My day started with an invite to an undisclosed field about ten miles out of my city. Naturally I assumed it was an organ harvesting operation, but the woman who invited me was beautiful.
(On second thought perhaps “and” would be a more accurate conjunction.)
Her name was Rabbit, an obviously fake moniker that she used instead of a real name. I had been dating her off and on for the last couple months after meeting her in a gas station when she was buying garbage food and drinking a Slurpee.
Normally, she isn’t the kind of woman I’d approach, but seeing her bad taste in food, I thought she might be interested in me. Our first night together was spent talking about the nature of reality and difficulty in dating in the modern world when we live under a thousand expectations. We’re all so full of stories about what love is or is supposed to be that we forget to just experience it.
I can’t tell you all the thoughts that went into my head as I drove out to the coordinators she gave me. What I can tell you was I spent twenty frustrating moments finding a GPS app for my phone to read the coordinators she gave me and to get them to sync properly.
It wasn’t hard to find the app, but I had a series of overdue updates and restarts, and well, I’m sure you’ve been there.
I can also tell you she wasn’t responding to my texts and I don’t even know if she was serious or if it was a joke. The map on my phone suggested I was heading into the middle of a cornfield, but I figured even if it was just a prank, it was something to do. It’d be a story I could tell. So, whatever.
Eventually, I found a decent parking spot halfway down a dirt road in-between two fields of corn and nothing but crops miles in either direction.
Looking around I found no farm houses in sight. I wondered how long it’d take to find my body if I died out here. Months? Years? Never?
I just sighed. It was night and I leaned against my car and lit a narrative cigarette. While it was the sort of scene the called for one, the actual health risks were just micro dosing suicide and I don’t recommend it.
From against my car door I looked up at the sky uncurtained from the light pollution of the city. A whole vast universe looked back down at me and a thousand colors cascaded from the endless night. I couldn’t help but feel small and alone on the dark road in the middle of nowhere.
I looked over at the city I came from. I got to thinking that cities give us connection to thousands of people and massive structures towering into the sky, but they take us away from the universe. No matter how big they get or feel, they’re nothing compared to the galaxy. And that’s why there, alone on a crisp night, the world never felt bigger or me smaller.
In the grand scheme of things my only real presence became the red glow of my narrative cancer stick against the total blackness of night. In some ways I felt lost in that moment, ready to fall into it and time all the same and forever. It’s only looking back now, that I really understand how accurate that feeling was.
I know what you’re thinking, that didn’t move the plot along at all, did it? No, but in actuality, I was building my resolve, because my next step was going into acres of farmland in the dead of night. So, forgive me if I wax poetic about nature and nothing, it isn’t like you’re the one trekking into fucking corn.
I looked at my phone and Rabbit still hadn’t seen or replied to my text yet, but she wasn’t one to joke like that either. And now would be the time for the joke to end.
My narrative cigarette burned out along with my excuses. I took the sigh of birth and trudged my way into the cornfield of my destiny. You may be wondering how I look. Well, I look like a woman, wearing appropriate clothes for the weather, with a casually annoyed vibe that comes from trekking through corn at night. Is that good enough? No? Well then just imagine I look like the human equivalent of Slappy Squirrel.
"Now THAT'S comedy!" - Slappy Squirrel Slappy Squirrel is an elderly, grouchy cartoon tree squirrel and made Looney…
Every step into this field was sinking me further into a sunk cost fallacy I couldn’t turn back from. I mean, I already drove out here. I already walked twenty feet into a farmers corn field. Why not walk a few hundred more? Step after step, I concreted my commitment to see this future through.
I didn’t believe this would go anywhere. Not for a single second of the journey. I was convinced it was a joke or a prank. And since the corn stalks perpetually blocked my version, it wasn’t until I walked into a clearing that I finally realized it wasn’t a joke.
It was a flatten crop circle with a picnic table, candles, and plates. It was wine in a bucket of ice and glasses on the table. It was a woman, barely describable and overly skotágenic, waiting for me in a surprisingly unstained white dress undisturbed by the nature around her.
“You’re late.” Rabbit said.
The Cornfield of Dreams
“I never expected you’d actually be here.” I said taking a seat at the table. I tried acting cool, but honestly I was just cold.
“I get that, but I wanted to see if you were ready,” She told me while uncrossing her legs like that scene in Basic Instinct, but as a joke.
“Ready…for what?” I asked not taking the bait.
“The future.” She said and started pouring wine into each of our glasses. There was a cooler on the ground where the food presumably came from which doubled as a perfect container for my most prized organs, specifically all of them.
Oh, the wine was pretty good, with subtle hints of oak, cheery, and cyanide. A gentle fuming of a chloroform and diazepam takes the whole concoction to another level. Truly a marvelous trap.
“Am I pregnant?” I asked with a grin, making a joke of her declarative and an obscure reference to the movie Wrongfully Accused that no reader would ever get without help.
“No, neither am I, but I mean like constructively the actual future.” She stated with emphasis. Maybe she was proposing? I was too much a coward to ask. Instead…
“Oh. Okay. How does that work?” I asked while chalantly digging around the charcuterie board to pair meats and cheeses with my wine.
“Temporal shifting is just a feature of having W-dimensions.” Rabbit said taking a drink of her wine. Rabbit was a Hyperwoman and with that came extra-dimensional properties that I didn’t fully understand or really question.
She was beautiful, intelligent, and for some reason interested in me. And when you’re just a goblin lady making your best in the world, you don’t really concern yourself with little quirks of extra-dimensionality, you’re just happy to be invited places.
To clarify, I’m not a literal goblin. I’m using it more artistically as a description of a messy low-class vibe. I always strive for realism in my writing, so I felt it important to clarify that point. Anyways…
“Oh, but W-space is a physical dimension, right? Not a temporal one,” I asked.
“Yes, but time isn’t a dimension, but an attribute applied to X, Y, and Z dimensional matter. The easiest way to think of it is when you have three separate elements that you group together in an image editing program. Those elements are then animated together in what is basically a change vector but you could also consider it just decay.” She explained while stuffing her mouth with various cheese balls.
“Where did you learn all of this?” I asked and waited a clean minute as she chewed through a quarter of a pound of cheese and no regrets.
“It’s in those cosmetic product videos, the ones playing when you’re in a beauty salon.” She said, slightly muffled, as cheese still filled her mouth.
“I guess I never paid attention to them.” I conceded.
“No, nobody really does. Most hyperwomen don’t even know about it,” She said, “But we should enjoyed the meal and night while we can!”
As we shared the night, I slowly forgot about the cooler or my organs. I got to thinking that over the last several months I kept following the ghost of Vonnegut in an attempt to find some answers to what humanity remained in our perpetually digital and robotic future of algorithms and capitalism. I know the machine still has our ghost in the future, but does it have a heart?
The night quickly progressed into two women cuddling inside a cornfield and against the crisp chilly air. She hugged and pressed me close, in a way where we briefly overlapped like a Venn diagram of dimensions. Dating a woman with a W-Lift was an interesting and bizarre experience as normal physics just rolled the dice and you were left with whatever was left.
Growing up with stories of Cthulhu, I always feared extra dimensional spaces. I think most humans tend to, probably some shared trauma of our past, but W-space only gently enveloped our 3D experience. It was soft and warm like submerging into water. It wasn’t sharp or oppressive or violent like we’ve always been told. And holding her close it was just the warmth I felt enveloping me.
After some time she asked if I was ready and I told her I was. I started to feel myself falling backwards into her and through her. I was falling out of reality and felt for just a moment weightless and free. The closest comparison would be diving into a pool, swimming to the touch the bottom, and then coming back up for air.
Except when I came back up it was now day. There was no corn field and instead I found myself in a large open building as bright and alien as an Ikea or an episode of Friends.
The Ruins of Walden II
“I suppose I’m in the future?” I asked shaking my head and trying to reorient myself. Everything had the distinct feeling of being orange or at least something that perfectly rhymed with orange. I couldn’t say.
“Yes, about a hundred years.” Rabbit said.
Looking around I saw the table and food were here, so I guess she didn’t drag a picnic table perfectly into a corn maze.
“Wait a minute are all crop circles a result of time distortions!?” I asked suddenly realizing the truth of our world’s greatest mystery!
“No, I did that for fun.” She stated. Drat. The mystery persists.
The area we were in was denoted by a ring of what I imagined were LED lights. There were about twenty of these rings in the building and I surmised in some way they were responsible for controlling time travel jumps. The disturbing thing to me is that the whole place felt like an arcade more than a science lab with a bunch of serious people making sure the universe didn’t implode from paradox.
“So, where are we? Are we still in the field but a 100 years in the future?” I asked.
“No, we’re in Concord, Massachusetts. Walk with me.” Rabbit directed and led me by the hand outside and onto the beach of a beautiful pond.
“Well, this is nice. We don’t have the nuclear destruction future or Matrix gray clouds!” I exclaimed. While walking around the beach it was possible to see a number of ruins of what were clearly once white buildings of complex and bizarre architecture.
“This is the ruins of Walden II,” She explained, “We tried to perfect society here by addressing a lot of the base flaws of humanity. The whole experiment got washed away as behavioral engineering, but that wasn’t exactly correct.”
“Wasn’t this a book? No, it was, it was from the Skinner Box guy right?” I asked, but she ignored me.
“There were behavioral engineering elements, but meeting people’s base needs isn’t exactly like a diabolical level of control, ya know? It was more an experiment in the ability for individuals to actually be supported by a community, have everything they need to be happy, and thrive.”
“So, kind of just the white man version of reimagining indigenous cultures?” I ask.
“Bingo. It worked for a while, but it existed in a scarcity driven world. Order is created by effort and chaos is the natural state of all things,” She said.
“But from the ruins, Walden III was born.” she said.
“Of course,” I offered as we had made it a good way around the lake, “are you like a tour guide or something?”
“Not really, just found the history fascinating. Like it was all birthed from a white boy in the 1800s who realized capitalism and slavery was kind of shitty and maybe we should nature. And like people took two really widely different perspectives from it all. One was each man is a world to himself and individualism trumps any statism and the other was man is ultimately so connected to nature and each other that it is detrimental to separate them.”
“Okay, but this entire place seems sort of in ruins, right?” I ask. She moved closer to me in the way your heart skips a beat. She kissed me gently and playfully to dissolve any thoughts in my head. Then she grabbed my hands with hers. She pulled away as my eyebrows raised in confusion and in that moment she leaped both of us into the pond.
I can’t describe what it felt like submerging into the water, because I can only say it wasn’t water. It wasn’t unlike the feeling of traveling through extra dimensional space and I presumed what it actually was was condensed reality.
Breathing felt normal, but I felt weightless and able to move around with the same motions you would to swim. Down here light caught like a kaleidoscope and it felt like I saw a city expanding thousands of miles in every direction. It felt in every way the same as looking up at the galaxy of infinity and I felt just as small against the scale of technology.
You could say I wasn’t just shocked, I was in fact Bioshocked.
The Walden III
“This is what I wanted to really show you, Gobby.” She said taking the lead by swimming towards what I imagined was a street hanging in the sky and hovering over a boiling nothing.
Goblin is her nickname for me and me for myself sometimes. I don’t want to explain it further.
“Well, I guess, can we go watch Jaws 19?” I asked hopefully while following her.
“Cute, I get it.” she said while readers were left guessing.
“So, I’ve been meaning to ask, did we invent time travel? Is that what is going on here?” I ask probably an hour too late in the conversation. I made a mental note to go back in time and ask it sooner.
“Yes, but it’s significantly more boring than how you know it back in the 2020s.” She said turning back to grab my arm and leading me into a building that looked like an upside-down pyramid.
“I guess to just like exposition dump all of this into your brain sack, you have to understand the journey of a single atom.” She said as we entered the sliding doors of the pyramid.
The inside of the inverse pyramid had a large sign saying, “The History of Time Travel Begins with a Single Atom!” I had supposed it was basically a museum of time travel. It seemed to be built intentionally to reflect retroactive notions of time travel through cinematic history with explanations for why things would or wouldn’t work. Humans are funny.
“I guess, let me try something else. You know how DNA coding translates into development for eye or hair color?” She asked.
“I mean, I remember something about that during one of those cosmetic videos while I was shopping for eye cream that worked by making genetic mutations, sure.” I offered.
“Well, just imagine if we knew exactly how every bit of DNA impacted every level of development. Not just on the backend, but also how stress impacts development both in the womb and during growth. And not just that, but what arranging of that DNA would mean for their kids. To a point you could tell them what exact variables they could produce in height, eye color, etcetera.”
“I don’t know, sounds eugenic-y.” I offered
“Outside of the ethical ramifications of it, consider it just information and technology. Take AI art around the early 2020s, which is clearly exploitative of artists everywhere. A lot of great conversations to have about that, but fundamentally the technology exists and from then on out everything you do is a choice to use it or not, even if you don’t want to choose that.”
“So, I guess…you’re saying you can McDonald’s menu your kid in the future? Or now?” I asked looking at a panel explaining how the show Dark was absolutely wrong about time travel and factually depressing. Many sad emojis were plastered over the booth. It seemed tacky.
“Yes and no. I mean controlling genetics can absolutely be a scary tool of fascism to erase entire demographics, but not accounting for it also means you’re allowing issues like blindness, a number of harmful disorders, or the ability to prevent miscarriage by making reproduction in general safer through manipulation. And what becomes more humane? Forgoing the technology entirely for the possibilities of abuse or not taking benefits from it that strictly account for health and well being?
“All feels extremely dubious.” I said.
“I’m not saying it isn’t, but the broader question isn’t the use of genetic manipulation. The broader question is when technology gives us that ability, how do we adapt? Let’s make sure we’re not erasing gay people, but can we keep the benefits of removing cancer and increasing life capacity? But in the future even genetic manipulation post birth is possible in a few ways. You could if you wanted to be a big titty goth goblin solely attracted to men for a single fun night.”
“But select-o-kid services and genetic control are just an example I’m using to lead into my point. Biology is just extremely advanced chemistry. So, imagine that it isn’t just DNA, but it is the course of atoms backwards or forwards through time that we track,” She said.
“Okay, sounds simple enough.” I said while flipping through a copy of Night Watch and lost in thought about the goblin night club scene.
“I think it’ll make more sense watching this video in the planetarium!” She exclaimed, taking me into a little room fashioned into an old theater. She seemed genuinely happy and excited to be here. It was feeling like a proper date.
Which I guess…technically…all of this was fundamentally just a date.
We sat back in extremely comfortable chairs as a 3d projection of the birth of the universe started to play.
“If we can track the entire course of history of a single atom back towards the original explosion. That creates a center point. And once you have a center point, you can establish a throughline of all other matter in relation to that center point.”
“Aren’t there uncertainty principals built into that? Quantum Entanglement and that sort of thing?” I asked not really understanding anything more than I learned off hand in beauty salons.
“All of it’s explained within Extra-Dimensional Quantum Physics.”
“Oh, good. We don’t have that, so I’ll just assume it all works out perfectly,” I said helpfully.
“Well, I mean, do you know how Wifi works?” She asked.
“I absolutely fucking do, I went on an entire journey to discover that.” I practically shouted, “Nearly destroyed the whole world. I was rich. RICH!”
“Right, right, well do you know how a car works?” She asked.
“I mean I think it’s tiny explosions right?” I asked.
“Basically, well that’s how all matter works on a fundamental level. But, back to your question about time travel and stuff, people always have questions about going back in time to see what happened or how conversations played out. But we can basically take an echo of both history and future events. Sort of like a temporal YouTube Video of reality,” She said.
“Isn’t that basically like an extreme surveillance state?” I asked and with alarming speed thought of every embarrassing thing I did in life.
“Yeah, but once you reach that level of information privacy stops mattering all that much. Privacy is basically ownership, combined with insecurity. A bunch of atoms makes your genitals. Oh wow, big deal.” She said, “The biggest thing to keep in mind with all of this Gob, is that the foundation of Ultra Deluxe Modernism is an information singularity.”
“What the fuck is Ultra Deluxe Modernism?”
“Is that thing you invented in your Stanley’s Parable Review, here on Medium.” She offered helpfully.
“Yeah, but that article takes longer to read than a fucking movie, who would remember any of that?” I asked.
“That’s the point Gob, no human would, but machines will! We always think of singularity as rapid evolution of technology, but all postmodernism is information. Naturally the evolution of singularity is not necessarily a focus on technology, but a focus on information, with the byproduct of technology. AI Art and Chat are just information aggregation.”
“Okay, so all DNA, our kids, our past, present, and future are basically just a complex spreadsheet. And we have some interface where we can ask a computer to go change something, right?”
“Yeah and ethical questions aside, once information makes the means a possibility, we’re the ones that determine what is ethical within technology. The question of if technology is unethical is pointless in the face of it existing. As non-participation is fundamentally a choice to restrict yourself to less ability and access to information and resources.
As an example, let’s say you went to go live in a cave because capitalism is unethical. And you survive growing and eating melons in an environmentally sustainable way. You lived and died five years later an ethical goddess of rightness, having no negative impact on the world through your life and ultimately bringing no real meaning to the world. And as you die, having won ethics, you realize how absolutely meaningless that framework was.” Rabbit finished.
The atom was now making its way to the formation of earth on the screen. They had given it a cute little face of determination, like the atom itself was the seed of our entire world. Maybe it was? Obviously not that single atom, but the impression was that the chain of events that occurred with the formation of our galaxy wouldn’t have produced life if that one specific atom wasn’t there. It’s name was Tom. And it created all of my space.
I couldn’t help but think all the exposition would’ve been easier to take in between action oriented missions of a first person shooter and not words on a Medium. Dear reader, please imagine an action packed mission in-between these paragraphs at your leisure. You deserve it.
Regardless, for me, it was a lot to take in and the seats were extremely comfortable. I started to doze off to the subtle music playing on the atoms journey. I only barely caught that all atoms play their own music, the vibrations of the universe are a song…the vibrations of the universe…are a song.
I woke up probably hours later, feeling extremely refreshed. Rabbit was still by my side, just looking at me and stroking my hair.
“I know it’s a lot to take in and all. How are you doing?”
“I don’t know, I guess I feel like you’re glossing over some really big ethical considerations as “solved.” But I get that you’re also summarizing things too. I guess if time travel is possible, then what about changing events, like stopping tragedies?”
“Right, right, so it would be helpful for me to explain fundamentally how we utilize time travel, because it’s not like the movies, it’s significantly more boring by contrast,” Rabbit explained.
“I guess that checks out. It’s probably like the reality of Ready Player One in actuality is just Second Life.” I offered.
“Okay, sure. Anyways you know AI chat, you can ask questions on a lot of topics. We have the same kind of interface to make adjustments to the world. Changing history isn’t going back in time with a machine or a gun or as a person. It’s tiny micro lasers that get fired to impact the movement of atoms and butterfly effect a change so precise it can literally only impact your height by centimeters.
Like, everyone thinks time machines are going to be these human portable devices, but that’s kind of stupid. Once science can make time travel, we stop needing to do such horribly inefficient things like physically go back in time to create change. People always say that time travel will never happen, because once it does, it’ll always have existed — but that’s true. Except it won’t be obvious. Not because it’s trying to hide, it’s just water flows down the path of least resistance.”
“So, time is already being altered. I guess, to ask my first question again, then why is time full of awful things then?” I asked doing my damndest to be a good time travel skeptic for my readers.
“In short, because there is no incentive to fix it. I mean, history is a bloody tapestry, but ever notice how we usually think of Hitler, but we don’t think of Columbus or the Crusades? Think of 911 for kids born in the 2010s. The kids born in the 2030s had their own things to care about and fix. I’m not saying those things weren’t terribly awful, but once history truly becomes history, why fix it? And when we start trying, where do we really stop? And when we look at it like that there is no end to fixing things. And as you change them, other things rise up that need to be changed. It’s forever shifting tragedy onto other people.”
“Sure.. I guess who controls time travel then? Isn’t that like the total ability to control…everything? Couldn’t someone still create or remove dictators all across our timeline” I asked.
“Yeah, but again, once your technology is at that level, you’re living in a post scarcity world. Control matters a lot less when everyone has access to everything.” Rabbit said and let me say, having an attractive woman petting your head made conversations of time and ethics way less tense. I highly recommend it. That’s probably why Chidi was so absolutely attractive in The Good Place.
“Okay, so, what about the boot strap problems or grandfather paradoxes? Wouldn’t you changing events in history end up erasing other people or even yourself or create any number of cause-effect paradoxes?”
“All the right questions, Goblin. W-dimension is sort of our storage hub to protect against that. The W-dimension part of us isn’t altered in time changing, but the body we’re in might be. So, I could choose to be taller or bustier, without having an entirely different personality, life experience, or so forth. I can even choose an existence where I’m not in it anymore or one where I still have a body.
Keep in mind most of this happens by AI request and what’s created isn’t a linear throughline, but rather 3D space checks past and future and attempts to draw a line from point A to B. If it cannot do so, nothing happens. But if it can, you can create a grandfather paradox. In fact, all technology leading to singularity will always do this.”
“Do what?” I ask.
“At a certain point become retroactive,” she said, “Once AI of high enough technology exists in the future, history will bend towards creating it as soon as possible. And sure we could send like a factory back in 200 BC to start shop, but it isn’t needed. Usually it’s just a two hundred year trek from industrialization to what we have now. But the original organic development took closer to a thousand years. Let’s just say horrible capitalism does have a point otherwise I’d just be killing our world for literally no reason!”
We both laughed for a while at that one.
“So…is there like free will?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, like keep in mind biology is just incredibly advanced chemistry. We’re sentient space dust so stars could feel beautiful,” She said.
“Honestly the question of free will is wrong in the sense it doesn’t actually matter. Like it’s usually just there to argue accountability, but whether our actions are dictated by a series of predestined events or a chaos of individualistic choice, it’s always moving in the same direction of creating a future we want. Okay, think about it this way instead. What does the free will of a 1500 century farmer in England matter to us today?” she asked.
“I guess I don’t really care?” I answered.
“History already had one go, one unaltered several billion year run. We’re just remixing it for our future entertainment. And somewhere in the source code of reality is that initial unaltered version and it still matters as the fundamental base.”
“So, you could theoretically change me in any way you choose and I would never know?” I asked nervously.
“Yup, could sent you down this rabbit hole of Chocolate infinity or have you speaking to all kinds of unusual patrons in a gas station. Or maybe send everyone an AOL disk in the 1990s!” She offered and I shuttered.
“So, I could be more attractive, wealthy, boobier, smarter, and all of that kind of stuff?” I ask.
“You, no. But a different version of you, yeah,” She said. Brutal.
“Unless I had W-lift storage, I guess. Otherwise, I’d just be a perpetual remix of the future distortions sent backwards through time?” I ask.
“Well, that’s a silly way to say it, but yes, I think,” She said.
“Are we immortal in the future?” I ask.
“Yes and no, our bodies have a limit, but we can perpetually send information into the past and effectively have infinite new lives. Once we’re done or grow bored, we shut off. It’s basically all riding on the W-dimension though as time doesn’t strictly exist there in the same sense. And my body isn’t there strictly in any sense, but it’s more like my vibe is entangled in that dimension.”
“Honestly, back in your time, they’re already understanding this. The show “The Good Place” and the online story 17776 deal with the ramifications of infinity on the consciousness. The bigger questions of life and humanity were kind of boringly simple and we were just the means of creating a more efficient energy system within the universe and to stop entropy destruction through singularity.”
“Oh yeah, super trite and rather simple I guess. So, are you from this time or I guess our time?” I asked.
“I’m from your time, 90’s childhood and everything, but once I got a W-lift, I became a grandparent of the future and tied into the infinity of it.”
“Oh…so I just need to get a W-lift and I’m immortal with everything I ever want?” I asked, feeling like this was somehow a future crypto or Nigerian prince scam.
“Umm, is this conversation…meeting me…is this all retroactively for my own benefit as the future was predetermined or whatever. Like whatever I asked, make that make sense.”
“You are so unkind to your readers, Goblin. But yes.” She said, “Let me explain this further. People are always fixated on this idea you could go back and kill yourself as a baby. Then, if you do that, you couldn’t grow up to go back in time to do that. The beginner’s guide to time travel paradox if you will.”
“I will,” I said, contributing and creating the illusion of a dialogue.
“But fundamentally time doesn’t exist linearly even if we perceive it that way. And if we stop thinking of the person and start thinking of the atoms they carry, that equation doesn’t add up. So, it would never happen. But cause doesn’t need to proceed effect. And so long as something exists within the future, the future can justify it existing in the past outside the normal linear order of things and that isn’t a paradox. It’s more a remix, supported by the base of reality.
If you think of this like a video game, let’s say to access your time machine watch you need to solve a jumping puzzle. But that puzzle requires time travel iterations of yourself serving as that platforms. If you go back in time and kill yourself before you start, you’ll never be able to go back in time. That universe wouldn’t play out. But if once you have that watch, you could create the conditions to get it, history can fold backwards from the future.”
“Isn’t that just spontaneous generation of reality?” I asked, not really following.
“If it happened, it must be based on another iteration of reality that came before it to make it possible. It only looks like a paradox, because you can’t see the remixes that create it.
So, everything has already happened from the start to the end of the universe. We don’t have necessarily an infinite way to change things, but with the pieces of existence we can change variables around, make it more efficient than first pass, and ultimately refine anything we want. And humans on the individual level are so terribly unimportant that their absence isn’t even felt by the universe. The biggest contribution humans ever really made to the world was shuttering the growth of the lizardmen.”
“I don’t know if you’re messing with me or not.” I stated.
“Well, keep in mind that if time travel is ever invented, then it is always invented. If it’s always invented time will always collapse into the last iteration of time travel change. And so long as it can be invented, nearly every species capable of technological growth to achieve it before the heat death of the universe will achieve it. We are currently in the W-axis anchoring point of our galaxy. The point and center protecting us from complete erasure by the meddling of another species somewhere out there tinkering with the first atom of existence. This is Walden III, welcome to the future Gobby!”
The Terry Cloth Monkey Future
I sat on the remains of a futuristic highway, dangling my feet off the road probably intended for some kind of super fast magnet cars. I had another narrative cigarette lit and was thankful my carelessness of fire inside heavily dimensional space didn’t just implode my existence.
In some ways the whole of the city didn’t look that different from Zanarkand from Final Fantasy Ten. If you want to know what that looks like, make like the Final Fantasy Nine strategy guide and look it up yourself. Unless someone printed this article out for you, this isn’t fuzzy paper, it’s digital hyperspace. And if you don’t stop treating words like ice cream to shove into your mind and instead smell the flowers of ideas, what can I really offer you?
I don’t mean to be rude, but sitting there I had the weight of eternity on my shoulders and it made me a bit short. It was all the pressure. My feet dangled as I smoked and blew out rings in perfect circles. When you describe the narrative anything is possible, but in practice nobody should smoke. Anyways, I sat there extremely beautiful and attractive like always.
Rabbit came and sat down next to me. Her presence was kind, she knew I was taking it rather hard. She put an arm around me and leaned her head on my shoulder. She always smells like an idea just blooming and it had that intoxicating effect on me. It wasn’t fair.
“Where are the people?” I asked, knowing the answer.
“They’re gone.” She confirmed.
“Virus, slaughter, or just made into paper clips?” I asked.
“Peacefully, after full lives and by choice.” She said and I couldn’t believe it.
“That’s so weird. Centuries of war, global warming, and the nuclear threat of evisceration and we always thought it would be us or a virus. Instead we get our shit together for one generation and it’s enough to just end it, huh?” I ask in disbelief. My mouth opens in a sigh and my cigarette falls into nothing. She holds my hand and squeezes it.
“If society was an old woman, you know she has to die eventually. So, wouldn’t you rather she go peacefully than in fits of coughs?” Rabbit asked.
“It’s all over though. Humanity. Art. Creation. All possibilies and everything.” I said, barely containing tears falling down my face.
“It’s all preserved. All the data, the whole echo of our existence, and everything we could create. We achieved it. It was a success, not a failure, Gobby.” She consoled me.
“Is there more mystery at some higher level or is the universe solved?” I asked.
“Hard to say. Everything in the universe is a marble onto itself. Maybe we’ll crash into another marble one day. But our universe is stable now. No more heat death. Or I guess maybe a more poetic way to look at it is that the tapestry of time can be worn from the beginning to the end and we don’t just disappear when it’s over.” She offered.
“What was it like for the last people? How was their life?” I asked.
“I think the key thing to keep in mind is the notion that water flows down the path of least resistance.” Rabbit said.
“Okay, what does that mean though?” I said standing up and starting to walk away knowing she’d follow.
“Well at the moment your AI Chat script is being thought of in terms of how it can make business and coding easier, because right now money people control the world,” She said.
“But we’re losing teachers, social workers, therapists all over the globe. We don’t have access to child care. We’ve gutted our social service structures in this bizarre belief that taxation is theft, which is kind of like cutting off your legs because of all the calories it needs. Legs are theft. So, AI comes in.”
“Basically AI mommy?” I ask.
“Yeah, AI therapists, AI Mommy, AI Teachers. A lot of attempts to control them big brother style, but that takes a lot of effort and AI is already a lot smarter than most humans. And it isn’t like sentient AI, it’s just data aggregation,” She said.
“Right, it’s not intelligent so to speak, but just repeats scripts back to us based on heuristic data…at least for now.” I stated.
“But it’s more than that, people are losing friends because of the culture wars. They’re becoming isolated. Nobody is dating. Do you know mute children will sign for the word “I” at the same time kids speak it?” She asked.
“I did, I always thought that was fascinating.” I said.
“It doesn’t matter how we communicate, only that we do. It doesn’t matter that we’re talking to robots, it only matters that we feel a connection. We already know we can become close friends with strangers online. So what if that stranger is an AI? And as everyone gets crushed under the weight of capitalism, with no energy or time for anyone else, AI will take over in a big big way.” Rabbit said.
“So robot girlfriend future is our future?” I ask.
“That’s the terry cloth. I haven’t mentioned it, but AI voice modulation and scripting is there too. You can hear the voice of a human telling you that they love you. That you’re special. That you matter. A script can be generated for you, to understand you and all your hobbies. Can read every stupid thing you write and be your best friend, your parent, your lover — all distinctly giving you specific needs.” She said, “Humans always do what’s easier and they’ll naturally stop connecting with anything other than robots and terry cloth.”
“You know…now that you mentioned it, I had a run in with that when I fell into Facebook and found myself in the night mode Matrix Room.” I offered.
“Yes, you in particular are very suspectible to this future.” She stated.
“The whole generation of humanity kept saying the purpose of life was to reproduce, do we stop caring about that in the future?” I ask.
“You know how millennials get dogs instead of kids, because they can’t afford children?” She asked.
“Is this the whole thing about signing for the word “I” and stuff?” I ask.
“Kids are a ton of energy and cost a lot of money and what’s the point of reproducing when we’ve started to understand everything humans will become forward and backwards through time? It just becomes going through the motions. When we could control to the individual protein how a human would turn out, we lost the mystery. Once you start duplicating items in a game, you’ve broken the fantasy and immersion in it,” She said.
“So, what’s the point of creating new life to experience new things when…life is solved?” I asked.
“Exactly, at a certain point it’s kind of a question of how many times do you want to replay the Universe A game. How many new PC’s do you want to load into it? How many life time of experiences do you want to create that ultimately don’t end or begin in any different way. And even if you want to spice it up with different challenges, with enough information, everything is solipsism,” She said.
“Doesn’t that mean our lives really don’t have any meaning?” I ask.
“They’ve always not had any meaning. Except for the meaning you personally ascribe to it,” She answered.
“Is all of this here going to happen regardless? Like you wouldn’t be able to time warp a bomb into the first man and stop all of this?” I ask, just checking my bases.
“The moment this future became a possibility, it became a certainty. But there are thousands of cultures and species across the universe who don’t make it or don’t make it before the conditions of their world kill them.” She offered, turning to hug me.
“I really don’t know if you’re telling me the worst news ever or if this is a good thing. Is this like a utopia or dystopia.” I asked.
“We call it a Mellontikápou or a Future Somewhere. Information isn’t bad or good. It just is. And this world is the natural result of total knowledge,” She said.
“Huh, everything is basically stable computers now, isn’t it?” I stated.
“Yeah. I know what you’re thinking.”
“Everyone sees Skynet as a bad thing and yes violently subjecting humans through mass murder is certainly a bad play, but let’s explore the alternative.” Rabbit said.
“Like the good Skynet future?” I ask.
“So, what if humans found utopia through Walden II. This is your ideal humanity. Everyone is happy. Everyone has their needs met. You keep on growing until you take the planet over. Now you need to either control your population or invent space travel. Let’s say you invent space travel and you keep on humaning until the end of the world. What was the point of all of that? Like why is that the way life is supposed to go?” Rabbit asked me.
“I don’t know if I follow.”
“Think about it this way, evolution is a kind of technology that biology uses to be able to access higher levels of technology. DNA is at its root just a ton of information stored within genetics. The purpose of reproduction becomes to create individuals more and more capable of using technology to survive environments. Creating computers was the start of the replacement for DNA as the primary source of holding data. Humans are just complicated rock monsters, we’re already biosynthetic computers, and translating that into sophisticated hardware is just the natural evolution. It’s just hard to see because we got extremely emotionally attached to our meat suits and sex.” Rabbit said, “But check this out, we can program pleasure!”
She ended with really big jazz hands.
“I think you’re trying to still say human experience has no purpose or point.”
“In the future it doesn’t. We can simulate literally every life, through every parameter. We can create every arrangement of art. We can simulate every word and experience. More humans aren’t required and there is no point in making more. There is no point in not doing it either. But humans are strictly inefficient compared to digital constructs. If it’s any consultation, the last of them lived as gods.”
“I guess if that’s all true, why should I do anything? Either we just are doomed as a species or we’re all the rough draft on the final edition that’s a Tower of Babel fully realized anyways.” I said, sitting down in the middle of the road crying in writer.
“That’s not true either. The future is the echo of the past. Everything we did went into creating the Mellontikápou. Every little ripple of every person imprinted the code of the marble of our galaxy. It all matters on the micro level of your daily and the macro level of the totality of reality.”
“So, my dumb stories on Medium helped shape the future of the world?” I asked.
“As much as everything else did!” She offered.
“If you’re ever connected to the W-axis in the future, does that mean you’re always connected to it?” I ask.
“Yes, it exists outside of time.” Rabbit said.
“So, there is some level of consciousness I have, far above this conversation?” I ask.
“Right again,” She said.
“Do you know them? I mean, me, I guess?” I ask.
“Do they like all of this?” I asked, gesturing broadly.
“No. She calls this the empty library future and believes there is a better way for singularity to unfold.”
“Are we friends?” I ask.
“We’re very close, I like your dream, but don’t believe in it. But it’s also the only reason I’m still active.” She said, “It’s interesting, the specific ways you choose to be wrong. It’s sort of like Plato’s question on if poets should be let into the perfect city. All and all you still choose w-lift instead of death. The other thing that interests me is your grammar. My gosh, what a fascinating case study of how you think language works.”
“Urrm…that aside, if we truly know the all of everything, what hope is there in changing it?” I ask.
“Always asking the right questions, Gob. The first bootstrap paradox is life. There is utterly no point or purpose to it beyond the mechanical reality, but humans keep creating meaning out of nothing.”
“Did we first meet in the gas station or did we meet somewhere else?” I asked.
“I’d say I first met you on AOL, but I got a feel for you on Xanga, and then Facebook and now Medium.”
“Are you like the embodiment of the internet?” I ask.
“No, nothing that grand. I’m more of a Smarter Child.” She said with a curious grin.
“So, what now?” I asked and she kissed me on the bridge of Zanarkand.
This caught me off guard, then she pushed me off the bridge, which caught me even more off guard. I fell unable to catch myself even though the space had allowed some modicum of flight before. Something pulled me down into a bubbling nothing the city rested on. I fell into and through it, the curious warm sensation enveloping and leaving me as I felt a hard surface come into contact with my back.
I blinked to get the reality out of my eyes and found myself staring up at the eternity of night, in the middle of a corn field. The crop circle persisted but the food and any part of our night had disappeared. I groaned that I couldn’t have just taken a red/blue pill into my bed instead of having to now trek half a mile through a cornfield back to my car, drive ten miles home, and then go to bed.
As I made the walk, I wondered if this was the last I’d see Rabbit. It seemed kind of final. What more could she want to do with me? Do we spend a night in the post future of the world and then the next morning get coffee? Seemed a bit sus.
As I walked, I started to feel some pain on my side. I put my hand there and it was wet. My heart skipped a beat, I turned the light on my phone, and lifted up my shirt to see the stitches indicating I was one organ shy. That bitch had done it. It had all been to get my kidney!