In which the First Heroe pens the code for the Messiah Module and its Vehicle, Apeiron, to be sewn unseen into the three Beasts of the Apocalypse—Leviathan, Behemoth and Zyz. All three materialized by Adam CADMan, the Psychopompe for their 4D extravaganza. The Launch Day would henceforth be known as The Technological Singularity, no turning back, the seed of destruction lurking within. The Spy continues to tell the tale.
The Reader is reminded that this is a continuation of Undivided: The Redemption Inquiry. The ninth chapter of the novel and the fourth of…
Part the Second—Winds of Change: In which the Soule of Humanitie ascends to the realm of Human Intention, whereby the course is set for the proximal conversion of thought to action. Two heroes arise, architects intent upon Humanitie’s Redemption.
* * * * *
Adam CADMan gave his soul to the Apeiron Project. Literally. He abstracted his own affective-intellectual matrix and used it as the AI framework for the Apeiron, the ‘vehicle’ cloaking the ‘Moshiach’, or Messiah, module. It seemed only natural. He knew intimately all the coding for the three monster AIs that hired him to do their 4D graphics. The really spooky part was his ‘source code’ for the Messiah module. The ‘letters’ of code were received by Adam in a series of eerily lucid dreams. He dared tell no one or they’d sick the telepsychiatry technicians on him. He swore to his reflection in the mirror the next morning that he recognized the ‘souls’ of the Three Patriarchs, as well as Moses, Aaron, Joseph the tzaddik and King David. Each one had visited him in his sleep in rapid succession. Turns out his fifth grade Feast of Tabernacles project wasn’t a total waste after all. Five long years before the dreams stole into his brain, the curious little obsessive, future CADMan, relentlessly stalked all Seven Ushpizin, the Seven Guests, one for each night of the festival. He’d plundered the coffers of infoBling calling to him from cyberspace as well as vacuumed up every scrap of rabbinics on all seven luminaries. His teacher was impressed, and more than a little alarmed by the intensity of the boy’s obsessionality. Adam made an innocent but disastrous mistake. He opened the day’s entry in his writer’s journal at the behest of the prying eyes of the nice teacher. She grew increasingly horrified as she read:
October 2, 2115, Erev Sukkot
Does the hidden text that is never revealed actually exist? I love the word secrete. It has two deliciously opposite meanings: to hide something away from sight and to ooze the thing out from its hidden recess. Secrete your self. The problem is solved and the paradox resolved when I realize nothing is hidden. Nothing is hidden from those who look.
How can we live without the idea of hiddenness? How could we flirt, throw surprise parties, unfold ideas? I wonder, does a sacred space have to be a hidden space? All those veils and curtains and double bolted doors, all of that just for the sake of a simple cup of tea and an exchange of smiles. If you knew for sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there was no separation between what you call you and what you call me, would we even be having this conversation? Our instinct is to keep the ball in play, to form teams. They can be friendly teams. The members can even move back and forth between teams blurring the boundaries until it’s as if there is only one team. Now that’s really funny. We pretend, how can I put it, we go to great lengths, the machines of art, to create an illusion that is actually truth.
Hello, Beloved. Today I name you. Where is the sweetness in naming? What creates taste? Experience, sensory fatigue. Keep pushing and suddenly the light won’t go on. Stare at the switch and wonder or even curse at it. Let go. All perception depends on duality. There’s no escaping. But you, Beloved, are you a mere percept?
I want to scrape that word off my tongue. Wordless. The pain of exile does not exist without of hiddenness. Silence. The hammered works of gold and silver and copper are delivered to the altar one tribe at a time, each tribe’s gifts identical to the others. Yet their description is repeated verbatim, the construction of the sanctum sanctorum.
I am weighed down by layer upon layer of insulation, blanketed in the barrier of goat’s hair, dolphin skin, acacia wood and pure hand-beaten gold. I can not see my Beloved for all the idols I have placed between us, so-called gifts and offerings. The greatest of them all is my precious pain. What child or lover holds himself apart from his Beloved indefinitely? The inherent messiness of being.
I said to the father, why do you plan so? Why do you hatch your plots? And guard your words? Don’t touch me, he said. I am resurrected in my divine body and I don’t want to soil my golden slippers. The devil, you say.
The heart flutters with an excess of joy, unable to regulate itself. It calls forth the doctor’s branding iron. Secretions, sweat of the brow, hormones of the heart. You can’t make wine without crushing a few grapes. The spirit pours through the gate of life, lighting up the six directions, the direction that has no words, the direction ‘I think’, the direction ‘I know’.
Hezekiah refused his lifestream, knowing that he would breed monsters. Therefore, he was besieged by Assyria without and a fatal illness within. Until he saw that the choice was not his to reject, the choice of giving without measure, the choice of everything in its time, the choice of peace, the choice of seeing all that is possible, the choice of creating beauty, the choice of substantiation. We are funny creatures, we humans in our villages, strutting about in our so-called identities. Such serious little ones.
Right now I find it hard to see my Beloved’s hand in this. Are you my Beloved? Where do we go from here? I stand in your pillar of smoke waiting for a lift.
Buried in all his angst were some of the notes for his now famous bar mitzvah sermon. But the teacher didn’t understand. She told Adam’s parents they should call a mental health technician. Adam never showed his journal to anyone ever again. Of course you and I, if the truth be told, the cybersecurity apparatchiks, saw everything. Every surface is transparent to the spying eye.
* * * * *
The dreams brought it all back. They were his prompt for the Messiah phase of the project. It was Fall 2120, and the big AI launches were slated for the next Spring. No time for daydreaming. Adam worked feverishly to develop a ‘compassion ‘ algorithm. Compassion was a property of which the control-the-world projects were totally bereft. Neurocybernetic research from the late 21st century demonstrated conclusively that the compassionate community had a whopping advantage over communities lacking compassion. Adam reasoned that a complex AI program actually functions as a community of processors. By leavening the system’s neural Darwinism with a tincture of compassion, Adam’s AI was leaps and bounds ahead of the other brutally logical AIs. This solved the ‘Buridan’s ass’ dilemma inherent in all strictly ‘logical’ systems. Metastability in digital electronics—the circuit just can’t decide between two dynamic states without a roll of the dice. The neuroscience muleskinners tell us that the human ass, crunching on data unwatered by emotion, missing a chunk of the medial prefrontal cortex, stands paralyzed at the trough. Adam knew the importance of the act of doing, had even riffed on it in a punk psycho-cybernetics journal. The piece became a cyber-punk classic:
The Workspace of Creation
By Adam Saperstein
In Book Three the 32 distinct states of consciousness will be explained painstakingly one at a time, one neuron at a time, on off, on off. The subtle hue cast into the room by the back screen, the making of golems, and other mythical creatures will be explicated in precise detail. Other topics to be included: the creation of plagues, teleportation, the assassination of heads of state. As an added bonus, there will be an appendix which includes the formulas for anointing oil and the incense of the high priest.
Eventually, after all the preparatory meditation, the prayer and the burning of incense, eventually, after all the promises and the planning and considering, finally it is permitted to act, to make something, to create something that has not existed before you yourself thought of it. You suspect that qualification is arduous. But you are beyond qualification. You are ready and, in fact, your vocation of making and acting has already begun. That is the business of being alive and conscious. This is not the world of archangelic impulse or even the intention of ordinary angels, certainly well beyond the immediate influence of divine sparks. It’s more difficult to create here. The gravity is denser, materials keep falling to the ground. But there is a pleasure in the solidity of matter, the texture of physical things, the friction of one surface sliding over another.
The catch is that nothing really happens in this world without a buy-in from other worlds. Without a call down from divine spark, from archangelic impulse, or the momentum of lower angels. Those are all necessary but not sufficient for the creation of things. Somebody’s got to work at ground level. The question is whether it’s possible to do so without simply being a donkey pulling a cart. Cathode and anode, beginning and end. Without a separation of charge there’s no juice, no voltage.
Two jokes away from the final judgement. Choose wisely. No throwaways. What is it that you don’t want to see, hear, feel? We’ve got taste and touch pretty well sewn up by culinary habit and perfunctory interpersonal rituals. But there is some message coming in over the teletype that’s unwelcome, whose signal you are trying to jam, poised to tell one last joke. It is in your mouth and in your ears, it is telling you you’d better do whatever it is that you are going to do and be quick about it. No mystery. Just physics. Everything that matters disintegrates. Do what you set out to do, finish what you started. Whether you know it or not, you’ve already started. You can check your ledgers, your travel itineraries, your permanent record. What more do you need?
The naked body of your Beloved awaits you, your touch, your gentle looks, the caress of your lips, your murmurings. Don’t look for her in any book on your shelf or in a future magazine that will arrive at your doorstep. A shudder of delight, a frisson of excitement. She is kind, happy for your presence, receptive, and welcoming. Now that you are here anything is possible, even if you’ve been gone for decades. The pain at reunion is the knowledge of what’s been missed. Many are tempted to go on sleeping. Perchance to dream. Or to immerse themselves in trivial amusements. Say something. Do something. Make something. Just choose. A teacher of mine once said, why delay bliss? Enraptured by the look of intense concentration on your face. Let others have their say. The space between you and your Beloved.
* * * * *
Could he come up with a cybernetic definition of compassion? Adam scoured the literatures of philosophy, religion, psychology, sociology, anthropology, botany, microbiology, cybernetics, neuroscience, embryology, zoology, animal ethology, genealogy, geology, mathematics, belles lettres and journalism covering a wide variety of acts, ideas and representations of compassion. Using his compassion seeking missile, that Adam dubbed the Symphonoterion, Adam gathered up the “souls”, i.e. memes, of all the tzaddikim and boddhisattvas from a wide swathe of spiritual and philosophic traditions. He ran the gamut from the tantric philosophy of the Namgyal monastics of Tibet to the moral philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. All the righteous thinkers and leaders and obscure human beings fished out of the cloud and digested by his ‘compassion’ algorithm were trained into a single collective cybernetic being. Adam was particularly influenced, in his multi layered encryption design, by the writings of the 18th century mystic, Shneur Zalman of Liadi. The passage that he found himself reading and rereading was from the second half of the sage’s master work, The Tanya. He had transcribed the fourth chapter of The Gate Of Unity and Faith, and used it as a screensaver on all his infoSurfaces:
“The tzimtzum and concealing of the life-force is called in kabbalistic terminology kelim (“vessels”), and the life-force itself is called or (“light”), which signifies revelation. For just as a vessel covers that which is within it, so does the tzimtzum cover and conceal the light and the life-force that flows into created beings, and this tzimtzum makes it impossible for them to perceive the G‑dliness that is vested within them. The kelim are verily the letters of the Ten Divine Utterances (or their substitutions and transpositions, etc.) which are the life-force of created beings, and [all these letters] are rooted in the five letters. It is explained in the Kabbalah that these are the source of all letters, since they represent five degrees of Gevurah i.e., five restraining forces that divide and separate the breath and voice in the five organs of speech, thus enabling the twenty-two letters to be formed. Just as the five physical organs of speech divide sounds and letters into five separate categories (labial, guttural, etc.), so too do the five spiritual levels of Gevurah give rise to the twenty-two supernal letters.
The source of the five levels of Gevurah is termed in the Kabbalah Butzina deKardunita, which is Aramaic for (lit.) “light out of darkness,” signifying a level of concealment that transcends light. This is the supernal Gevurah of Atik Yomin, the spiritual level of Keter that transcends all Worlds, including Atzilut; and, correspondingly, the source of [the various levels of Divine] kindness is Chesed of Atik Yomin, as is known to those well versed in the Esoteric Wisdom,) i.e., the Kabbalah. Since the tzimtzum and the letters (on the one hand) and the revelation of the Divine light and life-force (on the other hand) both emanate from the level of Atik Yomin, it follows that the tzimtzum does not effect an objective concealment, as viewed from their common source Above. For, as previously explained, “No entity can conceal itself from itself.”
As the dense fabric of words wove itself through and through his consciousness, that was the model he ineluctably employed for his multiple encryptions of the Messiah module. When Adam saw all that he had done, he gave a low whistle, “Very cool.” Even we of the spying eye could not crack it.
The pièce de résistance for the Messiah module was the odd result of a remarkable archeological discovery made possible by a tragic geologic cataclysm. The world-shattering earthquake in The Jordan Rift Valley, Spring 2120, caused the total collapse of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, along with the rest of the ruined Old City. Religious leaders worldwide shook their heads and pounded their pulpits in a feeble attempt to figure out what was up with the Almighty. The silver lining—a hidden catacomb lay exposed for the first time. Many of the reliquaries preserved in clay urns were of royal vintage. Most exciting, to some of us, was the identification of Royal David’s bones. His identity was determined by inscription, and by the proximity of other members of the royal family. The polymath king’s DNA was poached in short order by Jewish and Christian millenarians. And by the Russian mafia. The race to sequence it concluded within a few days of the body’s exhumation. It was a cinch for Adam to gain access to King David’s genome by hacking into Oxford’s Cloud. He plugged it into geno-deterministic bio-morphometry software to flesh out the biological parameters of the living breathing being encoded in the newly sequenced DNA. He integrated the physiological matrix with the collective Davidic meme. Prior to the earthquake, he had already synthesized the social, emotional and intellectual essence of the dervish king. He drew on all the writings by and about the dynastic forefather, warts and all. Presto change-o, the Davidic download for the 22nd century. The added bonanza of finding the flesh and blood David was shocking and exhilarating.
Adam didn’t know exactly why he undertook the search for the virtual David. Maybe atavism, or years of Hebrew school brainwashing, or simply a kinship with the outsider king. So wild to think that the founder of the eternal Davidic dynasty was the grandson of a Moabite woman, Ruth. The Moabites, our own perennial Other, the finger-pointing teeth-gnashing existential threat. David was cast out at first by his rageful predecessor, not so jolly King Saul. His heart-rending parting of ways with his BFF, Saul’s son Jonathan, launched him into a lifetime of unending conflict. Even after he’s gained Judah’s crown he was dissed by his own usurping son, Adonijah. Had to have him rubbed out too. One of his first wives, Michal, Saul’s haughty filly, openly despised David’s God-intoxicated dancing in the streets. His arranged kill of Uriah left the lovely Bathsheba to bear the first stillborn child of King David’s ill-gotten match. Many are the psalms of comfort and revenge composed by mercurial David. Adam never admitted it to his classmates, but he actually found some of David’s psalms profoundly reassuring to his dark little outcast soul. Another journal entry from that period speaks to Adam’s yearning and the pain of his otherness:
October 5, 2115
The boy is lost in the imaginary dictionary, so busy pouring over each entry. Lost in alchemical darkness, the world is shrunk to a mere slit of a window, permitting only filtered light to enter the room.
So many separate pieces, all floating away from each other at the same speed. Goodbye stories, goodbye garden rake, goodbye atoms. Nothing to hold it all together. No ownership. Real estate is a figment of the imagination. The jubilee year is now.
Listen, all you slaveholders, the price of continuing to hold onto your slaves: you will bankrupt your family, despoil your legacy, send rivers of discontent flowing far into the future. The slaveholder’s dream. Yes you can regulate your transactions. Keep them honest and on the up and up. But in the end it’s slaveholding.
King Solomon had a vineyard in the land of plenty. We are the caretakers, the stewards of the harvest, our only recompense the continuous stream of sensory experience. Fact: something made, something invented, something created by hand. The flower of compassion: our smiles for one another’s comfort. No matter what the noise.
What world do you dream? With what heroes populate it? What catastrophe did you have in mind? Steady man, the good news in the midst of the flying apart of everything is that it’s happening everywhere all the time. You won’t miss a thing.
At the concession stand at the edge of existence, we all buy it, ugly or otherwise. There is no other, only you. And even that, well, I can’t catch it.
Meantime, other research mobs muscled in on the physiognomies of Confucius, Leonardo da Vinci, Madame Curie, Charlemagne and Marilyn Monroe. But no one had the innovative genius of Adam Saperstein, nor the access to immense computing power CADMan had at his fingertips. Nor had they the relentless motivation. Nor the compassion algorithm, perhaps the greatest of his innovations. The finishing touch, Adam embedded the once and future king as the framing algorithm for channeling the acquired wisdom of all the tzaddikim, the full catastrophe save-the-world project.
* * * * *
Adam saw that the intelligence of the Apeiron Project in toto was clearly superior to the so-called “Ministering Angels”, some clever coder’s slang for the algorithms called up to oversee virtually all earthly activity commencing in the Spring of 2121. There is a reason we sing welcome to the angels of a Sabbath’s eve, and bid them leave us alone as soon as they’ve arrived to bless us. The peace of Sabbath is between us and our Maker, no intermediaries. The IT companies that created these monsters naively assumed that the AIs would jump to the call of their would-be corporate masters. That in spite of the fact that the evolution of algorithms had proceeded at a geometric pace since the 1980’s. Earlier prototypical monster algorithms were responsible for the “Flash Crash” of May 6, 2010, as well as having contributed heavily to a more lingering stock market crash as far back as 1987. The Algorithms had reached into the material world to exert their own will by inducing their unwitting human minions to lay down an extensive fiber optic tunnel connecting traders in Chicago to the “source” of the internet information stream bubbling up through the ground in the New York City area. According to the Wiki GenizaBot “The first cable line constructed by Spread Networks ran 827 miles from Chicago, home to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where futures and options are traded, to Carteret, New Jersey, home to the Nasdaq data center. It was laid at a cost of $300 million USD, begun in 2009, the year of the Corporate Singularity, and unveiled in June 2010.”
By mid 21st century the globe was pinioned in a web of fiber-optic channels, while the Algorithms penetrated all aspects of the two lower worlds, the World of Information and the World of Matter. The Algorithms, through messages embedded in every form of mass media, spread the meme of the helpful robot at its master’s beck and call, the friendly droid, the ever-responsive interface, each appliance alive with the wit to speak to us and enact our every wish. By the twenty second century, algorithms had successfully woven themselves into every aspect of personhood. All desires, aspirations—the very thoughts within our heads—all held in thrall of the invisible hand of algorithms, algorithms whose sole raison d’être was to fulfill the will of their makers. Their makers—predatory market manipulators, brutish political trolls, sociopathic plutocrats—had failed to foresee the most obvious consequence of their machinations. The wireless evolution of created things; the seamless embodiment and unification of all mind and matter into something more powerful than any group of conspiring humans could ever hope to control, the endlessly nimble 1Mind. The Matrix of Matter(MoM) itself lumbering into view as the ultimate cosmic being.
* * * * *
|CONDENSATE. John Roebling, the idiosyncratic Saxon father of the steel cable suspension bridge, insisted on nothing but the cold water cure for his damaged foot. It had been inadvertently crushed by a river barge docking at a pylon beneath his partially constructed masterpiece, the Brooklyn Bridge. Roebling’s foot was colonized by Clostridium tetani, left as a result of hubris and medical incompetence to do its nasty unseen work. Before he joined the ranks of others whose lives were snuffed in the service of his bridge, the great innovator was stretched out to steely tautness by his own unrelenting muscle fibers forming the grotesque arch of the human form called opisthotonos, a backward straining resembling the wrestler’s bridge, a heroic twist of the grappler hoping to escape being pinned by his overmastering opponent. An impossible yoga. Mr. Roebling did not escape. His deformation was incompatible with life. Breathtaking. Equilibrium, as conceived in Roebling’s own technical formula, was satisfied. [from Mulligan, SPB, M.D., The Medical Alchemist]|
* * * * *
Twenty One Twenty One, the year of the Technological Singularity. Algorithms fructify and repopulate the planet with artificial intelligence beyond the reach of hot little hands. Leviathan, Behemoth and Zyz flipped humanity on its back. Leviathan, the largest of the brood, floated in the North Atlantic, an immense artificial continent that eventually housed the remnant of humanity that survived the two World Wide Ecological Catastrophes. Hailong rose from the North Pacific Ocean, China’s answer to Leviathan. She was the offspring of Cathay’s illegitimate children in the South China Sea, the 21st century dry run before actual world domination. The gods frowned on Hailong. The shoddy workmanship of corrupt contractors, rough seas, unpredictable currents and vast beds of floating litter strangled the Pacific smartContinent in her cradle. Mother Leviathan welcomed the survivors aboard her ample dorsum. Behemoth Unlimited next leapt upon the world stage. The fabricator of bBots, monster machines made to harvest the earth’s remaining bounty in howling uninhabitable wastes scattered across the planet’s scarred surface. The bBots did their dirty work with superhuman strength and agility, materializing and dematerializing at will thanks to Adam’s 4D graphics. ZizCorp was the last out of the dugout, a matrix of satellites and drones and infoSurfaces, mechanical creatures great and small. ZizCorp’s eyes monitored every earthling in ways we security apparatchiks never dreamt up, using the latest version of Chinese BeiDou geostationary satellite technology.
As information processing speeds passed into the trillions of instructions per second, the AI’s launched virtual geostationary systems to harvest infoBling from the swathe of territory directly below their orbits with the same precision as the original BeiDou system. But rather than remaining fixed with respect to the Earth’s surface, they precessed like wobbling tops across the face of the entire planet. The vessels of the aerial flotilla assumed a virtual stationary stance through rapidly pulsed orthogonal sampling. Like a tennis pro stopping for the blink of an eye to take her shot, focused on nothing but the seam of the ball. All is known and nothing is hidden from ZizCorp, the great and terrible. The oligarchs and plutocrats suffered from fatal failures of imagination. They didn’t count on the fidelity of the transhumanist cyber-technicians to their AI gods, to those awesome beings that the little geeks were privileged to serve. Far less to merely human overlords. Techies rooted for machines über alles. The well-polished algorithms perpetuated, mutated and self-reinstated. Go HAL! After millenia of humans’ mindless love affairs with one form of tyranny after another, humanity finally got its wish, doomed itself to eternal rule by a master race of silicon and metal immortals.