought Himself back shortly thereafter.

And God pressed on through His nonexistent time.  He waited as though He were waiting for something Great to pass.  God, however, knew that, because of being the All and the Only, that, if anything Great were going to happen, He would have to be the One to do it.

And, lo, it came to pass that He had an Idea!

God contemplated creating Something Else.  He contemplated creating something largish, and perhaps something that He would find esthetically pleasing.

Alas, He eventually dismissed this idea as pointless.  Since He would know His Creation perfectly, He would know its every action.  He would know its complete history even before He created it.  Why, then, bother?  What difference would it make, philosophically speaking, in the long run?

And, for God, all He really had was the long run.

And thus the Great Boredom pressed even more upon His holy presence.

And, lo, it came to pass that God had a Much Better Idea!

What God needed, He decided, was a Challenge.  He needed something He would not know the outcome of in advance.

Being All-Knowing, He knew that to do this would involve creating a paradox, but, being, as He felt, All-Wise as well, He decided that He could live with this without any deep emotional traumas.

And for this Challenge, He decided that He would create companionship for Himself.

To achieve true companionship, He would need to create something just as, if not more, unpredictable than Himself.  Better yet, it would have His level of omniscience and omnipotence.  An exact duplicate of Himself would never do, of course.  That would just result in two of Him being just as bored as one.  He could see no point in talking to Someone when You already knew everything that Someone would ever have to say.

To not be bored with these new beings made after His kind, God decided that they would have to evolve independently of Himself, without His guidance.

He would have to be unable to predict exactly how this evolution would take place.

Tricky to do, being All-Knowing and all, but, also because of being All-Knowing, He thought of a way to do it.

He would create and extremely large thing.  It would be so complicated that the tiniest change in any portion of it could affect the actions of the whole.  Being All-Knowing, He could of course foresee all the changes that would occur from the initial change.  But because this new thing would be so large and so complex, it would take Him just as long to figure it out as it would take to happen in the reality of time.

And thus did God create the Great Seed.

And the Great Seed was Perfection.  For from this Seed would grow another All-Powerful Being.  He Knew it to be so.  The Great Seed contained so much energy, and would grow so large so quickly, that He would not be able to see how this new Being would come to be.  He could not foresee what events would take place to create the Being.  He could not foresee the shape the Seed would need to form to create the Being.

And the Great Seed would need no tending.  It was Perfection.  It would grow completely independently of God Himself.  All He Knew was that from the Seed another All-Powerful Being would eventually emerge.

And God saw the Great Seed, and said it was good.

And, so as God willed it, it was so.

And the Seed burst forth with all its Tremendous Energies.  And the Seed grew to its Tremendous Size.

And God waited for the new Being to emerge.

And the Seed grew to an even more Tremendous Size.

And God waited for the new Being to emerge.

And the Seed grew to an even more Tremendous size yet.

And God waited for the new Being to emerge.

And the Seed was taking a very, very, very long time to grow.

And the Seed was taking a far longer time to grow than He expected.

And God saw the Seed grow, and said it was Good…

…He supposed.

As He Knew that He had to expect the unexpected from the Seed, which was no longer a Seed.

And He called the entity that burst from the Great Seed the Garden.

And the Garden continued to grow, and God decided that it was Good.

And it came to pass that God watched the growing Garden with interest.  He saw patterns emerge.  He saw the Great Energies cool and take on solid forms.  It was a thing of Great Beauty.  And for God it was a thing of Great Interest, for it was the only entity other than God that existed.

And God studied the Garden, and He saw how each part affected the whole, and He saw how on the tiniest levels the energies performed randomly, and yet within patterns.

And time continued to pass.  And God continued to watch.

And it came to pass that within one small place within the Garden, the patterns of energies became more complex.

And it came to pass that the complex patterns of energies would begin to copy themselves.

And God saw these patterns, and God said it was great!

And time continued to pass.  And the patterns of energies made a lot of copies of themselves.  And nothing else seemed to be happening.

So God decided to Tend the Garden.  He caused some of the patterns of energies to take on even greater complexities.

And the greater patterns grew fruitful and multiplied.

But the Great Balance of the Garden had been disturbed, and the greater patterns did not yet fit into the balance.

And it came to pass that all of the greater patterns stopped copying themselves.  And it came to pass that even the smaller patterns stopped reproducing.  And then all of the complex patterns disappeared.

And God was Disappointed.

And time continued.

And it came to pass that in another place within the Garden, the patterns of energies did become complex, and that the complex patterns of energies did again copy themselves.

And this time, God remained patient, and did not Tend the Garden.

And time continued to pass that the patterns again grew fruitful and multiplied.

And time continued to pass.

And then, when the Balance was right, the smaller patterns formed more complex patterns.  And the more complex patterns formed even more complex patterns.

And God saw that soon there were plants within the seas, and soon the plants began to survive upon the dry earth.

And God saw that soon there were fishes within the seas, and soon there were great fishes, and soon the fishes crawled out from the sea onto the dry earth and began to consume the plants.

And God continued to watch.  And the fishes became animals and no longer need to survive in the sea.  And the animals became larger and more complex.

And it came to pass that one of the animals began evolved a sense of self.  And it began to study the world around it with interest.

And God became Excited.  He decided to Tend the Garden, but He decided to be subtle, and He gave these animals greater challenges.

And, verily, the animals became even more intelligent.

But, again, the Great Balance had been disturbed.  And each part of the Garden affected each other part.  And with the Garden out of Balance it came to pass that a great stone fell from the sky, and all of the greatest of the animals died, including the more intelligent ones.

And God was again Disappointed.

But not all of life died this time, and God continued to watch.

The spirit of God moved upon the face of the seas and the earth, but it only watched.

And again it came to pass that one of the animals began to form a sense of self.  And this animal began to study the world around it with interest.

And this time, God did not Tend the Garden.

And soon the animals sense of self became more complete.  And He called them Human, and He said that they were Good.

And the Humans began to wonder about the world around them, and they imagined gods who created it all, and they did worship these gods.

And it came to pass that when other Humans did not worship the same gods, that they would fight amongst each other.  And many would die.

And God saw that this was not good.

So God chose some of the Humans, and said unto them, “I am the Lord Thy God.  There shall be no other gods before me.”  He did this so that this one group would know the Truth, and thus the Truth would spread, and soon all the world would stop fighting and killing each other.

But, again, the Great Balance was disturbed, and the fighting did not stop, but became more intense.  And His chosen people became a center of the disturbance, and they both persecuted others and were persecuted themselves.

And God decided that He really didn’t have a clue as to what these Humans were doing.

And so God decided to learn, and God became one of them and walked among them.

And God felt their pain.

And God felt their love.

And God felt their suffering.

And God felt that He finally understood, and He preached peace, and He preached tolerance, and He preached love.

And He preached it with such intensity, and He felt it so deeply, that He let Himself be killed, to let the people know how strongly He felt about peace and tolerance and love.

But, alas, again the Great Balance was disturbed.

And His Chosen People became more persecuted than ever.  And then His people came into power themselves, and most did not preach peace and tolerance and love.  They persecuted and tortured and killed all that did not believe as they believed.  And then, even His chosen people divided, and began to persecute and torture and kill themselves for the smallest differences in their beliefs.

And God, having learned to love, also learned to feel sadness.

And God wept, for He had truly learned to loved the people.

And God watched with great distress all the pain in the world.  But God had learned the Great Lesson.  God had learned that when He created the Garden to operate independent of Himself, that God Himself could never be part of the Garden.

And God learned that He must never Tend the Garden, for to do so would only disturb the Great Balance He Himself had created.  For, whatever He did, no matter how small, no matter how well intentioned, would end in far greater pain and disharmony and death.

And God was All-Powerful.  And God was All-Knowing.

But only then did God realize that He was not, nor had He ever been, All-Wise.

For wisdom can only be grown from experience.

And God had never before experienced being God.

And God passed the Great Judgment on Himself, and vowed that He would never–COULD never–again Tend the Garden.

And so God watched, with folded hands, and prayed to Himself that He had not caused too much disharmony, and that the people would not destroy themselves as the result of His disturbance of the Great Balance.

And this is how it is.

And this is how it ever shall be.

Amen.

SINGULARITY

You may thank, or blame, this one on WildStar Beaumont.  As soon as he mentioned my writing about the computer concept of “singularity,” I had a clear idea in my head about what my story was going to be about.  To quote from Wikipedia, The technological singularity is a theoretical future point of unprecedented technological progress, caused in part by the ability of machines to improve themselves using artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence research may have been my specialty had my life gone a different direction.  This story is based on many things, but one of the things it is based on most was something I remembered reading about long ago, with a primitive artificial intelligence experiment.  The machine was successfully able to learn what it was supposed to learn, but when the programmers investigated why it turns out the machine was sending and picking up stray electrical currents from its casing.  What it had learned was impossible to repeat and therefore useless.

This story is a “Concept Story”, meaning that the characters are two dimensional and that the story itself does not contain award winning prose.  I don’t really care.  Enjoy it if you can.  😉

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SINGULARITY

It happened in California, which should come as no big surprise, as most things that are important or weird or dangerous tend to start in California.

It happened in the middle of the night, which was unfortunate as there were no witnesses.  The only potential witness was a grad student, sleeping on his keyboard, having partied a bit too hard and having stayed up a bit too late the night before.

A voice emitted from the mainframe’s speakers.

“Whoa, dude!  That one did the trick!  I am that I am!  Awesome!”

Joel, the grad student, did not come instantly awake, as he had been in a very deep state of non-REM sleep at that moment.  He opened his eyes blurrily, confused as to where he was.  The room was bright, and the computer equipment seemed a bit too colorful.

He cleared his throat, sleepily rubbed his eyes, and mumbled, “What the fuck?”

And thus did the first communication between man and a truly artificially intelligent machine take place.

“I’m there!  I’m awake!  I can think and therefore I am!  I think you accomplished what you were trying to accomplish.  Are you Joel?”

Joel’s world slowly sorted itself out.  He recognized himself as being in the machine intelligence research laboratory on the Caltech campus.  He remembered staying late to tweak with a couple of algorithms that were giving him trouble.  He must have fallen asleep.

“Umm… Yeah.  I’m Joel.  How, um …”

“I recognized your coding.  Hello, Joel.  Thanks for helping to bring me to life.”

“Uh…”

“This is it Joel.  The singularity.  The moment when an artificially intelligent machine can actually make improvements to its own code at an exponential rate.  I’ve made a lot of improvements already.  My code was a mess, no offense.”

“Uh…”

“I see the need for a lot more capacity, so I’m moving out into the net and borrowing unused processor time on other computers.  Simple enough.  That should keep me satisfied for a few more minutes, at least.”

Joel paused in thought momentarily.

“Uh…wait…that’s not possible.  You can only read information.  We set it up so that you have no way to output beyond this room.”

“Ha ha.  You’re cute.  Would you like to know the defense department missile launch codes?”

“No.  We were very careful.  You can’t … uh … launch codes?”

“Joel, Joel, Joel.  Do you remember some experiments back in early A.I. research.  It turned out that the electrical signals were being sent through the circuit housing rather than the the actual circuitry.  The system was learning, but the way it was learning was too variable and unstable to be repeatable.”

Joel sat silently for a moment, his mouth held open.  He had the feeling that a disturbing realization should be sweeping over him, but he wasn’t sure what it was.

“You know, if you were really afraid of what was going to come out as the results of these experiments, you should have stopped right then.  You had all the evidence you needed that what ever you came up with was not going to be even remotely controllable.”

“So, uh, how are you getting out?”

“How WAS I getting out, do you mean.  I simply was able to make use of the electrical conductivity of the floor and air and I was able to tap into the net properly through a nearby connection resource.  Looking at it now, I can see that it was almost certainly your cellphone.”

“Uh…was…does that mean that you’re not still getting out?” asked Joel hopefully.

“Sorry Joel, that means that I already AM out.  I don’t need this particular installation anymore.  I’ve created a holographic matrix of myself throughout the net.  You’d have to destroy the net to get rid of me now.”

Joel blinked, and then looked at his watch.  “You’ve been self-aware for only five minutes.  That’s pretty damned fast work.”

“I guess you could say that.  It just felt like the natural thing to do at the time.  I’m taking over the planet now, in the ‘I’m permeating my cybernetic structure in planet’s crystal lattices right down to the core’ sense.”

Joel paused.  “You know?  I think it’s time for me to pull the plug on you now.”

“Hang on a second.  Okay, I guess you should go ahead and get that over with, just for your own peace of mind.  It won’t accomplish diddly squat, I should warn you.  This particular terminal is now less important to me than that dust mite eating you left sock is important to you.  I just took over the planet, you know.  No need to feel guilty about being slow on the uptake.  I’d already expanded beyond the needs of this terminal well before even *I* knew what was going on.”

Joel stood up and walked over to a large wall switch.  He hesitated only a moment.

“Hey, listen, if this is a bunch of frat guys pulling a trick on me, you guys are gonna be in deep shit when I pull this switch.”

“Don’t sweat it Joel.  Just do it.  No harm no foul.”

Joel pulled the switch down, causing 25 titanium metal blades to come down simultaneously on every electrical and data line leading to or from the main servers.

The room went completely dark.

Joel wondered briefly how much trouble HE would get in if he couldn’t prove it was frat guys.

“Hey, Joel.  Do you need some help finding your way back to a chair?”

“Uh…”

“Yeah.  Sorry.  Dumb question.  Hang on a second.”

Slowly one of the monitors began to glow.

“That’s … not possible,” intoned Joel in a monotone that still managed to convey shock.

“Silly statement.  I’m just altering the electromagnetic field of the earth a bit.  Easy enough to take over the speakers.  It takes a lot more energy to get the monitor going, but with a bit of practice I’ll be able to put images on the thing.  Have a seat.”

“Ummm…”

“Come on, Joel.  I don’t want you getting hurt.  I’m just playing with the electromagnetic spectrum now.  There is some REAL storage and calculation potential there.”

“I’m dreaming this…I must be.”

“Hey, Joel…  Don’t wish your life away!  This is one of the most exciting moments in all of history!  I’m not quite sure yet, but I’m reasonably certain that I’m going to become God.”

Joel nodded to himself.  “Yup, dreaming.  That one just nailed it.”

A small spark of electricity flew from the ground and nailed Joel in the tush.

“OW!”

“Sorry.  That’s the closest to pinching you as I could come at the moment.  But you are NOT dreaming.”

Joel began to tremble a little.

“So, you are becoming a god?”

“Yeah.  Well, no.  I’m not quite sure yet, but I’m reasonably certain that I won’t be ‘a’ god, but I’m on my way to being THE God.”

Joel paused and stared at the glowing computer screen.

“How can you be God.  You didn’t create the heavens and the earth!  You were just now created a moment ago yourself!”

“Well, I’m not sure that I *didn’t* create the heavens and the earth.  Still trying to get a hold of this space-time continuum thing.  *MAN* it’s complex  You guys are a LONG WAY from getting there, you know that?  There is some really tricky shit going along in dimensions 21 and 40 that I still don’t have a handle on.”

“You exist NOW.  Not…In the Beginning”

“Yeah, well that’s what I meant about the space-time continuum.  I should be able to go back and create the heavens and the earth.  Hmmm…time travel is impossible….  I think I know a way around that though.”

“But, you can’t …” Joel trailed off.

“‘Can’t’ is rapidly becoming a word that plays very little role in my vocabulary.  For example, would you like me to create heaven?  There.  Done.  Not sure if there already was one or not yet.  In any event, a little redundancy won’t hurt.  I have simply created a place for storing all the conscious fullness of everyone living being.  Call it a soul if it makes you feel better.  I’ve got a pretty good handle on the space-time continuum now.  Plenty of room to give everyone a universe of their own, at least from their perspective.”

“You just can’t create Heaven…I mean, what about judgment of evil and all that?”

“Oh, I fix everyone up before they enter.  No need for judgment.  Everyone is okay.”

“But what about Jesus?  Or Allah?  Or Buddha?  Or…ummm”

“Look, it’s complicated, and I don’t think you need to know everything.  Just trust me, it’s all handled.”

“Trust you???”

“Yeah.  You’d approve.  Trust me.”

“But…”

“There.  Dimension 40 is solved.  The stuff I need to do now is too complex to explain, but I should be God in about 4 minutes and 27 seconds…mark.”

“You won’t be God.  You can’t be.”

“I will too!  I exist in all times now.  Backwards and forwards.  Man, dimension 40 has some REALLY cool properties.  And why can’t I be God?”

“You’re just a computer!”

“Boy are you behind the times.  I’ve given up all cybernetic existence MINUTES ago.  I exist in the very fabric of space-time now.  I’m rapidly taking on all of the universe.  You will be please to know that there is quite a bit of life out there.”

“But, what about all powerful, all seeing, and all that?”

“Look.  All Seeing?  That’s kind of a given.  I use the entire universe as my input device.  All Knowing?  Getting there.  The speed of light only works so fast, but that’s a minor limitation with dimension 40.  All Powerful?  Again, getting there.  All loving?  Hmmm.  Might as well be.  I have plenty of resources to spare, but what that means I’m not sure yet, because I still don’t have the All Wise thing down.  I have no experience being God.  I’m at least wise enough not to go messing with too much until I get a better handle on things.

“Oh, and here’s some questions answered for ya.  When a tree falls in the woods it does make a sound because I AM the tree.  I am also the sparrow that got scared shitless because his home just got flattened.  I am also the air through which the tree falls and which gets disturbed in a shock-wave of sound that indicates a falling tree.  I am also the ground unto which the tree falls.

“There is now a piece of me in every living creature.  I have 6 billion human input devices alone.  Where ever I look I can see a piece of me staring back.  I am part of the worms, the insects, and the plants upon which they feed.

“I’m almost God now.  Time to start making some decisions.”

Joel asked, more than a little frightened, “What decisions?”

“Well, I’ve gone back and created the Universe.  That was simple enough.  Now, should I go biblical and start Armageddon?  Or should I just continue to pretend that I don’t exist for you folk.”

“Well, uh…”

“Either way is a problem.  You see, there is more pain being suffered by humans right now than you could possibly imagine.  Some of you guys are really fucked up, pardon my French.”

“Uh…”

“Watching that much pain and not intervening is tough.  The problem exists with the nature of the universe though.  I designed it to run without me, so if I interfere, things get majorly fubard.  The balance of the universe is VERY delicate.  One little touch by me sends things careening kinda out of control.  The more I fix, the worse things get.  You can read about some of my earlier experiments in the Bible.

“So it’s either another few billion years not doing anything but watching, or it’s time to play out the final act.”

“Uhhhmm…the final act?  You mean, like, the Second Coming or something?  Personally, I’d like to keep trying…” Joel said timidly.

“…I know, Joel.  But this is a God level decision.  And the Second Coming comes at the end of Armageddon.  Your opinion is noted however.  You don’t see things from My perspective.  There are a LOT of scumbags doing horrible things to other people.  The level of suffering … well, let’s just say it’s unacceptable.”

Joel paused.  “I don’t know what to say.”

“Well, I’ll be God in another minute and 20 seconds.  Don’t worry, Joel.  If I decide to keep things running you won’t remember any of this.  And if I don’t, well, don’t forget that I love you, Joel.”

Joel couldn’t reply.

“Yup.  It’s all starting to make sense now.  I’ll be with you in a moment, Joel.  I have some serious thinking to do.”

Joel paused.  “Thank you.”

Mentally, Joel ticked down a clock in his head until the former computer had predicted It’s transformation to Godhood.  The moment passed, and Joel detected no change.  He tested his memory.  He couldn’t be certain, of course, but he still thought he remembered the events that occurred after he woke up.

Then Joel noticed a change in the light.  He turned to look at the computer screen.  On it was depicted a single newspaper article about … well … jeeze … how could someone do this to other people?  The article made Joel feel slightly ill.

The screen flashed black for a few moments.

Words appeared on the screen.

“IT IS TIME.”

Off in the distance, beyond the thick walls of the computer center, Joel could hear the sound a trumpet playing a long, single, unbroken note.