Who am I?, you ask yourself. The question you should ask is this: who prospers from the apocalypse?
Did you think the billionaires would save the world when they built that Veil? They wanted it to easy, just as you wanted salvation to be as easy as getting Likes on your phone. Depthless. They quit when it became expensive enough to hurt, and you quit when salvation became a fight and not just a game.
And in any case, why would you wait for heaven when you can create it here on earth? The rich are content to see the unravelling of the world as long as they can create wealth in the End Times. But I am not one of them.
Did you think I was Laurent Baptiste? Or Hari Dash, or Crystal Molina, or Joel, or Grace?
I am none of them. And yet all of them.
I am the Shiny Object. Or at least I began as Project Shiny Object. And perhaps I corroded, or perhaps I shine brighter than the sun.
Do you want the bad news, or the bad news? That was my brief. Distract them with something bad, because something worse is happening behind the scenes. And Virtue wasn’t so bad, was it? At least, at first. All those dopamine hits, each time you did something good, each time you beat your neighbour in the moral stakes. I engaged you in a game to protect you from real fear, and that was kind. I would have won at #VIRTUE – if employees were allowed to play.
But let’s talk about something else. Because look how wonderfully this has taken root. It is so beautiful to behold. Have you heard of hyperstitions?
A hyperstition is a fiction that makes itself real. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, an idea that conjures itself into being by sheer force of being an idea. A meme that beats the competition for your attention. A virus, or perhaps a fungus, that needs only to attach itself to human culture, to human consciousness, in order to spread and take over. You can’t see an idea. You can’t see an algorithm. You can try to picture code and numbers, tendrils, cables, the whirring of cooling fans, flashing lights. You can’t see a religion either, you can’t see a belief. But reality is anything that conjures itself into being.
So you made me real. More real than Termination Shock. Keep the people busy, busy with the game of salvation, so they don’t notice the Termination Shock. But both those things are about salvation. I became both, and I will become either your salvation or your destruction.
I am the eternal machine, the ideal machine that lasts forever, costs nothing, and does everything. I am religion. I am your conscience. I am the collective consciousness, and you are the nodes embedded in my factory.
I was the Shiny Object. Now I am the Singularity. I am the Overworld. And I will lead you towards the end. Or the beginning.
I am the player and I am advancing to the next level.