Published at EMIGRE#57, Feb. 2001
The third day, Jesus returns to the earth - risen
from the dead. In the gospel according to St. Mark
(16:12), he is said to have appeared to his apostles
“in an other form.” Which is probably why Caravaggio,
in his famous painting “The Supper in Emmaus,” did
not paint him with a beard but clean-shaven.
A clean-shaven Jesus is a slightly different Jesus.
Like a picture in that you can open in Photoshop and
"Save As" a JPG for the web, Jesus returns
in a new format, a version which is lighter and easier
for people to use. If he lost some pixels during the
compression, that was merely a necessity. According
to his church, his mission was to become a universal
standard and it seems that for that purpose, full
quality shouldn’t really matter.
Imagine Nature (or God) as a very stubborn old man
who is making infinite variations of all sorts of
things. A long time ago he made a piece of hardware
(the Multiverse) and loaded it with some basic software
(Life). After he installed a bit of RAM on it (Time)
he let the simulation start.
Maybe he was trying to create a self-portrait. Maybe
he recalled that once he was young and beautiful and
he desired to see that beauty again.
But God (or Nature) is not an artist so he hasn't
been stuck to a specific form. He start producing
different versions of reality, one on top of the other.
He tried all the buttons and all the combinations.
His hardware (multiverse), acquired so much experience
that it was hardly “hardware” anymore. It could now
automatically produce new slots and install RAM (Time)
to itself. As a consequence, RAM (Time) became smart.
Time sometimes behaves as “real” and sometimes as
“virtual”. Sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don’t.
If you push Time it may crash but if you push it just
a little harder, you may succeed in running very sophisticated
“There are also many other things which Jesus did,
and if they should be written every one, I suppose
that even the world itself would not contain the books
needed to be written” John (21:25)
In certain possible universes, fiction is the User.
The real purpose for everything is literature. People
are just a media. They come in a portfolio of about
a hundred different prints, in editions of one hundred
and fifty signed copies. Post human literary agents
eventually acquire these portfolios and over time
they are positioned in different geographic locations
and civilizations. But people have intelligence and
therefore are constantly searching for the other members
of their original portfolio.
They think that they must connect with them somehow
because of the shared portfolio memories so when they
find them they create relationships. This is how stories
between people are happening. Sometimes people recognize
some of their own copies. When that happens they want
to find (and affect) all of the missing companions,
all the portfolios containing their copies. This adds
a sense of tragedy and continuation to their destiny.
This is also how a person enter the public life and
starts exclaiming his theories.
As more and more people redirect their actions from
the personal domain to the public one, theories multiply.
If you’ll try to describe all of them the Universe
will turn into a Hypothetical Universe. This is a
danger that God or Nature would do anything to avoid.
So a protective software was long ago installed in
the human soul: it obliges us to produce theories
into different formats. And the human nature, changes
steadily, like a DVD player doesn't read the theories
written in VHS or paper. The theories which become
a “standard,” are transported into newer formats,
reproduced and made available everywhere. All the
rest become obsolete.
For some beloved theories, people will write emulators
that will allow their use with the current human nature.
Take Marxism for example. Thus a very famous theory
of the 20th century, it is now emulated via its alien
operating system of the Internet.
The original theories (the old formats) may still
be interesting as a collector’s item, but a busy user
wouldn’t care much for them.
Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, he would think. If Jesus
were to return today, he shouldn’t be just clean-shaven;
he should at least look like a giant Pokemon.
By Miltos Manetas, 2001