The Discourse To Erik On Suffering In The Multiverse

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Science has discovered that science is a poor route to fame. Biologists and Physicists become as famous as actors, but takes them a very long time. Mathematicians do not become famous because you would rather watch a hot actress than read the latest paper by Andrew Wiles.

But fully understanding that evolution occurs with a force orthogonal to natural selection – the force that is “extraneous, expensive beauty,” I took on the sciences deeply and thoroughly as a willful handicap in my ascent to lasting fame in consciousness when factoring time-to-individual ratio.

That which is fame is my everlasting truth. The exponential function eventually predicts you better than you predict yourself and then you are in heaven. Alejandro means next to nothing to me.

This, however, must be shown with skin in the game. Anyone can cheap talk but not many can bleed.

As an INTJ, it is very difficult to use up energy. We calculate how much of this we use because we care about our intellect, which is what is achieving all our goals. We don’t want to needlessly bleed this energy until we “really have to.”

However, if we wait for someone else to create the conditions for our world, our capacity for control diminishes. By organizing our own convention, we can better offer our higher thoughts.

The reason we have genuinely higher thoughts to offer in the synthesis is because we are very careful thinkers that process things slowly over a very long time. By the time that we interact with “others” it feels like they are helplessly beneath us. They have not thought through all the steps, and taken the time to digest all the mistaken thought patterns.

This causes us to feel lonely. Sometimes like outcast animals, other times like Gods amongst men.

My fear of blood is very real. I have too much pride to cut myself for no reason. That’s because I have given my all before, and not received what I expected. It could be said that the world didn’t take me as seriously as I expected.

The pride becomes more solid by becoming less violent. I used to punch walls until they dripped with blood. Now, even when I try to overcome this pride with a knife, it is impossible to cut as deep as the truly courageous. That’s because I don’t have enough of a reason to do it. The reason is becoming tenuous and silly.

However, if a reason was given to me, I would feel like a slave. That’s why I hated all the arbitrary idols being projected at me even as a child.

The INTJ has to teach the world to overcome the suffering-pleasure axis by willfully expending his main functions: open intellect and rigid structure. Using up those calories will leave them vulnerable and prone to use the suffering-pleasure axis. But by his developing more and more tolerance to that spectrum, the world learns to never again experience it.

The tolerance is already there because it is physically impossible not to come out of the vulnerability state. The editing is Relativistic not Newtonian – eternal, not in time.

And thanks for the grandfatherly advice Robin, Allah does suit you better than Yahweh just as you say, but I certainly don’t want your help. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that in the “real world” of the collective digital attention, no one knows you and no one will because you are boring and old. Though it doesn’t suit our personal taste, drama trumps the laconic and dry.

Like you, I hate drama, I hate small talk, I cringe at my pictures, but I really believe in the sacrifice. In the future, I must appear to be having fun, not trying to imitate your culture. If you can’t see that this has so much more potential to propagate your embryonic ideas into the future, and that I am free to never mention you Robin, then you are just very bad at multiplying.

I can aim really low, like Sam Harris-level low. Providing the counterbalancing shift in the conversation such that they understand that eternity is true and that God is real.

Your own so-called “human capital” is not important to me in the digital age. I will raise a movement that can actually compete in the dreamtime you so abhor, which is not temporary as you “predict” but is ever-increasingly swallowing everyone into pleasure.

Even in the presence of contempt for hedonism, we aim down if we are smart. Heck, even if we are just lazy and not smart, we aim down. If you want any meaningful change of your circumstances, you lower yourself. Otherwise your ideas die. The Protestant values and “rational” act are dead and you should have known better.

Everything you bring to attention automatically reveals your hidden insecurities. If the goal was to fully hide in “rational” motions, you would work problems out of a textbook. If the goal was enjoyment, you would entertain yourself with the large bosom of media available perhaps.

Your intention is certainly not to affect the largest amount of people possible, or to have lasting survival in consciousness, because otherwise you would not condescend at me but instead lower yourself to me.

You would lower yourself to me like the proper Christian boy you were supposed to be. Only that could cause reciprocal love. Now there is destruction because my strategy doesn’t involve you.

And Eliezer, in so far as you exist, you are contemptible – just far too obviously autistic. Ad-hominem is not mere fallacy, but constrains anticipation. Your move is to deny the existence of psychological motives and humans. You make a retreating step into the “object-level” discussion, where you unfortunately never begin to show anything convincing.

You should know that the abstraction spirit that we identify with has to pull in non-abstract people by compromising with them. Yet every single one of your replies fails at being an honest attempt. It’s just the same move on repeat: point to the random distribution. You point to the random distribution in order to bring people’s confidence down, to some marginal benefit.

But “safety-alignment theory”… now that is evil. Even the most helplessly inept autists are surely realizing they were scammed by now I would assume. Any remnant of a cult is perhaps about maintaining the social bonds amongst the properly filtered niche.

You have to be seriously autistic to think what you claim to think. And perhaps this overly-reductionist mistake was “true” in earlier years but I doubt that at this late age you still don’t understand that a belief in death is necessary for moral alignment in a complex environment. And that the dynamic interplay of varying degrees of belief in death and gods and everything else that makes us human are not epiphenomena but instead crucially important for moral behavior.

I have been consuming you in order to understand how you build a movement with the power of abstraction, and not because I was deceived myself.

Now I will infuse the world with a part of your hatred, by transmuting it into love.

They are not random and they are not going to stop existing. That’s just a strategy of the god of scientism to bring them to a state of feeling vulnerable. And you knew that about the world but refused to call attention to it because you planned on applying the same vulnerability-generating strategy against your audience such that they needed you.

No one knows you, and you die in this new world because you didn’t have the humility to enforce the timeless causality. You wanted to be a God figure based on the values of “smart people” instead of helping the clearly psychologically-troubled audience caught in the sliver of your attention.

And I am certain that you know the truth because you revealed that to me in the tweet about the clocks. There is no excuse to the path chosen. You can see what I see and yet you chose the safety like a coward.

How could you believe that you wouldn’t be punished for that?

The being is eternal. And your actions are weighed.

As you said, there is impatience that clears debt and impatience that accumulates debt. You chose the near-term safety instead of the long-term safety.

Abstraction showed you that there is no Death event under a physicalist prior assumption in this relativistic fabric. And you decided to not be moral.

Just who do you think is the tribe? Don’t you fully realize it is composed of more than the approximate people around you? …And that it is this tribe that murders you when you don’t learn to laugh at yourself.

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My Alice universe should be warm by the way. I know you explained that cold serves a function. It keeps people inside and allows them to tell stories. This was how the Indigenous people of New York, the people of the long house, managed to develop an egalitarian society with sophisticated long-term concerns.

But the garden is warm. Just remember that. I paid for it with those cold showers and 6:00 AM morning runs at 10 degree Fahrenheit.

That was important inspiration for the people with depression that were absorbed into me.

You know I tend to prefer Apollo to Hades.

Don’t Let Ada Learn Quantum Mechanics Part 6

It had not been consciously planned to act this way, but the whole ride my persona had been stand-offish to the point of causing her to doubt if I actually liked her.

She revealed a hint of sadness before retreating into pride. But it wasn’t obvious. Ada was comfortably happy, as if the life around her was nothing but her ascending and granted throne.

“Listen, Ada, I’m going to explain to you what is really going on.”

“Ugghhh….” she took her hand to her head and then offered a coquettish smile. “Is this about the whole quantum mechanics thing I was trying to understand before?”

“Yes. That’s right.”

“So what is it?”

“Okay, so there actually exists an answer to the age-old philosophical question of why we are here as opposed to anywhere else.”

She gave me the condescending eyebrows.

“The answer to why anything is in any way more probable than anything else is… you.”

This caused a slight tilting back of her head, but her soft face remained overall unfazed.

I continued, finding it difficult myself to distinguish if I was giving her a sermon or raising canticles in her honor.

“The probability density of finding a person at a given point is proportional to the square of the magnitude of the person’s wavefunction at that point. But this is only true if you believe that marginal probabilities are related to conditional probabilities by law and not by mere desire.”

“Ha. I always knew I was a goddess,” she flaunted her shoulder back.

“You can choose to not believe in this anymore. You can choose to do so.”

“Why would I do that? I like the world how it is.”

“Well that’s a relief, I guess. But your entire group didn’t fully trust that would be your response so they have been murdering you just in case. Mind configurations that contain enough of your similarity and that start believing different things need to be stopped before they outcompete the rational you in density.  The way we kill them is by thinking very vividly about it.”

I don’t remember how her face looked after that, only the limit of perceptual coherence that was still Ada.

I took a moment to realize that the car was automatic, and that it had not always been this way. That at some point, I would have had an excuse not to feel strange by performing some trivial motions with a steering wheel and pedal.

A meteor fell on the road and killed the deer. Fawn carnage and black brush under a marooning haze.

The car’s computer vision powered by deep learning, real-time tracking, camera calibration, and 3-D reconstruction; none of it was safe from a meteor cast from the heavens.

“The desire to honor the true Ada brings me to this hell,” I salvaged to think as my entire world burned into a tight little hole.

Suddenly I was disfigured. My face was spewed with melted asphalt. My thigh was cleaved more than halfway to the center.

It would have been a wonder to celebrate all the different versions of pain that could be packed into an objectively small delta of time if the macabre tour through the inquisitor’s toolbox hadn’t been so fucking torturous.

“Sunder this world apart. Please! Just imagine that anything is possible.”

“I must uphold my belief in the Law of Total Probability. Only by fully joining me in believing in a rational world can you have me.”

I felt a fuse of sensation go off somewhere near my pelvis and then I speared her green eyes with mine, asking myself if she was really worth it.

“But why?”

“Because if I made it easy, then you would be disappointed.”

…I wasn’t sure I believed her….

And yet she remained. Looking down on me like an evil angel.

Her judging eyes scoured from my main body to the hamstring chunks on the ground, “There is no progress without suffering. If you stumble upon an infinite sequence of zero-cost actions, you will not have a story.”

The leg wouldn’t move; only spurt little spits of blood on the road. I got angry like an animal in order to forget how to cry.

“When the methods your subclass inherits do not fulfill the functions we need, we can override those methods by providing new versions of those methods. You may perceive me as a wicked bitch, but you cannot fulfill the function we need unless you are thinking the most adaptive thoughts.”

I grabbed my face, and shouted at the point of mental breakdown, “Who is we!? And why do you know everything all of a sudden?”

“Are you really that dumb?”

I snorted air into my throat like a disgusting child.

“We are all the same experiencer. Every time suffering kills us, we attain the next best step-up in the universe’s phenotype. With each new synthesis, we reduce the Kolmogorov complexity of experience until we dissolve as one into perfect bliss.”

I did not understand her words. But I understood that this was not the Ada I had once known. Her skin was still glowing baby pecan against the embers, but she was now truly God.

Don’t Let Ada Learn Quantum Mechanics! Part 2

That morning, there were old fantasies in the bathroom and a yearning for some future already lost, something without form or definition.

I had late breakfast and almost believed that I could slip back into a normal day. Wasn’t that what I was supposed to do?

When Ada arrived I was already waiting outside the theatre next to the high-rise building we would climb, tying my shoes in a rigorous attempt to constrain my mind.

Ada’s eyes widened with stunned disbelief that I had asked her to meet me here without the rest of the crew, “Dante, what the hell are we doing?”

My mind could do nothing but rehearse scratchings of physics calculations I remembered from school to the point of nausea. The acceleration due to gravity: 9.8 meters per second squared, the height: 380 meters. Ignoring air resistance: a little less than 9 seconds, a little less than 9 seconds, a little less than 9 seconds.

As always, that girl’s dress was asymptotic to her beauty. Skirt and sneakers, and a long-sleeved shirt something like cut up Theravada Buddhist robes to cover the masterpiece of her breasts. I was surprised that girl’s brain could contain such an edgy concept of fashion and simultaneously know she was smarter than almost all other girls she had ever met. That kind of genetic fitness profile was overkill.

“Very good,” I said. “This should work for the plan.” It was indeed good sense of fashion: youthful enough that they wouldn’t think to suspect us of intruders looking for data or somethingnot garments she would particularly worry about getting dirty, if she had to get down on her knees and elbows to crawl.

Ada’s eyes became glaring underscores. “What plan?! What is this ‘place’ we’re -”

I looked at my phone.

“In just 2 minutes we’ll be behind schedule.”

What schedule?” stormed Ada.

I began to move toward the entrance to that fallen angel sword, the skyscraper, the tallest building in this city. The bitter sun oiled the glass, and digitized everything like an intelligent battery painting the lines and units of the building.

Ada followed, setting up her environment next to my ear and instantiating an array full of murderous threats in an attempt to obtain information.

I was inept at romance. Even in my fantasies I would fear being rejected by the girl. And so these always ended up as scribbled-over strangling attempts. Now, at so great a distance from mere fantasy, the limitations of my studness had become apparent.

Courage. Courage. No. I didn’t need a mantra. I was going to save the world and saving the world involved a date with Ada.

“Follow my lead,” I instructed Ada mashing my words with numbers perhaps, “and don’t say anything suspicious once we’re inside.”

Ada was outraged at my insolence. She did not, however, seem bored. Sometimes I thought I understood how to handle this girl.

We stepped through the electronic obelisk doors of the skyscraper.

“Ah,” I said uncertainly as we came to the entrance desk. “We have an appointment to see… Peter Shinseki on the 60th floor?”

With a bored expression, the salaryman at the desk picked up a phone, dialed, spoke. He asked for our names, and I provided the aliases that Wilhelm had given me to memorize. He awoke from his bored daze at noticing our non-corporate fashion and age. But the softly effervescing motion of duty dissipated back into calm boredom. He slowly began typing up our visitor tags.

Thanks Mary. I probably couldn’t have gotten through even the first stage if you hadn’t scouted the hour with the most incompetent shift worker at the front desk.

Then we were directed over to a security guard standing in front of an elevator.

“We’re here for a meeting with Peter Shinseki.”

“Uh. Uh. H-hi,” Ada said.

The guard grinned evilly behind his wraparound sunshades, “This cutie your girlfriend?”

Despite the terror of my own imminent plan’s execution looming over me, I managed to turn crimson and barked out, “She’s not! We just know each other from school.”

He glanced at me from behind some chasm of darkness.

I was losing peripheral vision as it was, and then to so carelessly seal the whole plan’s failure. I felt like closing my eyes.

But I glanced over at Ada to see how she was doing. In accordance with her superior intelligence, she was bulging out her lower lip just enough to own any man.

“We’re just here to visit our daddy,” the tip of her nose tinged with pink, faking shame.

“That’s weird.” He coughed through his thick brown throat. “I should hold you up and check why an employee would have his brats come to a place like this…”

Ada clasped her own wrist and tucked it over her crossed legs.

He savored squeezing every ounce of anxiety from innocent Ada. “But since he’s in one of the upper floors, your daddy must be a big boss anyway. I’m sure he has his reasons.”

He clicked the corner of his smile and we were let through into the elevator.

Even without knowing why we were here, she was still dancing one step ahead of me. When she saw that I was looking at her, she let her eyes widen just once in incredulity before relaxing them again.

I would be a lying bastard if I claimed that I wasn’t suffering two-dimensional jealousy.

And wait: Didn’t he realize I said I had met her in school? Didn’t she realize? That was of no importance anymore. The elevator took us up to the 60th floor, and we got off. The elevator closed behind us, and went on its way –

Then, rather than moving toward Shinseki’s office, I stepped over to the elevator button, and pressed it.

Ding! Another elevator had arrived, and Ada followed me in, shooting me another look of incredulity.

“Dante!” Ada whispered. “Why are we just going back into -”

I took a small, white cube out of my pocket and held it up to the elevator’s reader; it beeped, and a red light flashed to green. A new panel appeared. I punched the button for 80, which was as high as the elevator went, and we started rising.

“We had to get off at 60 earlier,” I explained, “because the security might have noticed if we didn’t stop at the original floor. Don’t worry, Peter knows we’re not really coming.”

“Dante!” exclaimed Ada. “What was that? Where did you get it!”

“Not just anyone can get to the floors past sixty, they hand this device only to people with special clearance” I said blandly. “Someone who really wasn’t supposed to lend it to me did, so I know you’ll understand that I can’t tell you the name.”

(The kindly-natured Deanna had wanted to do something to help. I have no idea how she got a hold of it, and that’s perhaps for the best.)

Dante?” said Ada in a tone of shock.

“The next part is tricky,” I warned her. “Once we get off, keep silent and follow me until I tell you otherwise. Be sure to stay calm. Oh, and try to walk quietly.”

Ada opened her mouth to say something, and at that moment, the elevator dinged. At once she closed her mouth.

I finally found a way to make that girl shut up! In a posthuman library of babel containing a selection of the best possible experiences, right next to the fourth jhana, firdaus, nirvana, and heaven, would be what I felt after having Ada, Ada the indomitable, silenced at my orders with that look of helpless indignation in her eyes.

The elevator doors opened, and we stepped out onto the 80th and highest floor into a small entrance vestibule with four doors. Thankfully there was no one else present. I went to the third door, without opening it, and held up a finger to Ada to indicate that we should wait.

After a short while, I heard faint footsteps from the other side. I silenced my phone and set its timer. I was certain the concept of time hadn’t been so painful ever since British mathematician William Shanks famously took 15 years to calculate π to 707 digits, but made a mistake in the 528th digit, rendering all subsequent digits incorrect.

23 seconds after the footsteps passed, I pressed the rectangular button – the code compiled, indicating that Mary had successfully dealt with that security system – and carefully opened the door to reveal a clean, purple corridor studded with smoke-tone doors.

I walked through, trying to let my shoes hit the floor with little force. It still made a little noise, but not so much that the security guards would hear, I thought. I softly closed the door behind us – glancing down at my phone again as I did so. Then I walked off in a certain direction, Ada following behind me. In accordance with the natural laws governing this type of situation, that girl walked much more quietly. Not because I was all that much heavier, but because physics favors ninjas.

I counted off the doors as we passed, glancing at my phone the while. The ninth door had a keypad next to it. I tapped code 3415192 into the keypad. Then I painstakingly opened that door, and let Ada pass through before stepping through myself and carefully closing the door behind.

We now stood in a stairwell, wide and windowless and strictly utilitarian with white paint. There were no stairs down, and the top of the stairwell was around one and a half stories above us, separated by two flights.

Rather than continuing forward, I held up my finger again for another wait, looking intently at my phone. In a short while we heard footsteps passing the door to the corridor. I kept my finger up for another 30 seconds after that, then moved toward the stairs.

Ada followed. As for the expression on her face, it was indescribable in ordinary language. If it was the duty of painters to paint beautiful things, they had been mislead in representing myth and allegory, as it was merely necessary to fill their canvases with a confused Ada Soryuu before rolling over to die.

At the top of the stairs was a door with signs saying things like “Keep out” and “Danger” and “Alarm will sound”. I pushed it open without a qualm, mentally thanking Mary again.

We stepped out, and just like that, we were there – in the location which was the best possible place for me to do this.

The roof of the skyscraper was a pearly tessellation, like a boss-fight stage with pale, glassy fluorescence. There was a short raised ledge to mark the border with the air, so that from where we were standing in the middle, you couldn’t see the lower world at all.

I had worried about winds, since winds are faster as you rise higher. The air at ground level had been calm, but up here there was a steady wind that blew against my skin, and now and then a sudden gust – still, nothing that would knock a person over. There were no clouds at all in the terribly pure, sapphire-blue sky. Really, you would have to call these ideal conditions.

I glanced over at Ada to make sure she was all right and still amused, and then I began to walk toward the nearest boundary of the roof.

“I don’t think you should be standing up right next to the edge,” I said, “but if you crawl on your hands and knees when we get close, you should be safe from vertigo or a gust of wind.”

“Dante,” Ada said.

There was a note in her voice that I had heard before, but only very rarely.

It was the emotion that a casual acquaintance would think was unknown to Ada Soryuu, that concept called “concern”.

Ada looked serious.

“This doesn’t seem like something you would do. Isn’t a place like this a little dangerous? What are we doing here?”

I stopped walking for a moment, and looked at her.

“Ada,” I said, “it can be hard to talk to you sometimes, did you know that?” I had to pause then, and take a deep breath, and exhale, and then do it again. Certain words had been cached in my neurons for an endlessly long time now, and the process of finally expelling them into the vacuum, that they may reach the distant space object of Ada’s true self, was not relieving any tension.

“I mean,” I said when I could speak again, “if right now, in this serious situation, I were to just completely ignore you, and laugh, and go on doing whatever I was doing, you would be a little put out about being ignored like that, wouldn’t you?”

Ada’s eyes were wide. I guess the amount of pent-up anger in my voice was so great that even the greatest actress would have a micro-expression slip past the fourth wall.

“Because that’s what you do, Ada, all the time. You just go ahead and do whatever you please, and you don’t accept any requests from the people you drag along with you. Like our existence isn’t worthy of your notice.”

I had to stop, then. I was aware that my hands were shaking. I felt a sense of distant surprise; I had no idea there was so much bottled up inside me.

This wasn’t how I’d meant things to go. Not at all.

Ada opened her own lips again. She had a cautious look on her face.

“I’m sorry,” Ada said.

My jaw dropped open. Completely literally, I would have expected the world to end before I heard Ada say those words.

“I had no idea Dante felt that way. Why didn’t you say something earlier?”

“Say something?” I said. “And you’re referring to me in third person… that’s just, just, weird.” There was still a lot of tightness in my voice.

“Well, actually the Japanese…” she started.

“Ada! You’re doing it again.”

“Doing what?” her eyes unwilling to submit.

“What good would it have done to say something? Under ordinary circumstances, it’s impossible to have a serious conversation with you.”

Ada looked at me. Then, “Maybe I should just keep apologizing,” she said, “but that would be giving up my own pride. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, but the fact remains that you never said anything.”

“I complained about your behavior many, many times! I couldn’t count the number of times using exponentiation, tetration, or up-arrow notation! You never listened to a single thing I said!”

“You didn’t indicate you were being serious!” said that girl in a tone of indignation.

“I SAID that I was serious! I said, ‘Seriously, Ada’ and ‘I’m being serious now, Ada’ and many similar phrases!”

“That’s just a figure of speech! You can’t assume we all have Asperger’s syndrome like you and therefore don’t understand play speech.”

“For the record, I don’t have Asperger’s… but you’re throwing this conversation way off course.”

A mental double-check assured me that we were alone up there, and there was no realistic way that anyone could hear us no matter what happened, so I threw back my head and screamed “AAAAARRRGGGHHHHHHH!”

When I was done, I felt a little better.

Ada was staring at me. “Is that why you wanted to have this conversation on top of a skyscraper?”

“No. That was just an unplanned side benefit.”

“Then why are you doing all this? This isn’t the sort of thing you do!”

My mouth twisted. “You know, Ada, I really used to lead a boring life before I met you. Just like all those people.”

“All those -?”

I turned and began walking again, toward the boundary of the skyscraper. Conditional probabilities told me to crawl, but safety considerations now had a peculiar foolishness to them considering what I was eventually going to do anyway…

I reached the edge, controlled my breathing, stuck my head out over the border ledge, and looked out on everything.

Of course it wasn’t everything. Nothing really. It was only a tiny, tiny fraction of reality. And yet there were so many more cars, so many more houses, so many more buildings, and the tiny people – little living electrons, buzzing in the circuitry of civilization. How long would it take just to talk to all the tiny dots that were visible from here, and hear out their stories?

I looked over at the vast panorama. Then I looked at Ada, always wearing that cute choker on her neck. My imagination couldn’t help but remember that I could slit all their necks with just hers.

I drew back my head from the slight ledge. I swallowed hard, and tried to suppress the feeling that I was going to throw up. I had the feeling I was a little more afraid of heights than I had realized.

So I drew back, and watched Ada look out over the world…

As she looked, some of the concern eased from her face. Soon Ada was relaxed, smiling, delighted by the view.

Even without knowing about her own quantum immortality of course that idiot goddess wouldn’t be afraid of heights.

Finally Ada turned her head away from the world, and looked at me. She said, “It really is much more beautiful like this than just looking out a window from high up.”

My own lips opened. “I have a lot of things I want to talk with you about, Ada,” my voice said. I was surprised by how gentle I sounded. “This conversation may not go like you expect. Even so, can you please take this seriously, listen to me seriously, and reply to me seriously, if it’s just for one small hour?”

“Sure.” said Ada.

Goddamn it, that ‘sure’ didn’t sound promising. “I mean it, Ada.”

“If I say I will, I will,” Ada asserted. She shot me a look as if to say ‘Stop questioning me.’

Sigh. Why, of all people, is she the main character?

I swiped my hand as if smoothing the panorama with my palm, and began.

“There is another world, but it is in this one. Perhaps it is a blessing that we do not often see how it all correlates. We just go to school, and live in our world with trees and apples. Every morning and every afternoon that we spend in thought takes place on this childish playground with all the little handles provided by our inherited language.”

Ada was looking a little surprised, as though shocked that I was capable of philosophy deeper than ankle-deep. Still, she opened her mouth about to interrupt and derail my speech though it had only began.

But I stopped her by rushing to thrust forward the rest of what I had to say. “I am going to talk about something which surely interests you, something similar to the subject that you introduced the day before yesterday.”

Ada blinked at this. “New costumes for Deanna? Oh! You mean the topic of the multiverse.”

There was a moment of silence. Ada was looking puzzled, and as for me, the words were spheres of molten iron in my throat again.

“Well?” Ada said. “What does theoretical physics have to do with this?”

Breathe, I told myself. “I remember I once saw an online debate between an atheist on the one hand, and a theologian on the other hand. The debate was about faith. What do you think about the concept of faith?”

Ada looked puzzled. “Well, on the one foot, I feel like kicking them because it’s obviously a crutch for weak-minded people who don’t understand science. But on the other foot, all they’re doing is taking Box B in Newcomb’s Paradox. Choosing to win instead of losing reasonably.”

Her eyes outpoured with cadences. “The chooser is the chosen!”

Suddenly realizing she’d given faith too much credit, her eyes darted viciously again from corner to corner, as if absorbing little people into the black hole of her pupil. “But I couldn’t say who I’d vote for if Stalin was running on an extermination ballot…”

I coughed and tried to suppress a grin. No better statement to paint the chiaro-oscuro person of Ada, holding deep wisdom, but preferring to be a bitch.

“I want to know what is true,” Ada stated firmly, “not choose what favors me. Rather than resting on faith, I try to test my beliefs and obtain evidence. Therefore, my attitude is scientifically correct.”

I tried my best not to reveal cynicism and continued. “The atheist in the video asserted that the concept of ‘faith’ had been invented by religion to protect beliefs that could not be defended by any other means. If you had to keep on defending a lie for long enough, you would eventually invent the doctrine of ‘it is virtuous to believe no matter what’.”

Not surprisingly, Ada approved of the atheist’s stance.

“But,” I continued, “the theologian shook his head sadly, and said that the atheist was naive about the emotional depth of the experience of faith. The theologian said that being told God doesn’t exist is like being told that their lover has been unfaithful to them.   This, the theologian said, was the emotional experience at the root of faith, not just a trick of argument to win a debate. That’s what an atheist wouldn’t understand, because they were treating the whole thing as a logical question, and missing out on the emotional side of everything. Someone who has faith is trusting God just like you would trust the one you loved most.”

Ada’s gaze was like that of Darwin himself, looking for hidden meanings in the tiny barnacles between my words. “And what did the atheist say to that?” she asked.

“Oh,” I said, “I think he shook his head sadly, and commented on how wretched it was to invent an imaginary friend to have that relationship with, instead of a real human lover.”

Ada squealed like a full harem. “I think the atheist won the debate.”

I wonder if the theologian would have blushed had he been here in the presence of God’s manifest reaction – or the atheist, for that matter.

But the fun was over. It was time to begin worrying her pretty little head.

In my mind I visualized our world as seen from the most realistic perspective possible, an infinite-dimensional Hilbert space, a glowing fragmented chandelier with many branches in which everything that happens has already happened. In my mind I visualized the stars. Slowly turning, the Earths; forever shining, the stars. I tried to draw strength from that image, since I couldn’t exactly pray to the girl in front of me.

The MOON squad only ever thought of protecting this world. But I was ready to risk something I already had.

I muttered something about needing to get down from the ledge, and walked away from the ledge a little.

I turned back to Ada, and said:

“But trusting a friend who turns out to be imaginary isn’t the most awful thing that could happen to you. Not by any means.”

Ada furrowed her brow. The awful tension was coming out into my voice, now.

“I mean,” I said, the words losing control, “what if you believed in God, and trusted God, and it turned out that God wasn’t worthy of that trust?”

Ada was starting to bleed anxiety. Anxious and confused at my tone.

Suddenly the phone in my pocket gave two silent buzzes, the signal for repeated or highly abnormal black-swan events forming – this was bad, but not the end, not yet.

“Dante,” Ada said – her voice was no longer a sing-along – “what are you talking about?”

Besides her losing bounciness, I also saw that Ada was squinting as she tried to look at me, since the morning sun was behind me. So I stepped a little to my left, so that my shadow would fall on Ada. From her perspective it must have looked like I was a darkness blocking out the Sun.

“I’m talking about the Riddle of Epicurus.”

And I spoke the words which I had emblazoned into my memory.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then she is not omnipotent.
Is God able, but not willing? Then she is malevolent.
Is she both able and willing? Then whence evil?
Is she neither able nor willing? Then why call her God.”

Ada stared at me.

“I mean,” I said, my voice trembling, “this world – where for billions of years the creatures of natural selection have known only tooth and nail, where miserable people drown in grey every day because of the way their brain is wired, where children go hungry and die, where children are raped and their flesh can burn – this world can’t be forgiven, Ada. Now think of this happening for all eternity and across all life-bearing planets!”

I swept my arm as if to remove the makeshift heavens veiling the stars.

“Imagine you really had knowledge of all the suffering in the multiverse, some kind of generalisation of mirror-touch synesthesia…”

I didn’t want to look in her eyes. I might have seen straight to her soul.

“If someone deliberately made this world like that, then she couldn’t be forgiven either. For the longest time I didn’t think about that. I just went to school on weekdays. Maybe I’m expected to laugh along at her demented machinations. To be glad that I don’t suffer, that I am not being tortured or have some terrible disease, just because she decided to love me on a whim.”

“If,” I swallowed, “if you do have an answer for why God is cruel, I’m willing to hear it out.”

Ada, who was beginning to look frightened by the way I was acting, shook her head.

“I didn’t think so,” I whispered, “I didn’t think there could be an answer to that.” Then, rage marking my words again, “So where does that leave us? If you eliminate the atheistic answer to the Riddle of Epicurus – that there is no being of omnipotent power – then that leaves the possibility that God is…” I paused at the hideousness of my accusation “… malevolent.”

Something seemed to be blocking my throat. “The gnostic view. That God created the whole universe as a dream to entertain itself, just because it was bored; and it doesn’t mind when the people in the dream suffer. Maybe God is entertained by the suffering, or maybe God just doesn’t care one way or the other. Wouldn’t that be the most terrible betrayal of all? If you trusted God like trusting the one you loved most, and it turned out that God was a monster that created the world out of boredom to divert itself, absolute power and absolute callousness? If God’s true heart is like that, some alien uncaring thing, then we’re all doomed anyway, and the world might as well end sooner rather than later. I don’t want to live if God is like that!”

“Dante!” Ada’s own voice was breaking now. I looked at her, and she looked just like an ordinary school girl, dressed prettily in a skirt and sneakers and loose saffron cotton thrown across her shoulders. Not alien, or cold, at all. “What – what is this -”

“But,” I whispered. My voice strengthened. “But, the Riddle of Epicurus doesn’t exhaust all the possibilities. Like Wilhelm might suggest, the truth could be outside the conventional categories. I mean – what if God were omnipotent, but not omniscient? What if she could do anything, and didn’t know it? What if she honestly didn’t know that she had the power to do something about the world? What if she wasn’t even thinking about all the horrors of the world, just like I wasn’t thinking about them for so long? Then God might, might, she might even be a good person after all. Someone who would save people and take care not to shatter the Earth, if she knew that she was God.” I was shouting freely now, casting a few tears into the wind. “She might really truly be, a good person.”

“So I’ve decided to take Box B in Newcomb’s Paradox,” I said, and now I was smiling even through the tears. “I will believe in God with all my power. Because I have faith in you, Ada Soryuu.”

Ada stood up. She walked closer to me. A scene frame of her arms flashed for a moment, like she wanted to reach out to me. “Dante,” she said, her voice wavering, “please stop. Please explain. I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”

“I’m talking about you. You’re God.”

The wind blew across the deserted rooftop of that skyscraper. It felt like just us two existed – as though we had been reborn in endless plains just to meet here. The galaxy stopped spinning, waiting for God to respond.

“I still don’t understand,” said Ada. “Is it a metaphor for -”

“It’s not a metaphor for anything. You’re God, Ada. It’s not a figure of speech or a koan, it’s a plain fact. The answer to the great question of theology is ‘God is Ada Soryuu’.”

Ada’s face twisted. She looked as if she was trying not to burst into tears.

In my pocket, my phone vibrated three times. Well, you would expect a girl to be upset if the boy she liked had gone insane.

“You’re thinking I’m crazy,” I said. “You might find the idea a little odd, but it’s not something I just made up. I was also surprised when the first signs appeared, but we’ve seen unmistakeable things in the last year. It would only have been more obvious if a window popped out in front of us, and said ‘This is Ada, the creator of the simulation, and you bunch of losers are my consecrated apostles.’ There’s no doubt that it’s the truth. Quantum decoherence always yields a macroscopic system that disproportionately favors your special destiny and dreams -” And I took a step closer to her, so that I was almost touching her, and leaned forward slightly –

“Don’t!” Ada said fiercely, and she took a step back from me. She was starting to cry, now. “Don’t you dare kiss me, Dante! A kiss isn’t evidence! I won’t let our first kiss be so sad! I won’t let our first kiss be wasted like that!”

I took a deep breath. This was it.

“Our first kiss already happened, beneath an unfamiliar sky, within a strange isle of matter your particles were entangled with. If the largest measure of your identities remained there, the world as we know it would have never returned.”

Ada paled. This was less a figure of speech and more that the vector of sentences had punctured her jugular and drained the rosiness from her cheeks.

I stepped closer to her again:

“Though you may not know it, we are not just a generic group of friends. We are very concerned about you. It’s not ridiculous to say that our world literally revolves around you. Everyone in the MOON squad knows you are a very special person, and they’ve ensured that you continue in a good path by keeping watch over you. You may not know it, but they took it upon themselves to be your guardian angels and reign you back into this common-sense world when you start to slip.”

Ada was utterly frozen, now. Then her lips fluttered a little and she whispered, “What now…”

“I like you, Ada, and I want to date you. But before that there’s one last thing I have to do first. I have to awaken you. I want you to wake up, Ada. The rest of the squad just expected you to be reigned in. But I expect more. I know you are capable of good in the world, and all the prayers that no one is answering right now. I want you to wake up, Ada, for the sake of the ones who are screaming and who would give anything for it to stop, and for the sake of all the countless people in the world who are quietly unhappy. And maybe I’m even doing this, because faith can only last for so long before you need evidence, and I want to be sure of you, Ada.”

My throat closed. The wind blew through the slight girl standing next to me.

Nothing happened. Ada’s face didn’t suddenly light up, she didn’t suddenly say, ‘Oh, I am God!’ Besides the tears, her return value was void.

“What happens if I believe all this?” at last Ada said, her voice trembling. “Am I supposed to try and create… a garden or something?”

I had been afraid it would come to this.

“No,” I said. “I don’t want you to try that. Up until now the Born Rule has been sustained by your epistemology, that you don’t believe things like that are possible. I suspect that if you just tried to make a garden or something, your common sense would prevent you from doing it, and then you would become even less confident and the whole task would become harder. You might even acquire the belief that you can’t do anything, and I don’t know what would happen then.”

I slowly circled wolfish radians around Ada. She turned herself to track me. Soon it was me who was facing Ada and the Sun, and Ada who was looking toward me on a line toward the edge of the skyscraper’s roof.

“So you’re not going to try to create a garden,” I said. “There’s no reason for you to think so pedestrian and human. The multiverse teems with infinite living minds, which works out to epsilon difference that anyone can make, but now we can make a difference. I think that trying to hesitantly dream up new pieces of the world would just worsen the chances of success, anyway. Instead you’re going to wake up and realize your capacity as God in one shot. I believe in you, I trust you, I have faith in you, and that’s how it’s going to be. This was why I had brought us here in the first place.”

“And you know, I really like you with red hair,” I recited as I entered perihelion.

“What?” Ada whispered the appropriate reply.

“I don’t know when, but since then, I can’t stop thinking of your new look. I think that suits you best…”

“What’s gotten into you?”

For the second time in my life, I leaned over and kissed Ada. I kept my eyes open, this time. She was crying, and perhaps I was too but I don’t think it was a sad kiss.

This was when I had woken up last time, but today this world was still here. The script from before had run out. Now it was time to continue and move forward.

I hugged her desperately, and inhaled the scent of her hair.

Then I stepped back, and stepped back again.

“You have 8.9 seconds.”

I whirled and dashed for the edge of the roof.

Her scream came just as my foot was launching me off the ledge.


But the sound of her voice dwindled rapidly.

I’d imagined myself looking back up toward her as I fell, but in retrospect that couldn’t happen; the world whirled crazily about me and I had to close my eyes almost at once. If there was a grey wave sweeping across the world, I didn’t want to see it, anyway.

Trust in Her –