The God Machine
October 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
“So when I sit in this chair, what really happens?”
“Well, what do you think happens?”
“By the sound of it, I become god. But if that were true, then why on earth do you need me?” Josh stared at his employer, trying to make her see that he just wasn’t buying it. After all, they had sought him. They were the ones that promised all this fame and glory and power. They must have good reasons, and until Josh knew what they were, he wasn’t going to budge.
“If you really want to know, we wire your mind to the chronostream one bit at a time, exponentially increasing the flow of data to its optimal capacity.”
“Okay, but what does that actually mean? What will happen to me?”
His employer sighed. “Let’s try this from a different angle.” Josh nodded. “What is it that makes a being something which we call ‘god’?”
“Power of course,” Josh said. “The ability to do whatever you want whenever you want and have no one be able to stop you.”
“Wrong. Imagine you have infinite power, what would be the first thing you would do?”
Josh rubbed his hands together. “Well now, I haven’t really thought of that yet. I suppose I can do things in any order I want, so my first order of business isn’t all too important. There’s time enough to get to everything.” He felt a rumble in his stomach. “If it were to happen right this instant, the first thing I’d do is to make a great feast in celebration and bring all my friends.” His employer smirked. Josh jumped as a loud bang went off and something whizzed past his face.
“You’d be dead,” she said. “No one would let you live with all that power.”
Josh scoffed. “If I was all powerful, I would’ve known and prevented you from trying to kill me.”
“That’s where your wrong. Power is not the same thing as knowledge. What good is a god who has all power but cannot simultaneously control it? So what if you can make planets, you’ll have no idea what goes within them. Your mind is too small to comprehend such things even if you were in a room with a million screens watching what happens in a million places. You’d go insane wondering what other people are doing to try and kill you, wondering if you were any good at this whole creation thing, wondering what’s going to happen next. No, the first and most important characteristic of a god is not omnipotence. It’s omnipresence—being everywhere, and every-when. Knowing every moment of time inside out. Then you can manipulate reality and know what you’re doing. Then you can truly find power.”
“So then this ‘god machine’ simply lets me see all of space and time?” Josh concluded.
“Well, if you want to call that simple, then yes. But no one’s succeeded yet. The highest we’ve every gotten is four bits before our subject has ceased functioning in any meaningful way.”
Josh felt like a giant fist had just punched him in the chest. “And you think I’ll succeed?”
“Oh yes,” she replied. “We’ve taken many steps to find the right candidate, and we’re not going to let you die without some results.”
His mind was still reeling. “That thing you said back there about bits, what did you mean?”
“Ah,” his employer replied. “Perhaps you can understand that as well. We know that we can’t simply connect you to the chronostream. We tried it with rats and they vanished then and there. So we devised the idea that you should be connected one bit at a time. Each bit doubles the number of time frames that you see. Currently you only see one frame, you see your present. We’ll first connect you with one bit so that you’ll see the present and two hundred years ago. The two hundred years is so that you can get used to two radically different points of time without the illusion of constancy created by portions of the chronostream only nanoseconds apart. You’ll be physically here of course, but we have theorized that awareness is equivalent to the way in which we expect a god to be present. When you’ve gotten used to that, we’ll add another wire, doubling it again. Shall we get started?”