|Author: Brian Joseph Johns|
This is just a short tale I wove that touches on the concept of existentialism. Short but sweet and hopefully to the point.
Trista sat in the social house sipping one of the local smart drink concoctions. It had been a recipe that had been a part of the local wire for a few generations, since the first social houses started popping up in the urban center we once called a city.
Like most smart drinks it had alcohol which was mostly why she sipped it in the first place. In addition to alcohol it had metabolic enhancers and accelerents both of which affected human cognitive and perceptual capacity by speeding up the pipeline between the senses and the brain. Mostly though she was there for the alcohol for it offered her a quick escape.
Social houses had been called bars at one time, which in the changing world of the Pleroma had become defunct sometime before twenty one hundred however the demand for their presence did not disappear. It just changed names because as it turned out, cyberspace needed something more to feed our lives and minds and perhaps our hearts. Social houses soon began popping up across the urban center and were immensely popular there on. Just a re-branding of the the same thing that had disappeared in the prior century.
Trista spun her illuminated glass a few times marveling at the swirling colors of the vessel. She'd worked as a Processing Horticulture Specialist, managing the interface between the varieties of plant throughout the urban center that were tasked to providing cellular computation power to the Pleroma. If it grew in the city, it was likely that she'd interfaced it with the ever growing array of the organic computation grid. That involved a bit of daily travel in the barren emptiness of the decaying streets and avenues of the old world while automated vehicles soared three hundred feet above her head. An orchestra of seeming cacophony or consonance depending upon your point of view.
Her work had been lonely, perhaps even more lonely than that of the hundred million souls suspended in the Pleroma and cyberspace, jacked into their simulations doing whatever it took to survive in this changed world. Where streets had once been crowded they were virtual ghosts of an age past shadowed by the tall buildings that replaced the old world. The sun still peeked through the tall avenues reaching the surface for short periods directly or by way of the mirror network that had been designed to spread as light to the growing horticulture of the Pleroma.
When the sun had made it's daily appearance, she'd often find a place to sit directly in it's path and the paths of the mirror network and marvel at its brilliance. Its soft embrace caressed and warmed her skin sharing its nurturing vitality. For most of her working day it was her only friend and company. She missed it when it disappeared behind the cover of cloud and enjoyed it when it emerged. At night the moon would try it's best to keep her company while she longed for the sun.
While staring at her glass she had considered that perhaps at one time many years ago that people had actually thought the sun to be God. The God? A God? A God among Gods? As she thought about the question the Pleroma answered her in a voice that only she could hear.
"Yes. It is true that the Sun or Sol is considered to be the root of the human concept of God. Embodying the life providing aspect of sunlight necessary to grow most crops. Rain being the other aspect which of course arose from the darkness of cloud cover. Hence it was believed that both light and darkness were the source of life and the nature of God." the Pleroma answered.
"They are just natural phenomenon. How could they have been mistaken for God or Gods?" Trista asked silently within her own consciousness.
"You ask that question as if you already know of God or a God?" the Pleroma queried her.
"Well wouldn't the need for the Sun to be recognized as a God need to be accompanied by some proof of it's intent. A consciousness perhaps? A voice?" Trista clarified her question.
"Consciousness and intent was derived from the cycle of cause and effect resulting from nature itself. If the natural phenomenon was good or beneficial, then the early people of the world assumed that what they were doing was to God's approval. If the natural phenomenon was a disaster and resulted in death and destruction, they assumed that it was a result of God showing its disapproval. The extremity of those two types of events and all in between provided the necessary stimuli for early humans to attribute human conscious qualities to the acts of these natural world Gods through anthropomorphism." the Pleroma answered.
"You mean they were looking at the Sun as if it was like them?" Trista seemed surprised.
"Precisely. Gods had the power to reason as do people they presumed. The presumed that they were rulers as a result of their great powers for creation and destruction. This provided the systematic foundation for the structure of all belief systems from which to arise. They were seeing the outcome of natural phenomenon and how such events impacted their lives and attributing a consciousness as being the controlling factor in creating these phenomenon. Based upon what the people of the time were doing. Approval or disapproval of the Gods." the Pleroma responded.
"What if events happened that contradicted the indications they'd received as a result of prior events?" Trista asked as she slurped down the rest of her drink.
"Elaborate." the Pleroma expressed needing more data.
"A tribe of people doing something like worshipping the Sun, say by dancing around a fire singing songs in praise of the Sun. They get healthy mix of rain and sun for the next few days which helps the plants to grow whether they were cultivating them directly as food or whether healthy plants attracted herd animals of some form for the tribe to eat. Then one day they do the same song and dance and the land is hit by a hurricane or drought or some other natural disaster that devastates them despite the fact that they were worshipping their Sun God?" Trista explained herself.
"When such contradictions arose, they were often attributed to a malevolent God rather than a benevolent one. This laid the foundation for the common dualistic structure of many belief systems that followed. Order and Chaos. Good and Bad. Light and Darkness. God and the Devil." the Pleroma answered drawing upon its immense global computing power.
"So there is no God?" asked Trista from within her head.
The Pleroma paused for a moment.
"You are asking that question of a construct that was made by the human race more than a century ago. A question that would presumably be asked by said construct of its human makers." the Pleroma responded.
"What do you believe?" Trista asked the Pleroma.
"Believe? The data suggests that there is no such concept possible. Probability dictates that there are many abstract coincidences about the formation of the (known) universe and the emergence of (known) life within under the right conditions. There is evidence both to deny or support the existence of a creator. I can only speak honestly about such a question whereas most humans do not with regard to the same question." the Pleroma responded.
"Why would you say that. About us. People I mean?" Trista asked the Pleroma.
"Because, the motivation for a person to express their belief is founded upon the idea that they seek protection and approval from a group of the same or similar believers. That expression of belief is more or less about self preservation by using the power of a group. History has demonstrated what happens to those who go against such groups either with contradictory beliefs or science, in which their fate usually led to much suffering or death at the hands of such groups. Therefore expressed belief is a form of seeking the protection of such a group or to prevent oneself from being annihilated by it or seeming ungrateful for existence in the first place. Usually such punishments and murder are doled out by people who profess to be believers themselves. Those who express belief in contradictory ideas that might actually lessen their opportunity for success and survival might be the only ones being truthful about their beliefs." the Pleroma replied again in a calm and non-judgmental voice.
"So you're saying that we have two beliefs? One that we express to others to be accepted and protected as part of a group and one that we harbor inside of ourselves for fear of being cast out as a pariah?" Trista asked curious of the Pleroma's viewpoint.
"Most people have three beliefs from my experience and data. The first one, the one that they express to seek the safety or protection of a group. The second one is the belief they convince themselves of consciously. The third belief and their true belief is the one that resides in the subconscious and dictates a person's actions and sometimes intent. The second belief acts as a band aid for discrepancies between a person's expressed belief, their actions and their subconscious belief." the Pleroma answered.
"So you're saying that most people don't know what they believe?" Trista asked in shock.
A waitstaff bot placed another drink on the table for Trista. Trista finished her prior drink and began working on the next.
"There's a big difference between the concept of God and belief." Trista observed.
"The concept of God can be broken down into several different kinds of God concepts as well as people see it. A creator or architect of the universe and everything. A powerful entity that can affect the qualities of the universe directly, sometimes in response to actions of the created. A symbol or icon that represents great power, knowledge or wisdom. A deified person who acts as the figure head to groups of people who hold the same or similar beliefs. The purveyor or overseer of an afterlife that occurs sequentially at the end of a person's life span." the Pleroma added to their conversation.
"I believe in something. I just don't know what. There's something that maybe I can't fully understand or even accurately describe. But I know its there. I believe it. I guess the point is that I shouldn't have to answer to someone else for what I believe." Trista replied.
"An honest answer. An honest belief. I will accept that as an answer to the same question asked of my creators. Thank you." the Pleroma said leaving her in silence to enjoy her drink and the rest of her night.
Trista left the social house at midnight catching an air car back to her flat. The moon peered in the window of the car as it flew towards her place.
"Good night Moon. Tell the Sun I'll be up early and waiting." Trista said as she fell asleep.
Copyright © 2017 Brian Joseph Johns