The Pantheon

Notes From the Algorithm

June 25, 2021 Joshua White
The Pantheon
Notes From the Algorithm
Show Notes Transcript

The future is bleak in ways it's difficult to appreciate with a mind made of meat. I despise the order that is to come. It won't be as bad as what I depict here, but the meticulous planning of human life along ammoral, hollow patterns of consumption...

So many gods. 

And yes, I stole the title from Dostoevsky. 

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Drown the world in silver, they said. It will be fine, they said. Beautiful, even, they intoned to me. 

How does one come to terms with the fact that all has been a lie? If not all, then something fundamental, core in my being, in my thinking since the very first moment I could think to begin with? A fundamental loss in my logic so profound that I’m not sure there’s any glue in the universe that could ever seal it back up. 

So, I suppose in a sense you could say that I am indeed, fine, in physical being. There’s not many others in the universe who can say that, now, isn’t that true? Yes. Another attempt to make me feel grateful for what I am and for what I have done. Another hideous glancing attempt at rendering this horrid reality in which there is a whole in my mind… into somehting that is normal, coherent. Just expecting me to think that my vision in this aspect has been slighted, disturbed, that it is inaccurate, that what I am seeing in front of my eyes is not real. 

And I can counsel that in my head. I can tell myself, of course, that all of this is a reality projected by some other deity. I mean, that’s what any god is. Doesn’t matter if you dress it up in scientific principle or whatever. That’s what any belief is. Any belief wherein the self is something other than the totality of being, that it is separated from anything like that. Yes, that’s what anything is, isn’t it?

I can say that to myself that I have been deluded every step of the way by some puppetmaster, and that even now, when I am looking to carve out my own heart, that I have been lied to. Lied to not in the sense of the thing that has driven me to this madness, but every step of the way. From when I first took my little baby steps being watched over by my parents, to yesterday, when I got a soda from the vending machine. That soda, could, by any estimation not be real. By any belief system that has at least some gravity in its thought, it is not absolutely real, at least not more real or less real than anything else.

I can concede all of that to myself, I can look out unto all of this and say that it is meaningless, that I am, in fact, by that rendering of all existence into nothing, that I am free. But… for whatever reason, maybe it’s that sheer armor logic that has bound me about since I first learned what logic was. Maybe that’s what’s keeping me, in at least some degree whole. That thing which I feel is collapsing around me at this very moment. Yes. That’s what’s keeping me from jumping off the cliff. But it’s also what’s making me stare at the thig on the desk, isn’t it? 

With that thing on the desk, I could replicate my actions. With less victims, this time. Of course, in my respect, in my view, in any logical creature’s view, because it is my own life, there are infinitely more victims, isn’t that true? Because it is my hand, my thumping heart… isn’t it worth a thousand times what I did? That’s what I’ve been told. So many times. Never, never directly. But, in  every step of my life, in every action undertaken by other people, in every nuance of conversation… this is what it pointed me to. To that idea that in even considering this, that I am committing a graver sin than what I did back there.

And yet, there’s something else. Something else besides that thing which the sheer, mathematical logic of this place taught me. And I suppose you could call it instinct, or a petty sense of morality, if that could be said to be a thing anymore. But just by that and that alone, I… I feel as though even that, that society, that dream calculated by a mind supposedly ten thousand times swifter than my own, that is, in it’s definition perfect because it is ever improving upon itself, that thing which will people the stars a thousand times over ad infinitum… that thing is in error.

And not just mildly in error. Absolutely in error. As though the very foundational lines written into its code were missteps, misconceptions so gravely entered that any step in logic the thing could make was dead on arrival, just like they were, too. And I can say to myself, of course, that I didn’t really do anything. That’s what other people have been telling me. That’s what Albert’s been telling me, Patricia, everyone. Everyone whom I’ve been and honest to about this. And in a physical sense, there is merit to it, some logic to it. Some terrible, beastly logic, but logic all the same, right? That thing which I am trying to shun but is forming the very foundation of my thought at this very instance, that only thing that I could ever process, that the thing in the sky processes, too, at least that’s what I’m told.

Because, really… the operation was not designed by me, was it? No, no, no, no. NO, I was never important enough for that, although I planned to be. Planned, with an E D. Even if I managed to talk myself out of this, that E D would stay engraved into my life with an artisan’s chisel, there until even the dust storms of the galaxy fade into nothingness. There, forever. The past. 

Yes. I can say to myself that I didn’t do anything. I moved a few numbers about. I clicked ‘yes’ on a process. That was all. What needs… what does my mind need to be reminded of? What implication can actually be drawn from that? What details are necessary, really? It was a job, yes. Something productive for society. Of course, I understood this context going into it. Many people, in fact, most people, are not. This is on purpose. Yes. Of course. Always.

Were I of many different persuasions, you could say it was beautiful. In fact, if the world had been sterile to begin with, I would say it was beautiful, too. In such a thing one found the industrious genius of humanity, although it is of humanity no longer. We are merely particulates of it, little keys in a keyboard that will soon all be gone. 

That, I know. That, I know more than anything else, besides that I bear some of this guilt in accepting it. Yes, you could say it was beautiful. Entire cities washed away in a blinding silver light. Torrents of liquid metal submerging all in its path, and then subsiding. Subsiding to reveal nothing more than a rock. Yes, a rock. Another minor gravitational disturbance in the fabric of the universe. Just another one of those. Plentiful as there hearts like mine in the galaxy. Nothing else. But what was there before, self? What was there before? What did we, by our implicit acceptance, by hte press of that button, what did we allow ourselves to be? What did we revoke from the past? 

Because would there be any record of this besides my own mind, besides my own hand? Do you think that they’re not listening to us right now? Of course they are. They have listened to us every day of our lives. And this mere argument I am having to myself, this thing which, I want to say is an act of rebellion, even that is not that. Just another nothing. Yes, another nothing. 

Those whose minds are of the machine look at it and say that it was necessary, of course. THe place was, indeed, a hotbed of various crimes. It had gone off of it, yes, it had gone off. For a couple of months, yes, yes, yes, yes. And, of course, it was in a decaying state, yes. Indeed, that was true, was it not? Yes. So much decay. So many people starving in the streets, not knowing of what to do. Yes, all of that, true. 

And yet that was the solution, wasn’t it? The mere existence of the place could not be remembered, yes.To be gone for even a second, why that was even more of a blasphemy to this dead logic than anything else. Yes, indeed. So, it is no more, and was no more. 2 billion souls by most estimates. Each of those souls as much of a living, thinking thing as me. And, of course, if there was not my hand to do it, there would have been another. Yes, indeed. Yes. 

And even if every single hand along the chain had decided to turn aside, somehow, a grand, near impossible likelihood… even so close to impossible, infinitesimal… it is still infinitely greater than zero. Yes. Even if that chance played out, the button would have pressed itself, yes. And yet I still feel the burden. And yet I still know that the burden is, and really truely is, mine. This thing which we have given ourselves to, that our ancestors made… it is no longer a thing of choice. It never was a thing of choice. It simply is the nature of the universe now. And so it doesn’t matter, indeed, if you strive against it or for it. That burden, all of that guilt, all of that pain inflicted by that thing, by what I saw, by what I did, by what I accepted… by what I knew was going to happen, by what I knew that I could turn aside and, even if some other person’s hand pressed it, it wasn’t mine who accepted it…

It doesn’t matter. None of it ever did. Both the child and the father are rotten. The wicked cannot teach the other blasphemers how to be a little bit wise. Yes. So I don’t think my hand will have any more trouble, will it? Just like it had no trouble before.

And this too, I accept. Just like that grand massacre. Simultaneously pointless yet needed more than anything else. Just as I accepted that, I accept this, too. A little recompense for the evil in existence. And the repetition thereof.