Let’s help germinate this seed

May 1st, 2010 by adminadam in fiction, prose

An epic story about meeting god on a train.
Written by Harry Stottle @ fullmoon.nu

Talking to God

I met god the other day.

I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did you know it was god?

Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all, and I do mean ALL, the answers. Every question I flung at him he batted back with a plausible and satisfactory answer. In the end, it was easier to accept that he was god than otherwise.

Which is odd, because I’m still an atheist and we even agree on that!

It all started on the 8.20 back from Paddington. Got myself a nice window seat, no screaming brats or drunken hooligans within earshot. Not even a mobile phone in sight. Sat down, reading the paper and in he walks.

What did he look like?

Well not what you might have expected that’s for sure. He was about 30, wearing a pair of jeans and a “hobgoblin” tee shirt. Definitely casual. Looked like he could have been a social worker or perhaps a programmer like myself.

Anyone sitting here?’ he said.

‘Help yourself’ I replied.

Sits down, relaxes, I ignore and back to the correspondence on genetic foods entering the food chain…

Train pulls out and a few minutes later he speaks.

Can I ask you a question?

Fighting to restrain my left eyebrow I replied ‘Yes’ in a tone which was intended to convey that I might not mind one question, and possibly a supplementary, but I really wasn’t in the mood for a conversation. ..

Why don’t you believe in god?

The Bastard!

I love this kind of conversation and can rabbit on for hours about the nonsense of theist beliefs. But I have to be in the mood! It’s like when a jehova’s witness knocks on your door 20 minutes before you’re due to have a wisdom tooth pulled. Much as you’d really love to stay… You can’t even begin the fun. And I knew, if I gave my standard reply we’d still be arguing when we got to Cardiff. I just wasn’t in the mood. I needed to fend him off.

But then I thought ‘Odd! How is this perfect stranger so obviously confident – and correct – about my atheism?’ If I’d been driving my car, it wouldn’t have been such a mystery. I’ve got the Darwin fish on the back of mine – the antidote to that twee christian fish you see all over. So anyone spotting that and understanding it would have been in a position to guess my beliefs. But I was on a train and not even wearing my Darwin “Evolve” tshirt that day. And ‘The Independent’ isn’t a registered flag for card carrying atheists, so what, I wondered, had given the game away.

‘What makes you so certain that I don’t?’

Because’, he said, ‘ I am god – and you are not afraid of me

You’ll have to take my word for it of course, but there are ways you can deliver a line like that – most of which would render the speaker a candidate for an institution, or at least prozac. Some of which could be construed as mildly amusing.

Conveying it as “indifferent fact” is a difficult task but that’s exactly how it came across. Nothing in his tone or attitude struck me as even mildly out of place with that statement. He said it because he believed it and his rationality did not appear to be drug induced or the result of a mental breakdown.

‘And why should I believe that?’

Well’ he said, ‘why don’t you ask me a few questions. Anything you like, and see if the answers satisfy your sceptical mind?

This is going to be a short conversation after all, I thought.

‘Who am I?’

Stottle. Harry Stottle, born August 10 1947, Bristol, England. Father Paul, Mother Mary. Educated Duke of Yorks Royal Military School 1960 67, Sandhurst and Oxford, PhD in Exobiology, failed rock singer, full time trade union activist for 10 years, latterly self employed computer programmer, web author and aspiring philosopher. Married to Michelle, American citizen, two children by a previous marriage. You’re returning home after what seems to have been a successful meeting with an investor interested in your proposed product tracking anti-forgery software and protocol and you ate a full english breakfast at the hotel this morning except that, as usual, you asked them to hold the revolting english sausages and give you some extra bacon.

He paused

You’re not convinced. Hmmm… what would it take to convince you?

‘oh right! Your most secret password and its association’

A serious hacker might be able to obtain the password, but no one else and I mean

NO ONE

knows its association.

He did.

So how would you have played it?

I threw a few more questions about relatively insignificant but unpublicised details of my life (like what my mother claims was the first word I ever spoke – apparently “armadillo”! (Don’t ask…)) but I was already pretty convinced. I knew there were only three possible explanations at this point.

Possibility One was that I was dreaming or hallucinating. Nobody’s figured out a test for that so, at the time I think that was my dominant feeling. It did not feel real at the time. More like I was in a play. Acting my lines. Since the event, however, continuing detailed memories of it, together with my contemporaneous notes, remain available, so unless the hallucination has continued to this day, I am now inclined to reject the hallucination hypothesis. Which leaves two others.

He could have been a true telepath. No documented evidence exists of anyone ever having such profound abilities to date but it was a possibility. It would have explained how he could know my best-kept secrets. The problem with that is that it doesn’t explain anything else! In particular it doesn’t account for the answers he proceeded to give to my later questions.

As Sherlock Holmes says, when you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

Good empiricist, Sherlock.

I was forced to accept at least the possibility that this man was who he claimed to be.

So now what do you do?

Well, I’ve always known that if I met god I would have a million questions for him, so I thought, ‘why not?’ and proceeded with what follows. You’ll have to allow a bit of licence in the detail of the conversation. This was, shall we say, a somewhat unusual occurrence, not to mention just a BIT weird! And yes I was a leetle bit nervous! So if I don’t get it word perfect don’t whinge! You’ll get the gist I promise.


‘Forgive me if it takes me a little time to get up to speed here, but it’s not everyday I get to question a deity’

The Deity’ he interrupted.

ooh. Touchy!’ I thought.

Not really – just correcting the image

Now That takes some getting used to!

I tried to get a grip on my thoughts, with an internal command – ‘Discipline Harry. You’ve always wanted to be in a situation like this, now you’re actually in it, you mustn’t go to pieces and waste the opportunity of a lifetime

You won’t’ he said.

Tell you! That’s the bit that made it feel unreal more than anything else – this guy sitting across the table and very obviously accurately reading my every thought. It’s like finding someone else’s hand inside your trouser pocket!

Nevertheless, something made me inclined to accept the invasion, I had obviously begun to have some confidence in his perception or abilities, so I distinctly remember the effect of his words was that I suddenly felt deeply reassured and completely relaxed. As he had no doubt intended. Man must have an amazing seduction technique!

So then we got down to business…

‘Are you human?’

No

‘Were you, ever?’

No, but similar, Yes

‘Ah, so you are a product of evolution?’

Most certainly – mainly my own

‘and you evolved from a species like ours, dna based organisms or something equally viable?’

Correct’

so what, exactly, makes you god?’

I did’

‘Why?’

Seemed like a good idea at the time’

‘and your present powers, are they in any way similar to what the superstitious believers in my species attribute to you?’

Close enough. ’

So you created all this, just for us?’

No. Of course not’

‘But you did create the Universe?’

This One. Yes

‘But not your own?’

This is my own!

‘You know what I mean!’

You can’t create your own parents, so No

‘So let me get this straight. You are an entirely natural phenomenon.’

Entirely

‘Arising from mechanisms which we ourselves will one day understand and possibly even master?’

subject to a quibble over who “we ourselves” may be, but yes

‘meaning that if the human race doesn’t come up to the mark, other species eventually will?’

in one.

‘and how many other species are there already out there ahead of us?’

surprisingly few. Less than fourteen million

‘FEW!?’

‘Phew!’

‘And how many at or about our level?’

currently a little over 4 ½ billion

‘so our significance in the universe at present is roughly equivalent to the significance of the average Joe here on planet Earth in his relation to the human race?’

a little less. Level One, the level your species has reached, begins with the invention of the flying machine. I define the next level in terms your Sci Fi Author Isaac Asimov has already grasped. It is reached when you achieve control of your own primary – the Sun. What Asimov calls a Type I technology. Humanity is only just into the flying machine phase, so as you can imagine, on that scale, the human race is somewhat near the bottom of the level one pack

‘and all these species are your children?’

I like to think of them that way

‘and the point?’

at its simplest, “Life Must Go On”. My personal motivation is the desire for conversation. Once you’ve achieved my level, you cease to be billions of separate entities and become one ecstatic whole. A single entity that cannot die, however advanced, or perhaps, more accurately, because it is so advanced, will get lonely and even a trifle bored! I seem to be the first. I do not intend to be the last

‘so you created a Universe which is potentially capable of producing another god like yourself?’

The full benefit will be temporary, but like most orgasms, worth it.’

‘this being the moment when our new god merges with you and we become one again?’

don’t play it down, that’s the ecstatic vision driving us all, me included – and when it happens the ecstasy lasts several times longer than this universe has already existed. Believe me, it really is worth the effort.

‘Yes, I think I can see the attractions of a hundred billion year long orgasm’

and humans haven’t even begun to know how to really enjoy the orgasms they are already capable of. Wait till you master that simple art!

‘So it’s all about sex is it?’

Ecstasy is merely a reward for procreating, it is what makes you want to do it. This is necessary, initially, to promote biological evolution. However once you’ve completed that stage and no longer require procreation, you will learn that ecstasy can be infinitely more intense than anything offered by sex’

‘Sounds good to me!’

‘How direct is your involvement in all this? Did you just light the fuse which set off the big bang and stand back and watch? Or did you have to plant the seeds on appropriately fertile planets?’

The seeds evolved in deep space, purely as a result of the operations of the laws of physics and chemistry which your scientists have begun to attain a reasonable grasp of. Yes I triggered the bang and essentially became dormant for nearly 5 billion years. That’s how long it took the first lifeforms to emerge. That places them some 8 billion years ahead of you. The first intelligent species are now 4.3 billion years ahead of you. Really quite advanced. I can have deeply meaningful conversations with them. And usually do. In fact I am as we speak

‘So then what?’

Do I keep a constant vigil over every move you make? Not in the kind of prying intrusive sense that some of you seem to think. Let’s say I maintain an awareness of what’s going on, at a planetary level. I tend only to focus on evolutionary leaps. See if they’re going in the right direction’

And if they’re not?’

‘Nothing. Usually

‘Usually?’

Usually species evolving in the wrong direction kill themselves off or become extinct for other reasons

‘Usually?’

There have been one or two cases where a wrong species has had the potential of becoming dominant at the expense of a more promising strain

‘Let me guess. Dinosaurs on this planet are an example. Too successful. Suppressed the development of mammals and were showing no signs of developing intelligence. So you engineered a little corrective action in the form of a suitably selected asteroid’

Perceptive. Almost correct. They were showing signs of developing intelligence, even co-operation. Study your velocirapters. But far too predatory. Incapable of ever developing a “respect” for other life forms. It takes carrying your young to promote the development of emotional attachment to other animals. Earth reptiles aren’t built for that. The mammals who are, as you rightly say, couldn’t get a foothold against such mighty predators. You’ve now reached the stage where you could hold your own even against dinosaurs, but that’s only been true for about a thousand years, you wouldn’t have stood a chance 2 million years ago, so the dinosaurs had to go. They were, however, far too well balanced with the ecology of the planet, and never developed technology, so they weren’t going to kill themselves off in a hurry. Regrettably, I had to intervene.

‘Regrettably?’

They were a beautiful and stunningly successful life form. One doesn’t destroy such things without a qualm.

‘But at that stage how could you know that a better prospect would arise from the ashes?’

I didn’t. But the probability was quite high.’

and since then, what other little tweaks have you been responsible for in our development?’

None whatsoever. I set an alarm for the first sign of aerial activity, as I usually do. Leonardo looked promising for a while, but not until the Montgolfier brothers did I really begin to take an interest. That registered you as a level one intelligent species’

So Jesus of Nazareth, Moses, Mohammed…’

hmmm… sadly misguided I’m afraid. Anyone capable of communicating with their own cells will dimly perceive me – and all other life as being connected in a strictly quantum sense, but interpreting that vision as representing something supernatural and requiring obeisance is somewhat wide of the mark. And their followers are all a bit too obsessive and religious for my liking. It’s no fun being worshipped once you stop being an adolescent teenager. Having said that, it’s not at all unusual for developing species to go through that phase. Until they begin to grasp how much they too can shape their small corner of the universe, they are in understandable awe of an individual dimly but correctly perceived to be responsible for the creation of the whole of that universe. Eventually, if they are to have any hope of attaining level two, they must grow out of it and begin to accept their own power and potential. It’s very akin to a child’s relationship with its parents. The awe and worship must disappear before the child can become an adult. Respect is not so bad as long as it’s not overdone. And I certainly respect all those species who make it that far. It’s a hard slog. I know. I’ve been there.’

‘You’ve been watching us since the Montgolfiers, when was that? 1650s?’

Close. 1783

‘Well, if you’ve been watching us closely since then, what your average citizen is going to want to know is why you haven’t intervened more often. Why, if you have that sort of power, did you allow such incredible suffering and human misery?’

It seems to be necessary.

‘NECESSARY??!!’

Without exception, intelligent species who gain dominance over their planet do so by becoming the most efficient predators. There are many intelligent species who do not evolve to dominate their planet. Like your dolphins, they adapt perfectly to the environment rather than take your course, which is to manipulate the environment. Unfortunately for the dolphin, his is a dead end. He may outlive the human race but will never escape the bounds of planet earth – not without your help at any rate. Only those who can manipulate the world they live in can one day hope to leave it and spread their seed throughout the universe.

Unlike the adaptors, who learn the point of cooperation fairly early on, manipulators battle on. And, once all lesser species have been overcome, they are so competitive and predatory that they are compelled to turn in on themselves. This nearly always evolves into tribal competition in one form or another and becomes more and more destructive – exactly like your own history. However this competition is vital to promote the leap from biological to technological evolution.

You need an arms race in order to make progress.

Your desire to dominate fuels a search for knowledge which the adaptors never require. And although your initial desire for knowledge is selfish and destructive, it begins the development of an intellectual self awareness, a form of higher consciousness, which never emerges in any other species. Not even while they are experiencing it, for example, can the intelligent adaptors – your dolphins – express the concepts of Love or Time.

Militarisation and the development of weapons of mass destruction are your first serious test at level one. You’re still not through that phase, though the signs are promising. There is no point whatsoever in my intervening to prevent your self-destruction. Your ability to survive these urges is a crucial test of your fitness to survive later stages. So I would not, never have and never will intervene to prevent a species from destroying itself. Most, in fact, do just that.’

‘And what of pity for those have to live through this torment?’

I can’t say this in any way that doesn’t sound callous, but how much time do you spend worrying about the ants you run over in your car? I know it sounds horrendous to you, but you have to see the bigger picture. At this stage in human development, you’re becoming interesting but not yet important.

‘ah but I can’t have an intelligent conversation with an ant’

‘precisely’

‘hmm… as you know, humans won’t like even to attempt to grasp that perspective. How can you make it more palatable?’

Why should I? You don’t appear to have any trouble grasping it. You’re by no means unique. And in any case, once they begin to understand what’s in it for them, they’ll be somewhat less inclined to moan. Eternal life compensates for most things.’

‘So what are we supposed to do in order to qualify for membership of the universal intelligentsia?’

Evolve. Survive’

‘Yes, but how?’

Oh, I thought you might have got the point by now. “How” is entirely up to you. If I have to help, then you’re a failure. All I will say is this. You’ve already passed a major hurdle in learning to live with nuclear weapons. It’s depressing how many fail at that stage.’

‘Is there worse to come?’

Much’

‘Genetic warfare for instance?

Distinct Possibility’

‘and the problem is… that we need to develop all these technologies, acquire all this dangerous knowledge in order to reach level two. But at any stage that knowledge could also cause our own destruction’

If you think the dangers of genetic warfare are serious, imagine discovering a secret thought or program, accessible to any intelligent individual, which, if abused, will eliminate your species instantly. If your progress continues as is, then you can expect to discover that particular self-destruct mechanism in less than a thousand years. Your species has got to grow up considerably before you can afford to make that discovery. And if you don’t make it, you will never leave your Solar System and join the rest of the sapient species on level two.’

’14 Million of them’

Just under’

‘Will there be room for us?’

‘it’s a big place’

‘and, for now, how should we mere mortals regard you then?’

like an older brother or sister. Of course I know more than you do. Of course I’m more powerful than you. I’ve been alive longer. But I’m not “better” than you. Just more developed. Just what you might become’

‘so we’re not obliged to “please” you or follow your alleged guidelines or anything like that?’

absolutely not. Never issued a single guideline in the lifetime of this Universe. Have to find your own way out of the maze. And one early improvement is to stop expecting me – or anyone else – to come and help you out.’

‘I suppose that is a guideline of sorts, so there goes the habit of a lifetime! ‘

‘Seriously though, species who hold on to religion past its sell-by date tend to be most likely to self destruct. They spend so much energy arguing about my true nature, and invest so much emotion in their wildly erroneous imagery that they end up killing each other over differences in definitions of something they clearly haven’t got a clue about. Ludicrous behaviour, but it does weed out the weaklings.’

‘Why me? Why pick on an atheist of all people? Why are you telling me all this? And why Now?’

‘Why You? Because can accept my existence without your ego caving in and grovelling like a naughty child. ‘

‘Can you seriously imagine how the Pope would react to the reality of my existence?! If he really understood how badly wrong he and his church have been, how much of the pain and suffering you mentioned earlier has been caused by his religion, I suspect he’d have an instant coronary! Or can you picture what it would be like if I appeared “live” simultaneously on half a dozen tele-evangelist propaganda shows. Pat Robertson would wet himself if he actually understood who he was talking to.

Conversely, your interest is purely academic. You’ve never swallowed the fairy tale but you’ve remained open to the possibility of a more advanced life form which could acquire godlike powers. You’ve correctly guessed that godhood is the destiny of life. You have shown you can and do cope with the concept. It seemed reasonable to confirm your suspicions and let you do what you will with that information.

You can and will publish this conversation on the web, where it will sow an important seed. Might take a couple of hundred years to germinate, but, eventually, it will germinate.

Why Now? Well partly because both you and the web are ready now. But chiefly because the human race is reaching a critical phase. It goes back to what we were saying about the dangers of knowledge. Essentially your species is becoming aware of that danger. When that happens to any sapient species, the future can take three courses.

Many are tempted to avoid the danger by avoiding the knowledge. Like the adaptors, they are doomed to extinction. Often pleasantly enough in the confines of their own planet until either their will to live expires or their primary turns red giant and snuffs them out.

A large number go on blindly acquiring the knowledge and don’t learn to restrain their abuse. Their fate is sealed somewhat more quickly of course, when Pandora’s box blows up in their faces.

The only ones who reach level two are those who learn to accept and to live with their most dangerous knowledge. Each and every individual in such a species must eventually become capable of destroying their entire species at any time. Yet they must learn to control themselves to the degree that they can survive even such deadly insight. And frankly, they’re the only ones we really want to see leaving their solar systems. Species that haven’t achieved that maturity could not be allowed to infect the rest of the universe, but fortunately that has never required my intervention. The knowledge always does the trick’

‘Why can’t there be a fourth option – selective research where we avoid investigating dangerous pathways?’

‘As you can see from your own limited history, the most useful ideas are also, nearly always, the most dangerous. You have yet, for instance, to conquer fusion power but you need to do so in order to achieve appropriate energy surpluses required to complete this phase of your social development. It will, when you’ve mastered it, eliminate material inequalities and poverty within a generation or two, an absolutely vital step for any maturing species. Yet the discovery of the principles which will soon yield this beneficial bounty could, had you abused them, have ended your attempt at civilisation.

Similarly, you will shortly be able to conquer biological diseases and even engineer yourselves to be virtually fault free. Your biological life spans will double or triple within the next hundred years and your digital lifespans will become potentially infinite within the same period: If you survive the potential threat that the same technology provides in the form of genetic timebombs, custom built viruses and the other wonders of genetic and digital warfare.

You simply can’t have the benefits without taking the risks’.

‘I’m not sure I understand my part in this exercise. I just publish this conversation on the web and everything will be alright?’

‘Not necessarily. Not that easy I’m afraid. To start with, who’s going to take this seriously? It will just be seen as a mildly amusing work of fiction. In fact, your words and indeed most of your work will not be understood or appreciated until some much more advanced scholars develop the ideas you are struggling to express and explain them somewhat more competently. At which point the ideas will be taken up en masse and searches will be undertaken of the archives. They will find this work and be struck by its prescience. You won’t make the Einstein grade, but you might manage John the Baptist!

This piece will have no significance whatsoever if humanity doesn’t make certain key advances in the next couple of centuries. And this won’t help you make those advances. What it will do is help you recognise them’

can I ask what those advances may be?’

‘I think you know. But yes – although you are at level one, there are several distinct phases which evolving species pass through on their way to level two. The first, as we’ve discussed, is the invention of the flying machine. The next significant phase is the development of the thinking machine.

At your present rate of progress, you are within a few decades of achieving that goal. It marks your first step on the path of technological evolution. Mapping the human genome is another classic landmark, but merely mapping it is a bit like viewing the compiled code in a dos executable. It’s just meaningless gibberish, although with a bit of hacking here and there, you might correctly deduce the function of certain stretches of code.

What you really need to do is ‘reverse engineer’ the DNA code. You have to figure out the grammar and syntax of the language. Then you will begin the task of designing yourselves. But that task requires the thinking machine’

‘You say you avoid intervention. But doesn’t this conversation itself constitute intervention – even if people alive now completely ignore it?’

‘Yes. But it’s as far as I’m prepared to go. Its only effect is to confirm, if you find it, that you are on the right path. It is still entirely up to you to navigate the dangers on that path and beyond.’

‘But why bother even with that much? Surely it’s just another evolutionary hurdle. We’re either fit enough or not…’

‘In many ways the transition to an information species is the most traumatic stage in evolution. Biological intelligences have a deeply rooted sense of consciousness only being conceivable from within an organic brain. Coming to terms with the realisation that you have created your successor, not just in the sense of mother and child, but in the collective sense of the species recognising it has become redundant, this paradigm shift is, for many species, a shift too far. They baulk at the challenge and run from this new knowledge. They fail and become extinct. Yet there is nothing fundamentally wrong with them – it is a failure of the imagination.

I hope that if I can get across the concept that I am a product of just such evolution, it may give them the confidence to try. I have discussed this with the level two species and the consensus is that this tiny prod is capable of increasing the contenders for level two without letting through any damaging traits. It has been tried in 312 cases. The jury is still out on its real benefits although it has produced a 12% increase in biological species embracing the transition to information species.

‘Alright, so what if everyone suddenly took it seriously and believed every word I write? Wouldn’t that constitute a somewhat more drastic intervention?’

‘Trust me. They wont’

and so it’s still the case, that, should another asteroid happen to be heading our way, you will do nothing to impede it on our behalf?’

‘I’m confident you will pass that test. And now my friend, the interview is over, you have asked me a number of the right questions, and I’ve said what I came to say, so I’ll be going now. It has been very nice to meet you – you’re quite bright. For an ant!’ He twinkled.

‘Just one final, trivial question, why do you appear to me in the form of a thirty something white male?’

‘have I in any way intimidated or threatened you?’

‘No’

Do you find me sexually attractive?’

‘er No!’

So figure it out for yourself…’


Talking to God… THE ORIGINAL IS HERE

Creative Commons License: This work is licensed by Harry Stottle (2000-05) under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

169 Comments ( 1 2 )

  • “Godhood is the destiny of life.”

    This seed has been germinated over 250,000 times since being planted here. Please pass it on.
    Here are some quotes with which to fertilize it:

    • “We are a way of the universe knowing itself.” -Carl Sagan
    • “Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today – but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.” -Isaac Asimov
    • “Intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes into existence, will never die out.” -The Anthropic Principle
    • “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.” -Stephen Hawking
  • Perhaps I read past it without notice, but one of the burning questions for me to “god” would be: “what happens to ‘me’ after my body dies?”

    With that being said, That was a great, fantastic, outstanding read. I’ll most likely read it a few more times tonight before I go to bed.

    • No need to be a god to answer that. The difference between “you” and your body is unsubstantial. Your psyche isn’t a separate entity from your body—it’s merely the result of complex biomechanical processes that take place inside it.

      Think of it in computer terms: when you shut down a PC the data doesn’t “go somewhere,” the PC just becomes inactive. The same thing happens to your psyche when you die.

      • funny cuz when i turn my computer off, the information i’m receiving via this website still seems to be around for others

        • SpaceMan, If you shut down the server that holds the data of this website the information would not be available. Unfortunately people cannot download data from a central location as a computer with internet access does. While our ideas may be passed on through others, when our bodies expire so does our consciousness

          • I have recently been interested in understanding the 4th dimension (time). When viewed from a 4th dimensional perspective, we as beings look like a long, continuous snake of ourselves. Basically every single action we ever did is recorded in the 4th dimension as a point in time, and these frames of time connect to form that view of ourselves when we existed in that time. From understanding this, I draw the next step in logic and say that we, as beings, never stop existing at least in the 4th dimension. You are always somewhere in there as long as you existed at some point in time. This is where I do not understand. Is our consciousness still accessible in the 4th dimension? Can your position in the 4th dimension change, with or without any form of help? I would venture to say that your body, psyche, beliefs, thoughts, ideals, and actions all exist in the 4th dimension for all of eternity. My question is, can we interact in the 4th dimension?

      • Is it really the RESULT of the processes that create a psyche? Or are the processes what make it possible for “our” psyche to exist in our physical bodies? Energy can never be created or destroyed. So is it not possible that the energy patterns that are our “own” psyche go somewhere else? I’m not suggesting they go to a place, but something happens. Look into work about meditation and transfer of energy. I don’t know what…but something is going on there…

      • if you subscribe to the idea that your consciousness is somehow manufactured by and contained within your biological form then perhaps you are correct.

        But, what if in fact your biological form, and even more broadly, the entire material existence is actually produced by a consciousness… think of it like the world in your dreams, it is all contained within your consciousness.

        of course it’s difficult to prove this idea one way or another, but certainly you should allow for the possibility. and if somehow it is the truth, then when you “die” your psyche may yet live on.

  • Excellent writing, great imagination, and a fun and creative insight into the reader. I definitely hope you write more in the future in a similar genre.

    Though laying off HHGttG [Hitchhiker's Guide] a bit might help some next time ;)

  • I read this on the official site a while back, and I’m so glad people are feeling it. Brilliant writing/ideas.

  • Beautiful. You know, it lends itself to thinking that Gene Roddenberry also thought on these terms.

    A Thinking Machine, I wonder if it’s lending to the idea of AI.

    I shall have to think about this.

    Thank you.

    • Clearly that is what is meant by a thinking machine

      • Yes and no. I would guess what was meant was a machine that has the capabilities to do more thinking/analysis/or whatever you want to call it than any of us are capable of now. Whether this be AI or something similar I would guess is completely up in the air. Although remember with knowledge comes danger too and if it were to be something similar to AI we would need to make sure it never surpasses us in “intelligence.”

        • In fact, I believe that it MUST surpass us in intelligence if it is to take us further. I guess we should look at it this way – AI would be our child. Is a good parent afraid that his child will be smarter than him? We should not be afraid of that. An intelligence, lacking some of our mammalian brain circuits that create fear for example, would be inoffensive to us in “Terminator” terms. We are so afraid of it, because we’re afraid that we would be exterminated. I believe that those fears are based on resources. If the AI will have enough resources and the liberty to evolve, it will be something that we should clench onto, like a parasite – somehow having this right because it’s our child. And when we are too old to keep up, it will build us a beautiful elderly people asylum :). Anyhow, I guess that our merge with the intelligent machine would be our best chance. Leaving our bodies for a pure informational form will allow us to travel at great speed, into dangerous space, maybe in billions of nano colonies that each carry our entire species and the virtual worlds that we inhabit.

          • The end of your monologue reminded me of the ending to ’2001: A Space Odyssey’. Was your theory based on that, by chance?

          • Remember what “the deity” was saying about being able to live with the knowledge and not go in a “wrong” direction. Going “Terminator” status is going in the wrong direction. But creating the technology and using it to better ourselves is different. In the story find where “The Deity” said something like the three paths civilizations our lives can take. We can be afraid of the knowledge and become adapters again, we can kill ourselves with it, or we can use it to better ourselves.

        • to call it AI in light of reading this would infer that it is not complete because otherwise our intelligence would be artificial too.

          as he “created” us, we must create a thinking machine.essentially to remove the limitations we experience as organic constructs. i.e. to reverse engineer our dna, because to do that we would (im guessing) require more knowledge than we could aquire in our limited lifespans.

          most if not all science links together at some point to form knowlege which which dwarfs it when seperated.

          saying this i believe we would have to create machines(devices that assist the performance of humans)that we could give all the collective knowledge. then let it think up conclusions we would take centuries, if ever, to come to on our own.

          i just wonder if the machine would get past the hurdle of becoming destructive itself or if it will unleash potentially harmful information

          • read wired magazines article on artificial intelligence. one must realize that we have already developed computer systems with the ability to out due our own abilities. much of our “now outdated” financial system is run by computers and has allowed companies to make record profits despite economic collapse, or ikea’s completely computer controlled warehouse which is more efficient than any manned warehouse despite the organization being random to us. We must remember, everything from our bodies to a computer is a tool. any tool can be used as a weapon but with the proper knowledge one can create a masterpiece with those same tools. computers are no different. since we have an active roll in a computers evolution we tailor the direction we want this complex tool to go. yes it has the capacity to become a terminator scenario if used improperly, but at the same time the technology has the ability to empower humanity. just as we must learn to live together harmoniously with one another, we need to learn to use the world around us in a harmonious way with all things, if we are to survive.

    • I believe what is meant by the “thinking machine” is the transfer of the human consciousness into that of a computer. Once the mind is free of its biological limitations, it would be capable of accessing infinite amounts of information and processing it, resulting in exponential technological advancement, or, a “paradigm shift”. However, this evolutionary hurdle is a radical transformation, one that would require the abandonment of our physical selves (our fragile bodies) in order to become our purely “informational selves” (either stored within a database or as synthetic humanoid recreation/representation).

      The reason I believe this to be true is that story mentions that biological species are afraid of having a conscious beyond the “organic brain”.

    • You sir are a dumba**. You shall have to think about this? Are you kidding me buddy. What else would a Thinking Machine be talking about dude? and who the f**k is Gene Rodenberry? A**hole

  • Harry,

    I’m a dragon from space.

    I find this story fascinating.

    God is always talking me up with this brand of nonsense as well. What I would have asked him, what I always ask him, is, “What spawned the initial circumstances for creation?”

    Like us, he was born into a universe as a creation before he became a creator and decided to manifest his own universe…

    Me: “How far back does this universal ancestry go, God?”
    God: “Well, I’m not really sure.”
    Me: “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”
    God: “Who cares? Chicken is delicious!”
    Me: “It sure is!”

    I wonder what level you are considered to be at when you accept your fate as a creator and begin designing your own universes that are full of beings who manifest their own universes as well.

    What fun conversations to be had in the Cosmos!

    Sometimes God asks, “Hion, do you think it’s possible that a creation is capable of creating the creator of its own God?”

    To which I reply, “Of course it’s possible God, but this question is way over your head. If you do comprehend the implications of this scenario then the universe may start gracefully caving in upon itself somewhere in the vicinity of where your form used to inhabit space. I inhabit space. Furthermore, I am the creation that created the creator. You’re welcome.”

    To this, God always says to me, “Wow. Thanks. Hion, you’re a really cool dragon from space.”

    Yea God, you’re cool too.

  • Hion, you’re insane.

  • Would that it were…

  • A very good read. Are you sure he wasn’t your father (obvious Contact joke)?

    I have no problem with the possibility this really actually happened…only problem I do have is why these things always seem to happen to U.S.-citizens.

    • Where I said US-citizen I would like to say citizens from english-speaking countries. Jumped the misguided gun there…my apologies.

      • They don’t, always. There’s a kid in Russia who claims to be a re-born once-Martian with a somewhat similar evolution message, although skipping the bit about war being necessary.

        Alien sightings and whatnot do seem to happen mainly to white people, though; even UFO sightings in Mexico are mainly by white Mexicans…although the Japanese must love aliens at least as much as anyone else!

        Let’s just say it happens nearly exclusively in industrialized countries, and leave it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions about what sort of fantasies are even possible for an individual, based on their culture and upbringing.

  • Facinating read, thanks for this.

    Seed implanted and shared(albeit via stumbleupon)…

  • I’m not sure what to call this. The closes description I can give it is: the best piece of fantasy fiction I’ve read in years. Absolutely brilliant.

  • I want to say that I’m a classicist/linguist and I have absolutely no idea how to feel about this other than with cautious optimism that it might help someone underlined by deep skepticism.

    The gospel of Harry Stotle here, really, really sounds to me like Aristotle’s musings on potentiality. …wait, harry stotle + comical English accent + omg = ‘arry stotle > Aristotle = logic + empiricism + classification = best parts of modern western thought = how to not be argued with + (h)Aristotles parents MOTHER MARY and FATHER PAUL? new religion everybody. hope it works out for the best/fewer people die.

    • Aristotle! Mother Mary and father Paul!
      I totally missed that, thanks for picking up on it. I guess that puts the is-it-intended-to-be-true question to rest.
      What a brilliant piece of fiction!

  • What if this is true. I bet everyone thought Jesus and those apostle dudes were just a bunch of nutbags, writing fictitious stories with serious delusions of grandeur, I know I do. If you anyone can defend the admittedly inacurate bible then why can’t this be real?

  • does it matter what we think?..that’s what i thought..it’s a good read. well done.

  • This post really interested me and got me thinking about the character of God…

    As both a scientist and a devout Christian, my view of God fits in with the all-powerful, all-knowing God described above… However, it does not fit with the loving God I know who takes an interest in us as individual human beings.

    Last year, I was present at an event called Newday. At this event, a single prayer was said to God, in the name of Jesus, and over 350 people were healed. One of the most memorable healings was in a woman, who was completely deaf; her medical documents showed evidence that she could not hear. When the prayer was said, she was healed immediately. Later I discovered that, on returning to her doctor and having a hearing test, the results did not match her previous medical documents – her hearing was normal.

    The God who healed 350 people at Newday must have been a God who cared for those 350 people, loved them and took an interest in their problems. The God described in this post is clearly not interested in us as individuals, but as a whole race and in a very un-personal way.

    Therefore, I would like to say that, although this is a very interesting post, I do not believe that the being described in it is God.

    Thankyou to the author of this post – it helped me to think about and understand some of God’s chacteristics more, and got me thinking for most of the evening.

    • You say you’re a scientist, yet your proof of God is one of the weakest arguments I’ve ever heard – how scientific are you exactly? Billions of prayers go unanaswered, but you know a story where one did, therefore God exists. I would be willing to bet money that the percentage of ppl cured from prayer is roughly in line with the number of ‘miraculous’ cures that happen naturally in the body anyway (placebo effects etc.)

    • The God in this story mentioned “programs or thoughts” that could destroy an entire species. Perhaps there are such programs that could heal 350 people with no more need for the conscious entity of God to interfere than for us to interfere to cause the construction of an ant hive.

    • “The God who healed 350 people at Newday must have been a God who cared for those 350 people, loved them and took an interest in their problems.”

      Do you have any actual evidence that the healings were caused by a loving god, rather than aliens, the placebo effect, human magicians, a remarkable coincidence, etc? If so, I’d love to hear it.

    • Why don’t you pause a moment and think again? You say 350 people all said and thought the same thing, and it happened. God in this article said, “Once you’ve achieved my level, you cease to be billions of separate entities and become one ecstatic whole.” Meaning a collective consciousness! Quite the essence of your prayer session.

      In my opinion, this article outlines the type of thinking it takes to truly be a scientist and a believer in god without contradicting yourself.

    • What astounds me is that if this event really happened, why hasn’t the scientist in you tried to replicate and officially document the findings? If being a scientist and a Christian are so easy to go hand-in-hand, then why isn’t it easy to demonstrate and publish the facts?

      • Since you are quoting this story then i will assume you believe it’s truth. He says that the longer we live with the existence of religion, then sooner we will kill ourselves off. So this disproves Chloe’s believe of science and Christianity co-exisiting.

        • Hold on. Communion with God (as with the one mentioned in this story) obviously means different things to different people. Chloe didn’t mention Christianity first off, and second off, it was, I believe, certain tenants of religion in general which act as a kind of hindrance to progress that the God of the story mentioned and warned against, i.e. tendency toward tradition instead of innovation; or, belief in superiority of Man; or, inevitability of Apocalypse. It is these things that stop species in their tracks more often than a general belief in God or some Higher Power, isn’t it?

    • Tom.You claim to be both a scientist and devout Christian and go on to claim that during the event “Newday” “350 people were healed” .You give an unsubstantiated statement that claims that one deaf womans “results did not match her previous medical documents” but seem to have no sceptisism that she may have been a stooge nor elaborate on why this particular case so convinced you.I would like to ask you,as a scientist,what empirical evidence you have to support the other 349 alleged miracles?Surely scientific research is something that relies on the same result being attained continuosly through meticulous experimentation and research not by being witness to one ,quite frankly dubious and fundamentally biased event?

    • A Different Tom

      Not to join a side, but rather to play devil’s advocate (excuse the religious term in this discussion), this was most likely a quick post that the original Tom threw up after reading through this when he stumbled to it. You do realize all of you are asking for a large amount of documented evidence that, following with his story, he probably doesn’t have personally. Do you have medical records on hand of people suffering from placebo effect? “No, but I can go get it!” Well… maybe so can he, except he is long gone from the site because he just breezed through it while stumbling. Or his kid showed it to him. Or he saw it randomly.

      The point is, everyone immediately jump in with comments that had a hint of smugness even though the original Tom will most likely never see them. Sure, the fact is if the event he described happened, then we aren’t sure what would have caused this “miracle”, so maybe he is right… or maybe he is wrong.

      Biggus23x (I can’t believe I just had to type that name into a fairly serious discussion), you ask if he has any proof it isn’t one of the other conclusions. To that I say, “Who knows?” Would aliens come down just to heal one lady? Where is the evidence for human magicians (yes I know that one was more sarcastic, but hey, you brought it up)? Maybe faith is a placebo effect? Would faith really be such a bad thing in this particular case?

      I added in this particular case, so I swear to God (get it, I threw in another religious common usage there) I will smack the first person to bring up Nazi’s as a negative towards misplaced faith. Comments including the lack of stem cell research or Glen Beck will be treated with a dirty look.

      • A Different Tom

        In reading this again… “suffering from placebo effect” might be one of the slightly more idiotic things I have said. Ever. How about “of cases of the placebo effect”.

    • James Bigglesworth

      Again, why only White Christians?

    • 1) how the f**k do you know that God takes an interest in us? give me one example. right now.

      2) what the f**k is Newday? 350 people were instantly healed? is that a joke. that is physically impossible. you are lying about that woman. that didn’t happen. how would that not have happened to the millions of other deaf people in human history that prayed so adamantly to god?

      [ ADMIN edit -- Hey, NigerianDude, calm down and stop swearing will you? ]

  • Fiction or not, this definitely gets the mind working.
    thanks for sharing such an inspiring story.

  • Mind.F*CK

  • I enjoyed that, thank you.

  • Some of you are replying, as if the story actually happened, or that you believed it to. It blows my mind how stupid human beings are as a species. Please die for the sake of human kind.

    • presses both the green and red thumbs and flies off the cliff withour flaping a feather~~~

    • You, my friend, are making absurdly angry comments that seemingly serve no purpose. It blows my mind how YOU are, despite being a human. Please do NOT die for the sake of human kind, but merely think about the absurdity of some of your more violent viewpoints.

  • You know there are no laws stopping the possibility of advancing so far that you become ‘godlike’. There is still so much more about physics that we do not know. It may one day be possible to put our consciousness into machines and live forever. I don’t see why this possibility can’t be possible. And for those people who say this is “bullsh*t”, just think what people would say if you told them 600 years ago that the earth was round. Im quite sure you would get similar comments.

    • Yes, absolutely. And just think: Each decade, each century is defined by those things that were previously thought impossible, but shown, ultimately, to be possible. This is the same for the realm of our imagination, the extent to which we can visualize possible future conditions or events, like ours or other species attaining “godhood” or “god-like powers”.

      Many things we can’t imagine are quickly closing in on us. Just imagine what we will be able to imagine in another decade or two! These are exciting times to live in I say!

    • I agree but dude… people knew the earth was round waaaaay before that. Theres gotta be better examples of the Asimov law (advanced enough science is magic).

  • I have read most of these comments and it seems I missed something.

    If I am not mistaken, this story was more directed at what is going to happen to us as a species and things we will, one day, have to man up to. This story was not about what God/god/whatever is really like or if he exists. God in this was merely a medium to convey these points.

    This story actually got me thinking about things in a new way. Genetics, and genetic terrorism for example. I personally have never taken a moment to step back and look at that aspect. I have thought about ownership laws and defects and this and that, but never terrorism. Also having to own up and be responsible with the power we have right now is hard enough for us. To think about how much stronger everything must become to launch us off this rock and onto another, that’s enough power to hit the game over button with one mishap.

    This story was amazing and I feel many of these commenters are missing the point or arguing the wrong facet of this story. It doesn’t matter who or what or how God is, but what are we going to do in the coming years when our power and technology is going to consistently double. We are still at the base of the mountain and this is a needed reminder about how much farther we have to go.

  • This is all just a quasi-intellectual circle jerk. Not one person on this page including the author has practical question for God nor an intelligent or insightful grasp of mankind.

    Yes I am curious to know when we will be cruising around in millennium falcons but why would anyone waste there time worrying if humanity is on the right evolutionary path or desperately query “how do we get there?” Who gives a flying f*ck? None of us will be here. Will the actions of any one person here have an impact on millions of years of evolution? No.

    Really my first question for god would have been “what are the winning lottery numbers for the next ten years?” My second question would have been “what is the name if the cute redhead at the front of the train, and does she like guys with money?” If god doesn’t care if we end up killing ourselves, then why should I?
    -
    Oh, almost forgot if anyone wants to know what God is; God is whatever is the limit of our understanding. There was a time when people did not know what the sun was but they knew it was important so it was God. Before people understood atmospheric phenomenon that was God. Before people understood microbiology and pathology that was God. So you see the more we learn about our own planet and the universe the farther away God gets.

    • This seed has been germinated over 200,000 times. Screw the supposed “insignificance” of our actions… Even if it is 99% of us acting out of self-interest. I think this piece is more for the big thinkers than anything despite that being a tiny minority; it’s for those that enjoy pondering the bigger picture for humanity.

      We could also reverse your last question, btw: If *we* don’t care if we kill ourselves off, why should God? The whole framework underlying this piece is just that: we are almost worthy of having a conversation with, like ants starting to look up into the sky. We can grow up but there’s a lot of risk involved. So, the more people thinking about it, the better, in my opinion.

    • And this is why the deity in this story would have not chosen you to have a conversation with. The character of this story was obviously able to see the bigger picture, and had the mind set to ask the right questions, much like what the deity was looking for.

      • You must remember that “God” from the story had foresight as to what the main character was going to ask. Therefore it would be quite simple for him to manipulate the course of the conversation.

    • Once again, another person has managed to be incredibly angry for no good reason. And you’re just plain wrong as well (well, not totally wrong, but mostly wrong):

      1. Why are you so angry? This forum exists merely to discuss ideas that might facilitate the titillation of those who are not angered by the spitballing of said ideas, some of which will inevitably be dumb ideas. That does not mean those bad ideas are inherently useless though! They could be the germs for new ideas that are actually smart in and of themselves.

      2. One person cannot affect millions of years of evolution? False (taking one from the memes about that guy from the Office here). One person could potentially set off a multitude of nukes that could destroy all life on our planet, which would thus by definition end all evolution. Now, if you were talking about the evolution of the universe, this could maybe be more correct…possibly.

      3. Your snide evaluation of things that you clearly do not have a deep enough understanding of communicates flawlessly your intellectual immaturity. Rollin’ with a quote straight from Honest Abe, “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Think ahead next time, please.

      4. Lastly, the only reason I didn’t completely tear you a new one with my post was because I enjoyed your theory about God being the limit of our understanding. Although somewhat ineptly communicated, it was an interesting thought and deserved recognition. Congratulations: You are not an utter neanderthal. (But you’re goddamn well close.)

  • Whatever it is, I enjoyed reading it.

    By beliefs are on par with the lead human character.

  • This was on of the most amazing short stories I have ever read. As I read it, I felt myself wanting to believe this was an actual and factual event. This story also lines up with how I view what a god would be if any exist at all.

  • Bassoonerthanlater

    I thought this was a truly fascinating read. Whether it’s real or not could be up for debate, but I like to believe that this is an entirely real conversation. I agree that I would have asked about the whole afterlife issue, but I could see how in said situation one could let that thought slip. First off, you’re talking to GOD. That alone takes a second to wrap your head around. Second, if god is filling your head with all of these ideas, and you just follow the flow of conversation, you could very well skip over that topic. How many times have you been in a conversation, wanted to bring something up, but you were either interrupted, or it just didn’t fit in the discussion. That’s just my take on it though. Once again, fantastic read. It certainly opens the mind a little more.

  • I belive in god now. I think that, he wasn’t trying to communicate that there was a god, he was trying to communicate free will. As “god” said, he will let us self-destruct if it shall happen and that humans set their own fate. So in sense i just believe in free will now, more or less, because i’m still wondering if we have free will then why do we die? any possible answers to that question.

  • Dingleberry Cobbler

    You may be smart for an ant but, you’re still racist because your “god” had to show up to you looking like a 30-something white male in order to not intimidate or threaten you. This makes me think you are closed minded. Even though the theme of your creative writing is open minded.

    Another possibility is your god was reflecting your personal beliefs back at you from “his” appearance to the way “it?” was conveying ideas. It seems your god used a lot examples a biologist/programmer would use for their explanation. Which I guess makes sense because you say you are both.

    Overall theme: Collective universe meets Natural selection, unity, philosophy, probability, and a bunch of other higher education subjects. I really do think you/your god achieved the goal of sowing a seed – it got me thinking, which is rare.

    • It’s not racist to not be intimidated by someone of your own race. Wouldn’t it be strange for you to be less intimidated by someone of a different race than by someone of your own?

      Feeling intimidated/uncomfortable with members of another race is not necessarily indicative of racism either; we still live in a pretty segregated world. Ignorance and inexperience can account for a lot, I believe. I don’t think we have to label him a ‘hater’ so quickly.

      • Dingleberry Cobbler

        It would not be too strange to be less intimidated by someone of a different race if you were adopted from another country, had a partner who was from a different culture, or if you were raised by a family with a different appearance.

        You are right though racist is too strong of a word for this situation. Prejudice is probably a better word. I just think the answer his god gives to this question is awkward. Ending the conversation with “So figure it out for yourself…”. What is that supposed to mean?

        • I take that last line as 1) the affirmation that the author had already accurately guessed the reasons why God had to appear in that form, and 2) a way of leaving dramatically with precisely the words that the author and we all had to hear, like saying, “The ball is in your court. Peace out!”

          And yes, prejudice is an appropriate word here, but likely the ‘culturally inherited’ strain and not the intentionally hateful one. What do you think?

  • I couldn’t help but feel that this (however unfathomably ridiculous) brilliant work of short prose was an effort put forth by a struggling author/philosopher to have others recognize within himself what he had felt had gone unnoticed in the eyes of his contemporaries. Rendered to what it actually is: this writing, however interesting and painfully contemporary (in the sense that no one reads, so how can one write?) it may be, is an attempt to validate an ill-conceived genius by one man’s narcissism.

    You see, the other thing I can’t get over is the Asimov bit. Asimov’s problem was that his writing was composed in order to advance a school of science that was eventually abandoned in favor of Quantum Mechanics and other theories regarding the chaotic nature of the universe. To reference such nonsense in order to justify the absurdity of one’s own subjective perception of the universe is so nonsensical, not to mention ludicrous, that it makes me want to vomit.
    Please, for the love of all things tangible, read some literary criticism.

    BTW: F*CK Gene Roddenberry
    (edited)
    -
    “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

    • Any particular books we should read there, Nard Dawgg?

      And exactly which abandoned branches of science are you referring to?

    • “an attempt to validate an ill-conceived genius by one man’s narcissism.”

      I have to agree with this. I don’t challenge a writer’s attempt to make sense of the world through prose, sometimes I try to do it as well, and I come off just a self-congratulatory. I found the language to be painful at times (I just can’t imagine the ultimate deity to both digress, and then return with ‘Seriously though, …’), and an overall lack of structural consistency.

      I was particularly amused at God’s disdain for religious dogma, and then following that statement with ‘Hey! Why don’t you post our conversation on the internet! Then people can know they’re on the right path! Because it is the word of God!’ Yes, I paraphrased.

      The ideas in this story are nice, though some of the references are a bit trite and incomplete. If this guy keeps thinking and writing he’ll turn out some enjoyable work in the future.

    • A Different Tom

      Hm… so quoting Asimov, easily one of the strongest candidates for best Sci-Fi writer the World has seen is nonsense… but using a quote from an Adam Sandler movie to get across the degree of your dislike for that theme in the story is perfectly legitimate in what I feel has been a decent discussion, at least for the internet that is.

      Oh and 84adam got a +1 from me just because of the sarcasm from using your name back at you. Nard Dawgg… I don’t even know what to say to that.

  • Well, you see, Asimov wrote the ‘Foundation’ series, a collection of fiction which has an underlying theme regarding the predictability of the universe. It was lauded during its time as a monumental series of books that united literature and science in the scope of ‘all things are predictable’, no matter how mundane or frivolous.

    In a sense, the schools of science then were obsessed with evolution, and used that principle to base their claims that all things and events were, in fact predictable. However, as I said, Quantum Mechanics came into play and dispelled the aforementioned theories of predictability; because, in order to predict things, you need all of the information regarding the preliminaries that would consequently lead to an occurrence. Quantum and String theorists today are proving that nothing is predictable because of the chaos that occurs at the subatomic level, which ultimately rendered any scientific merit whatsoever found in Asimov’s writing null and invaluable.

    Unlike what Asimov and his contemporaries believed, today we know that all things are not only possible, but are occurring. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ anymore; it’s a matter of ‘where.’

    • Read some Asimov if you want more information, and please forgive the typographical errors: I’m tired.

      My point is, to reference Asimov’s writing in correspondence with an encounter with The Almighty it absolutely ignorant and absurd. God doesn’t give a sh*t about defunct sciences that were so misguided their school didn’t even have a name, nor does He care about their literary counterparts.

      • I don’t think you are giving us a very focused critique.

        First you mention that the (fictional) predictive science, “Psychohistory”, has been debunked/made impossible by Quantum Mechanics. And yet even quantum sized things are predictable in large enough populations, like the movement of gasses, just as the premise was in Psychohistory, that at a big enough scale (in Foundation this was in the trillion-person region if I do recall correctly) — at that point the direction of humanity becomes calculable. Also, don’t discount game theory so quickly if we’re talking about predicting human behavior – and we are hardly governed by our infinitesimal quantum parts.

        But now I believe you are trying to dispel the Levels of Civilization-type theory, espoused by Asimov and (originally) Kardeshev (see the Kardeshev Scale). These state that there is a scale which successful civilizations move up as they advance, quantified in terms of energy used at each state or level. Once we gain control of our primary star, as “God” says, we will become a Type II civilization, which will make us slightly more interesting to talk to, and accordingly more powerful. (Type I would mean complete control of the resources of the planet itself).

        Your thoughts?

        • I have no idea where you’re going, or what you’re trying to say. I said, simply, the scientific and theoretical basis of this piece contradicts what’s seemed to be one of it’s two themes:
          1. The author is a genius whose interpretation of the world around him are so unparalleled that God took notice.
          2. There is order in the universe, and so much so that humans are on a lower scale of that order; we don’t even qualify as subordinates to God.

          • That’s fine. I think I get you now: Why would God talk to such a being?

          • A Different Tom

            No, you simply said: “…is an attempt to validate an ill-conceived genius by one man’s narcissism.” This fits with this post. However you also simply said: “..makes me want to vomit.” This was in reference to simply using the Kardeshev Scale mentioned above, nothing towards Asimovs “Psychohistory” which wasn’t used in the story directly. If you feel it was used indirectly, then I feel you made a connection that wasn’t meant to be made.

            And as for how you say his branch of science was abandoned… I don’t think it was meant to be scientific theory, it was fiction.

  • Well… that’s an interesting piece of writing… really was worth my 10 minutes.

    Excuse me if I don’t buy the whole “cynic and loveless God”. I agree with many parts of the story (evolution in billions of years, the ability of becoming Godlike, self destruction if going on a wrong path etc.) and disagree with the cynic attitude (ants under your car (?!?!) ). Yes, there are many Gods. Yes, there are many universes, and reaaally many species. No, it’s not that cynical and careless.

    It’s really up to every one of us. We each choose what to believe, and we all create our reality. For one, I choose to believe that God loves us. Unconditionally.

  • I have a different interpretation, and to explain exactly how it came to my mind, I need to tell you some things first, so I’m sorry for its length. Also, bear in mind that English is not my first language, so if some of my expressions are weird or incorrect, please bear with me.

    At first I thought that this was an interesting piece, although there was a clear feeling of self-importance in the writing style. Some of you have noticed it as I did, but all in all what’s so wrong with that?

    I’m pretty sure the man behind “Harry Stottle” is just like us. Behind appearances, he’s got issues, and he’s probably not always as self-confident as he seems to be in this story. But that’s what stories are about, right? Idealization of truth to help pinpoint a feeling, an idea in particular.

    So, what triggered this interpretation of mine, is the fact that this God chose to look like a 30 year-old white male who doesn’t really care about his appearance (except, he does! he just pretends like he doesn’t like some hipster kid).

    So, this God looks a lot like our narrator and protagonist. The latter asks God, “Why did you choose that appearance?” God tells him to figure that one out for himself, however the story ends here. So, that is not for him to figure out, but for us, the readers.

    Also, bear in mind that this God really doesn’t seem to know all that much. He looks more like he’s directly drawing from Harry Stottle’s open mind to push him further, with his talk of other civilizations, evolution… He evokes the “birth of His universe” and explains that he didn’t create himself at all, because nothing in the whole universe can. He evokes dinosaurs, dolphins, and aliens. It does remind me of Douglas Adam’s own writing, I think someone mentioned that. There’s nothing new here, everything’s been said before, sometimes even more beautifully. Nothing really original is said about the real nature of the universe: what is important in this story is what place Harry Stottle holds in his own life, not so much in the whole universe, but as some kind of modern-day prophet in our world.

    So, it’s really more like an expansion of fiction, except this is supposed to “seep” into reality through the internet. Which would kind of make it real, if people kept this story in mind and modeled their inner lives on it in some way or another, for good or for bad… I don’t really know exactly what I should feel about that. Skeptical, at first. The part about Jesus is really unclear: no one can really be sure he has said all that he’s supposed to have said. Many scholars now believe that most of his message has been rewritten for political purposes, so that a new Roman Empire could rise from his ashes and inspire whole populations to be part of it again. So, isn’t “Harry Stottle” scared that his own message will become one of hatred, dogma, and intolerance, as so happened to the words of Jesus?

    I need to tell you about a matter that I hold dear: some of us take it for granted that fiction and reality are separate. I don’t. The way I figure, you can learn important things from alternate states of consciousness, be it reveries, dreaming, trances, either accidental, drug-induced, or purposely ‘summoned’ ones, like some shamans create.

    Writers of old used the pretense that they’ve just “heard” about the story you’re about to read. That’s the same pretense used by many original writers in religious texts (I know this is going to infuriate believers, but believe me, that’s not what I’m here to do, not at all…) to get people to focus on moral and spiritual values they hold dear.

    Some writers still use that process, except that this gimmick is kind of dated now, and doesn’t have exactly the same impact on us as it used to on readers of old, because more and more of us can read, which means more and more of us can write. This leads to oversaturation of bookshelves and film stores, and so on and so forth: everybody can try and pretend that the story they’re “making up” is real, so we’re used that by now, and we know better. If it was real, we’d have heard about it on TV, right?

    So, why do writers use this process? To make their story sound all the more real to us, at least for a fraction of our lives, so we can really identify with it and get into the writer’s state of mind. When we close the book, when we finish the movie, we can think for ourselves and ponder: what did this story bring to me? What do I agree with or disagree with and why? How would I have done it if it had been my idea in the first place?

    You don’t have to agree with everything that you hear. Actually, that would be kind of detrimental to the human species as a whole. Only when contradictions and conflicts arise can we learn more about ourselves, even if it’s just a matter of how we differ from one another. But we don’t really differ all that much, all in all…

    You don’t need religion to go on with your life. You need to go and pick whatever suits you and speaks to you. Who cares if it’s a poem, a religious text, or a fleeting feeling experienced in the arms of someone you love.

    I think what Harry Stottle meant by mentioning all those confusing numbers about “other intelligent beings that are similar to us in evolution and structure”, is that the God he’s telling us about is definitely NOT the God from any preexisting scripture, even if he compares himself to other views of God according to ancient holy texts. It is the intimate-God inside of us, the inner voice that guides and makes us do things, good and bad, so that we go forward, one way or another…

    The numbers he cites could very well apply to other humans on THIS VERY PLANET. What do I mean by that? Well, this story shows it: the process here is not to think of this story as true or not, but as a meaningful story to you – or not. And why.

    Any creator, anyone interested in dreams knows this: the individual, if inclined to, can learn to unravel a whole universe within himself, that expresses inner contradictions and ideas that could not really be expressed in any other way, and could very well help him to make sense out of his REAL life, in the REAL world.

    We use this system of mirrors to project ourselves onto anything. We look for people who we like, who resemble us in real life, trying to summon their good aspects inside of us. We do the same in our dreams, but in reverse. We project our identities or selves through the prism of conscience and experience so we delve more and more into our innermost desires, wants, and needs.

    What makes things, people and events real? The fact that there’s more than one person there to witness it and agree on what we’ve seen.
    A dream is just one person inside of him/herself witnessing his/her own blooming or withering from the inside.

    A story is more or less the same, except, because of the narrative, because of adventures and poetry and many other things, there is an intention there to share with others something that has been learned individually, when no one else was there to witness it like the creator did. Maybe we can be more and more “witnesses” to agree on the experience that is extracted from the story.

    Some of you might confuse this God (or compare it) with the scriptural God. But, what if the scriptural God was just another “handy invention” to pull us forward, until we found better? Better ideas, better ideals? What if these scriptural-Gods we speak of are just “compressions” of these inner, higher selves inside of us into something bigger, something that other people can and should relate to? What if gods were always all about stories, legends, and myths that are useful to us in terms of personal evolution?

    What I think Harry Stottle is saying here, is that, you don’t have to agree on everything anyone says about anything, most importantly divinity. The God we’re talking about is the inner God inside of him, and maybe you could acknowledge this God inside of you, that looks like you, and that wants you to be a better “you”.

    Personally, I disagree on the “one divinity” aspect. Actually, pantheism speaks much more to me in this aspect. Every god can be the incarnation of an archetype. And, inside of us, they form something bigger than the sum of their individualities. Uber-gestalt.

    Harry Stottle’s God is real to him. But Harry Stottle is a pseudonym, and a fictional character.

    We could say the fictional character has built up this story inside the original author’s mind, the one who’s projecting himself upon both Harry Stottle AND Harry Stottle’s God.

    This God is the product of both the real author’s vivid imagination, and the input of societal ideas and ideals contemporary to him – including monotheistic religions such as Christianity.

    Each and every one of us has a chance to feel this, once in a while. Atheists brand themselves as free from God, but they kind of miss the point, I think. Our brain is a magnificent machine that seems to want to pull us forward, whether we like it or not. Who cares if you need a God-image to do that, or aliens from Mars, or creatures from another dimension, as long as you don’t hurt anyone else in the process, as long as you don’t try and plunder this image onto everybody else’s minds, what’s wrong with it?

    The One-God-for-all-mankind image has been detrimental to us for centuries now, and it had nothing to do with spirituality. Everything from genocide, to the crusades, to the inquisition, to dogmatic intolerance, to scientific advances were just a pretense for powerful people to keep us in check, feeding on gullible minds to push their own political and economical agenda on the world.

    And, once a whole society moves forward with the idea that they’re doing the work of a benevolent God, they don’t really want to question whether they’re really doing it for good, or for the selfish purposes of men corrupted by immense power…

    So, this is it. If what I told you is of any interest to you, I would strongly advise you to try and learn a bit about a very interesting man called James Curcio. He’s editing a book on the importance of myth in human consciousness, that could very well be a part of something bigger than the whole of its parts. Something that could help people accept that they can’t really understand everything, but it’s ok: our brains are already working on a solution. The only thing is that we shouldn’t rely on a single idea/ideal, and we shouldn’t think too much of it – what if we’re wrong? Because, we are bound to be, at some time, if we refuse to move forward and adapt. We can, and should learn to change with the world, and not get fixated on some old, brilliant poems that were written in a time that is long dead.

    However, and this is going to be the end of my message, the fact that so many people still identify so much with the Torah, the Bible, the Quran or with any other organized religion’s text, means that we have real trouble letting go of our past. Why? Maybe because the ones who are supposed to lead us forward today aren’t really doing that at all.

    Also, why Harry Stottle/Aristotle? If you read a bit about him as I have (not a lot, but enough), you’ll realize that all in all, we haven’t really moved forward that much metaphysically. Everything’s in there, and this guy, this philosopher, lived a very, very, very long time ago. All the other important philosophers since then have basically been giving his teachings another thought, trying to expand upon them further.

    But what if each of us learned to accept and rely a little more on ourselves spiritually, to become more and more our own personal gurus, our own mentors, our own philosophers whose teachings we could learn to model our lives on?

    What if we all started to share it on places such as, say, the Internet? What if we could accelerate our evolution and free ourselves from the past, all the while remembering our past mistakes, so as not to repeat them on and on and on as we’ve been doing for centuries?

    Uber-gestalt…

    Again, sorry, that’s quite long, I know. I hope that some of you got Harry Stottle’s point, and mine.

    Love,
    almagenes

  • [WHY so much focus on his writing style amongst the commenters, I wonder...]

    Just wanted to respond to a few of your core concepts here. I actually like what you say about us needing a personal idol, an inner god, or a superego to drive our own development, and that we tend to get stuck on dogma and stagnate far too often. I would agree that people don’t seem to engage with themselves and their own life’s purpose nearly enough. So what you said resonated with me, but I took different things out of this piece and thought about it mostly in terms of a (fictional) ‘blanket message to humanity’ on our own terrible/wonderful potential, either to kill ourselves off or become god-like.

    First of all, have you ever heard of the Simulation Argument? I think it’s worth mentioning in response to your comments because it allows us to imagine this God figure as he presents himself here. Well, as you may know, it states that we are just as likely if not more likely to be living in a simulated reality/universe than not. Why? Because each sufficiently advanced civilization inevitably runs simulations of theirs and other worlds and eventually other possible universes, probably just out of scientific curiosity. (This, btw, assumes a Multi-verse structure [just as in this story] thereby increasing the probability of us being in such a simulation.)

    Just imagine, in the style of the famous Drake Equation, that out of an arbitrary billion universes, one million include a few Type III sentient species, and that 1% of each of those run from one to 100 universe simulations just-for-fun. Well even with conservative figures that would surely increase the odds that we are not physically real except in an informational sense, tied up in a computer simulation in some other god-like species’ computers. Crazy stuff, I know.

    “The Simulation Argument is perhaps the first interesting argument for the existence of a Creator in 2000 years.” -David Pearce

    Now, whether the God in this story is a simulator or an actual creator is irrelevant: The point is – why make this into an inner, personal God when there are so many other (more exciting) possibilities to consider — especially when we are being told that we may one day be granted enlightenment, or indeed “earn” the right to know for sure?

    Also, as far as the doubts that any such God could ‘make’ him or herself, I would point to the central theme of this very site and my attempts to tackle this pivotal period in human history in which, finally, we are beginning to understand and intentionally further our own evolution as a species – in genetics, nano-medicine, nootropics, networking, and in so many other areas, not the least of which is in philosophy itself, asking the big questions that this very story inspires: ‘What are we?’, ‘Where are we going?’, and ‘What do we want to be?’. Why throw out godhood as a possibility for us or our descendants? It is surely too early to know — from which point we can also argue that it is much too early to rule out.

  • Why am I focused on the writing? Because it’s a written piece, and I had a course in English literature.

    I know the Simulation Argument. I’m a big fan of it. However, I’m not willing to push that concept further than belief, because for now that’s just what it is, on anybody else’s mind, pretending it could very well be true. Yes, there are indeed weird coincidences. Right now, I believe that it could very well be true. But that’s what it is, a belief. Not a truth. Give me proof and I’ll believe it to be true…

    Why am I saying it could be a inner God? First, it’s my own interpretation, not Harry Stottles’… So, it’s only an interpretation, right?
    I focus on the “inner-God intepretation” because I think that everyone, whatever their religion and origins are, can agree on the fact that our brains are formidable interpretation machines. Just look at dreams. That is Simulated Reality for sure.

    All I was saying is, does that make it “less real” than reality? Just that is a pretty big step in itself, don’t you think? Maybe we could build a basis for everybody to rely on that. That would be interesting. Organized religion, as I said, was always an excuse for powerful people to create dissent, divide peoples, and justify racism. So, bringing up another God hypothesis, doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. Not. At. All. We have enough issues with a divinity that doesn’t manifest itself as it is…

    About a GMO, and all very sci-fi-like future where we go in the sky and go to other worlds, I am skeptical. Why go to other worlds, when we haven’t yet destroyed this one? We’ve always been projecting like crazy. Also, for the moment most of the GMO we’ve got consists of firing gold atoms on fish DNA to make hoping some of it is going to stick to corn DNA in order to make it more resistant to cold, pests, bad weeds…
    So, there you go!

    And don’t tell me you really think that these things are going to be benefitial to everyone?
    I mean, look at reality! Corporations are greedy and getting more and more greedy. They don’t care if they f*ck poor old fashioned peasants in the *ss if their crops gets contaminated with GMO pollen, which kills the whole crop after one harvest season. What do you think they’re gonna do to US when they get to patent OUR OWN GENES to their own private interests? Do you still think that gene modification is the absolute solution to misery? Not mentioning the fact that, uh, we have absolutely no idea what it can do to us in the long run ? I think it could very well be the opposite and be another source of self-destruction.)

    Also, about existential questions, shamans of all origins had a very clear feeling about all that quantum physicists have been trying to understand. So, again, there goes novelty.

    Nootropics ? Old tribes knew the secret use of plants and all. How is that the future? We just come to their home, destroy their habitat, steal their plants and patent cells as if they were their own.

    Nice future we got there, really…

    No, really. This piece is a really interesting read, and I think it could be the basis or development for a really interesting philosophy of life.

    But I guess that’s why philosophy appeared anyway : so that we could find ideals of justice and stick to them, apply them, comply to them, or change them, indefinitely.

    That’s more than enough for me, right now, and I think that it’s something that we need more than GMO or spaceships or gods or whatever. Something we could all agree on, not just another thing to divide everybody.

    “Are you a believer in the Digital Ahtman? No? HERETIC !!”

    Not for me.

    • To respond briefly to your question:

      “Do you still think that gene modification is the absolute solution to misery? Not mentioning the fact that, uh, we have absolutely no idea what it can do to us in the long run? I think it could very well be the opposite and be another source of self-destruction.”

      The “God” here himself stated that any technological advance had the potential to destroy us or give us the ability to destroy ourselves. We are far from having proven ourselves and there are many greedy entities indeed that could derail us along our developmental path. However, I still maintain faith in humanity and science that we can create a better world. Call me crazy if you like, but someone’s gotta dream, right?

      “You may say I’m a dreamer… But I’m not the only one…”

      • First of all, I read my two posts, and I’m sorry about all the typos… I can get really excited when I write on these kind of subjects, you know?

        Also, man, don’t get me wrong, I’m a dreamer too, and clearly we’re not the only one. It’s just that, I don’t know. These greedy people have the ‘machine’ well rigged to keep anyone or anything from ever changing it…

        Something that I didn’t like so much in this piece, is that ‘God’ justifies destruction and mayhem for evolution purposes. I’d rather say that whatever happened, we learned from that lesson to go forward (or have we?) because nothing justifies destruction. Nothing.

        I have faith in humanity. My opinion however is that, once you’ve got too much power in your hands, once you’ve gone too far, you can’t come back. It’s like, when you train soldiers to do you bidding and send them to kill innocent people and rape everything that moves, like they did not that long ago in Chechnya, they can’t live a normal life anymore. They’re beasts, they’re monsters, because they obeyed. They can do nothing else after that. Even dreamers should acknowledge that and not flee from the fact that any human can turn into a monster…

        So what I’m saying is that dreamers should try and come up with ideas to fight that injustice – not find something that could bring more dissent among us.

        We don’t need one more ideal God. We need useful, peaceful, humanist ideas to build a common ground between everybody, and gently nudge us humans forward, and never stop moving from that point on… We need to acknowledge the creator in each an everyone of us. Not project ourselves a fabled father figure that will eventually let us down, let us kill each other in His name or whatever.

        • When you say dissent I think you mean ‘conflict’. We surely don’t need more of that. Dissent, on the other hand, is patriotic. It is often the starting point to meaningful dialogue and is essential for democracy to flourish. Dissent reduces violent conflict.

          I would refer you to another post of mine, a movie clip featuring Dr. Cornel West on the importance of dialogue and philosophy for dealing with the structures of domination in this world (corrupt governments, ideologies, institutions, corporations, etc.): http://www.thrivenotes.com/the-examined-life/

  • Very interesting piece, I find it amusing that many people consider it could be real. As an atheist, I find the whole issue revolving around a “god” very distracting, yet I can see how enticing it is for those that still believe or want to believe in a god. It’s a good hooking device.

    I do get a very important message for atheists going forward from this. One of the basic objections that most theist (of any degree of religiousness) have with atheism is the whole issue of: what’s the purpose of life?

    When there is no god the obvious answer is: whatever you make it. That answer, even if apparently liberating, is very unsatisfactory for most people. They want to be told, they don’t want to have to dilucidate(figure out) and decide by themselves, they need a higher entity, a father figure, to tell them. They also want to serve a higher purpose, not to just live.

    So this story shows us that as a species we can set for ourselves a vision, a mission statement and an evolutionary plan towards the survival and development of our species into thousands and millions of years into the future. That common plan would satisfy the personal need of having a higher purpose given by a higher entity (humanity) to live our own lives.

    Then maybe more people would be willing to shed their archaic (or modern) religions in pursue of this higher Goal.

  • In the scientific viewpoint there is no need for a god. However, there is no doubt that we need to learn things, to adapt to change, both inside and outside of us. We need symbolic figures, be they teachers, writers, philosophers, to go forward. What if these figures are symbolic, like, say, Harry Potter’s Dumbledore? This feeling that you understand what he’s on about, that you’ve learned something, is that only fiction, or a real feeling, real understanding? Who cares if it’s not really real?

    Maybe there is no meaning to life, but come on, life is harsh and painful: at least don’t you agree we need to find meaning, to create one for ourselves, so we can find the will in us to go forward? Can’t we agree on that?

    • Most certainly. I’m glad this piece inspired such thoughts in you. May it serve as inspiration for us all…

      • Yeah sorry I can’t seem to stop my own rambling. Actually I meant this as an answer to the previous post but for some reason it didn’t appear where it was intended to go.

        Also, am I right to understand that there is not going to be any more new content on Thrivenotes? You know, I got there because of “The Last Question”. It made a lot of sense to read that story at that very particular moment of my life, a few weeks ago.

        Just thought I’d let you know…

        • I will seek out new content to the best of my ability. It was more of a challenge to myself to find the best material or *write* my own best material, something which I could put a lot of heart and soul into, and I don’t think such things will come easily. What I mean is, new content will be of higher quality, but will probably be published with much less frequency. That is/was my intention. … And thank you.

  • Hello, please excuse me for any possible mistakes since English is not my mother language. The first thing I’d like to say is, whether reality or fantasy, this article is great. Having read it 3 times now the last thing I care about is whether this conversation is real or not. Also, it made me think about some things. I’ll try to share them with you and see if anybody else has thought of it.

    God keeps talking about KNOWLEDGE in this convo. I don’t consider myself a Christian yet I know the basics of this religion. This repeated reference to KNOWLEDGE keeps reminding me of the story of Adam and Eve.

    1st of all I really believe that most religions share some basic concepts. 2nd, I believe that throughout history the original teachings of the religions have become more or less distorted. So, I’m just wondering…could the story of Adam and Eve be a parallel of what God seems to be saying in this conversation?

    God says some species are able to dominate the planet but they can’t have intelligence, like Dinosaurs, and unlike Humans, who can both dominate the planet and have intelligence. Based on this article, I take it that each species that has intelligence is kind of destined to at least “take the test” and whether it will succeed or not is 100% up to it. Now let’s hold it for a while and let’s remember the story of Adam and Eve.

    Adam and Eve were living in heaven with God and all other beings-creations of His. Out of all of them Adam and Eve (Humans) were the only ones that tried to eat from the Apple Tree of KNOWLEDGE. And when that happened they became mortal humans like us and were sent to earth. Now couldn’t this just be a parallel of what God is saying here? Adam and Eve (Humans) chose to eat the apple. And it was not because they were hungry. They had a reason to do it (this must be for intelligence). So eating the apple may just be a parallel to the fact of having intelligence.

    What happened when they ate the apple? They were sent out of heaven and since that point we have all carried their sins and tried to take it off of ourselves. So the consequence of eating the apple is being kicked out of heaven and having to prove yourself again. In other words, if we can make the parallel asumption again…the “consequance” of having intelligence is having to try to overcome obstacles that show up during our evolution…so this must be the Test. Of course considering Adam and Eve as sinners or as a true story is part of the historical distortion I mentioned earlier.

    I hope I managed to explain what I was talking about and I am looking forward to seeing what you think about this.

    • Steve, I think I got your point and I can assure you that you are as clear as crystal – I wish I knew how to go straight to the point like you do.

      The symbols you evoke are very meaningful, and I have thought of this interpretation myself many times. The apple comes from the Tree of Life. Once we are able to attain some degree of intelligence, we must do all that is in our power to keep it and make it fruitful. It can be extremely painful and crazy to be REALLY aware, but that’s the way it is, right?

      • “It can be extremely painful and crazy to be REALLY aware, but that’s the way it is, right?”
        Wow..i think that must be the biggest truth to ever be told about the TRUTH.What you said,has been on my mind for a long time.I just have never spoke it out because i can imagine the feeling of being totally aware but i cant explain it.I mean i could imagine the madness that can be created from full awarness when you cant really handle it.

    • I appreciate your analogy here. Very nice. We must prove ourselves worthy over and over again as we gain knowledge, because every step we take is on a knife’s edge; all new knowledge could lead us to disaster or likewise help us grow immensely.

      Information can be quite burdensome indeed!
      (Knowledge/Wisdom ➔ Power/Responsibility)

  • The more times i read this thing,the more new things i find hidden in there:

    ‘But you did create the Universe?’

    ‘This One. Yes’

    He said This One Yes.
    So what hes basically saying is there are more Universes out there created by other Gods ? If that is what he’s saying then i don’t know…Seriously if that is true we’re not even “ants”…we’re more like single-celled organisms.
    And if it is true then it will be 100 (maybe thats a really small number) times harder to find out how EVERYTHING started..it goes way further than the Big Bang..i am too scared to even think about it…

  • Oh, I get it…
    Harry Sottle: Aristotle
    Allegory of the Cave: Humans can’t see beyond what’s in front of them, and there’s so much more going on. blah, blah, blah. You have to suffer to get ahead…blah blah blah…People, if only they could see that there is more than their shadows, would be able to experience so much more…enlightenment is the product of suffering…
    If you’re born and all you see is your shadow and you can’t move and you’re subjected to torture, how are you supposed to know what else is out there? You can’t unless the guy next to you helps you, and you communicate, and it’ll take a while…
    I see the inspiration but I’m not buying the product. I’m still hooked on the whole “I’m the author and I’m a genius” thing.

    • Or God’s relationship to Harry is like Plato’s to Aristotle. We’re Aristotle? Plato’s out of the cave and Aristotle’s in it?

  • Lol: Oxon. doesn’t offer the PhD. Way to ruin the silly story.

  • Hey author, if you want to assert that you are god, you should first learn the difference between a musical staff and multiplying by three.

  • I was bored reading this text.
    Make it more simple and I’ll read it.
    For me , this word is enough : “The Living”
    That’s the name I feel to be the white stone.

  • How about you try reading the Bible instead of attempting to forge your own religion.

  • This was a great story. Someone DEFINITELY reads Asimov…

    “The Last Question,” in particular…

  • pseudointellectual crap

    you try to draw comparisons to history and to scientific facts (for example when talking about dinosaurs) that are just so…. dumb

    not worth reading

    • You, sir, are an a**hole. Do not denigrate material merely because you do not have an appreciation for it. That is myopic and immature.

  • Michael Springer

    Use that imagination to help plug the hole in the gulf .. Or just ask god how to do it . Do you have him on speed dial ? The reference to dinosaurs was lame . The sad part is some people believe this garbage . Gullibility is the most dangerous thing on the planet. Just look at the Muslim community . “” Quit feeding the cows delusions “”

    • You are wrong. Close mindedness is the most dangerous thing on this planet.

      No one is claiming this to be fact or a true story, as far as I can tell. But this story just opens up a whole new perspective which many people have been blind to. I for one feel the world needs more creative stories such as this.

  • I have become so confused by reading this story, and then the comments. Is the writer of this claiming these events really occurred? Or has the writer classified it as a fictional story himself?

    Either way, I don’t believe I have ever been so intrigued by a story in my entire life as much as this one has intrigued me. I now have a whole new scenario to contemplate, and I couldn’t be happier

    • I think it is generally agreed the author has simply tried to convey his philosophical and world views in a manner that is striking/attention grabbing (by claiming a conversation with god) and in doing so also gives his thoughts more legitimacy to those who want to believe in a higher power.

      However the ‘advance at all costs’ ‘survival of the fittest’ standpoint he takes does not fit well with me. As Harry Stotle is, I am an atheist of sorts (I do not believe in god per se but happily accept the possibility of intelligent design) but I would absolutely not assert my beliefs as superior to anyone elses as he seems to. His standpoint (that taken by ‘god’ in the interview) seems to justify capitalism, domination, and subordination of alternative belief sets, religions, species we share the planet with etc in the interest of humankinds advancement and survival.

      Someone cannot simply assert they are right and superior but rather as liberalism would promote people must learn to tolerate each other’s individual beliefs and while not necessarily agree, learn to respect them. Liberalism would allow every individual to their own beliefs so long as they are not unreasonably harming anyone else. This concept is excellent but devastating for many when extended to economics and private ownership to the degree it currently is. The perfect world is the result of an impossibly careful balancing act between state regulation and individual freedom.

      While I can absolutely accept the potential benefits of careful genetic modification and tampering with DNA to combat various disorders and vulnerabilities to disease, in our world as mentioned before almost unrestrainedly powerful corporate interests will certainly get involved where there is money to be made, and things will inevitably turn sour. To me you cannot turn reproduction into a market transaction whereby parents (the consumers) essentially purchase a designer baby (product) to exact specifications. I would not like to be told I was in a sense artificial/synthetic or whatever, some things need to be left to nature.

      Genetic modification is just one example. Corporations and dominant minorities should not be allowed to make mistakes at the expense of everyone else – exactly what BP is doing currently. This is what Harry Stotles standpoint seems to be.

      Progressions, particularly technological and scientific are great for everyone but should not be undertaken with complete disregard for others as who is to say who is right. The dolphins perhaps lead a far more harmonious life than we do, inhibited only by our own ‘superior’ actions or their consequences and not by intra species conflict and disagreement. I’m not necessarily promoting a static ‘dolphin’ society but the current emphasis on development, expansion, materialism, is more likely to lead to our demise than to eventual universal domination.

      Sorry if I’m way off the topic or missing the point.

  • Only, God does not force belief. We find it. We find faith. Then questions will get answered. If God forced himself on us the outcome would be invalid. We prove ourselves by a sincere search. People force their opinion, not God. People go around telling each other to be believers or atheists, always trying to force their opinion on others. How very unGodlike. But it is allowed to sincerely ask God for proof. Be warned that not being ready would still be your problem, not His…or mine.

  • this is really food for thought… i thought it as some sort of joke but after readding some lines i couldnt stop until the very end :/ really kept me thinking

  • About that ‘reverse engineering life’ business. For the past 15 years, a company I can’t seem to recall has been studying genomics extensively. They created the first artificial lifeform through a thorough understanding of DNA function. They engineered artificial DNA in a lab, implanted it into a bacteria, and the thing started dividing as a new organism. If that’s not reverse engineering life, then I don’t know what is.

  • The validity of this story is irrelevant. You must ponder the concepts and ideas included and if they resonate with you then share it and accept it. If it doesn’t feel right then move on and continue developing whatever belief system you have. It’s my personal opinion that this is almost perfectly in line with my own thoughts on the subject and I am very pleased to see them reflected in other individuals.

  • It is wrong for the reader to assume the author is the main character in any literary piece. A very basic and fundamental lesson.

  • As a story, interesting. If the intent was to convey insights on the nonexistence of GOD, humanity’s purpose, meaning of existence, “put your top question here”, it falls short Way short. I had the distinct feeling I was reading a horoscope or Chinese fortune cookie.

  • Humans will ALWAYS have a drive to be better then all other humans no matter the cost. It’s our nature. It’s the basis of evolution. We refuse to accept that the individual is in no way special. Passing the code at any cost is what’s important to life. In order to suppress the selfish nature of humans you must first fundamentally change what it means to be life on Earth.

  • “Pray to god but row away from the rocks.”

    Was it ever unclear that humanity has free will? It seems like that’s the one principle everyone can agree on.

    And whoever said that the 350 people from “Newday” were healed because all 350 people were thinking the samething, and working together as one being not 350 individuals.

    You blew my fucking mind.

    Also, this article leaves out what happens to the individual. What happens to ME after I die. I realize this question is completely opposite of how ‘God’ said to view ourselves. But that doesn’t stop me from wondering what happens to me, because I know I’ll be dead before this ‘Ecstasy’ happens.

  • I found this particularly stupid although well written. That is all.

  • this is what i took the story to mean:
    What our species needs to do next is keep working on the thinking machine(A.I.) and fussion power. once we have complete control of both we need to use the thinking machine and unlimited power to perfect the human genome, among other things. once we have a perfected race(no greed, anger,and most importantly no religion) we will begin to evolve more quickly.in addition to this if we get another visit from god or aliens as we become more interesting, we will hopefully gain an extra boost of technology or knowledge. im just curious if we are a level one and super intelligent is like level two then what level was this god at?

  • Well, it seems clear to me that there are sufficient comments on this page to prevent the author of the passage from ever reading this one in particular. That notion alone should attest, at least in some respect, to the effect that the piece has had on its readers. That said, I wouldn’t go classifying it as one of the great amateur science fiction works of our time just yet.

    As an author myself, I would just like to offer the following review. I was relatively hopeful, upon beginning to read, that this would be a stirring perspective piece which would, if nothing else, be food for philosophical musings until I head off to sleep tonight. And I seemed to be right. For the first half of the piece or so, I could really respect the authors point of view, regardless of my personal philosophy or my tendency to linger on the grammatical and syntactical errors of writings such as this.

    It was thereafter that I was quite dissapointed. The third quarter of the tale devolved from an intelligently composed conversation between two distinct characters into a self-righteous session of two similar voices affirming each other in an infinite cycle which I would refer to as mobius masturbation. If there is one thing which I assume the author did not intend, it would be to sound preachy, but that’s exactly how it progressed.

    Furthermore, the lapses between the “God” character’s insistence that the concepts being learned by humans are indeed universal (or wider even) footnotes to greater thoughts and his insistence upon utilizing colloquialisms of science fiction pop culture ruin the consistency of tone which is absolutely necessary in the establishment of a voice of altruistic knowledge.

    Perhaps if Mr. Stottle had limited himself to only one allusion to the eventual recognition of his eternally significant work, it would be much easier to stomach the fundamental issues with the piece. Luckily, it exists, as he himself said, as what can be recognized as mildly amusing fiction. True enough, however, mildly may be an exaggeration. It is here that my opinion differs from that of the anonymous flamer whose July 6 post posited that this was a work of stupidity, expertly crafted. It is my professional and personal opinion that this is a work of expert intelligence, executed poorly.

  • A fun diversion. Unlike religion which is so demanding. This god had a beginning and therefore cannot be a god in the strict sense. When we become divine we too will not meet that requirement. None of the gods do.
    Man invented god in his image because that is the ONLY thing that makes sense. Everything else is unnecessary and nonsensical. God was the explanation for all things unknown and therefore for some there will always be a god. I am not quite that curious. See you in heaven I guess….. LOL NO WAIT!!! Make that hell. I want to sin some more.

  • This just might be true, Its the first instance of someone talking to god and not being told exctly what they want to hear that i can remember…

  • It occurred to me that a god would know exactly the content and result of any chat with a mere mortal including whether it had the desired effect on that person long before embarking on such interaction. I imagine that any conversation is therefore redundant and unlikely.
    This god’s origins seem a bit messy to me as well. Is he divine or born of the organic? It almost sounds like he wants it both ways. I would imagine a god would always have existed and always will, should that be his desire. I also don’t see why he chose this man on the train. To what end was his encounter? What does it prove or achieve? Nothing.

    Frankly the idea of a god creating a universe which has probably always existed in one form or another – being part of an eternal “mega-verse” is a pointless one. A universe that has always been does not need creating and therefore there is no need for a creating god.

    We humans tend to need a beginning to things which in turn need an explanation. That is silly in my view and god is an even sillier concept. It is handy to tell the kiddies something to stop them asking “why?” all the time I suppose. Kiddies and the feeble-minded….

  • Thanks for wasting an hour of my life… If I were to believe this it would mean I’d have nothing to look forward to. Any future effects stated in this happen hundreds of years from now and when we die we die completely so why should we care? Atleast my way I have a hope for something better. If this is right I have nothing to lose however if I am right you have everything to lose. Just food for thought. Interesting story though.

  • Wonderful article. Though I appreciate it like I appreciate Harry Potter or The Shack, as a great work of fiction. This man has done exactly the thing that he criticizes in others: he has created a god to fit precisely with what he believes. It’s wonderfully coincidental that a god would show up and coincide perfectly with the beliefs and superstitions of the author. This is what religion has been doing for thousands of years.

    Kind of Ironic if you ask me.

  • Look what i’ve “stumbled upon.”
    A most interesting read. Some thoughts I have already had myself. But during the “are you really god” phase I would want to have more important questions. For instance, is there any truth to the bible? Or, what will happen to me after I die? Because of the whole heaven and hell thing. Oh, the level two’ers are they visiting us in space ships?

  • I hate to be the one to tell you, but you didn’t talk to God. First, it wouldn’t have been “God” to start with, it would have been Jesus. I can tell you right now that Jesus wouldn’t show up on a train in a hobgoblin t-shirt. And when He comes back it will be for everyone, not one person. But aside from that.

    You ruled out telepaths and hackers, but you didn’t rule out everyone. There’s one other entity that knows every dirty secret of your life. Lucifer. Every sin, every bad thought you have, he sees it all. One of the reasons exorcisms are so tramatic for the participants is that the demons will expose your more hidden secrets in front of everyone in the room. It’s an incredibly unnerving thing to have happen to you. I congratulate you for not shitting yourself, you’re in the minority.

    I bet that super secret password you’re talking about hides some porn, maybe some illegal software, a lie or two. I’m sure he knows all about that password.

    That’s not to say God will never talk to you. But he didn’t here. If it were actually God who spoke to you, you would not be an atheist right now. And if there’s anything Lucifer likes more than fast tracking your soul to hell it is deceiving you and inspiring you to influence others as well.

    I’m not going to preach to you or tell you what you should do, but when something similar happened to me I took an evaluation of my life and made drastic changes, and that made all the difference.

    I’ll pray for you. You need it more than you know.

    • Dude. Really? You are an utter f*cktard. This is a work of fiction. The author was merely disseminating ideas that he found interesting through the medium of a PRETEND chat with God.

      This is precisely why religious zealotry is a problem. Over-religiousness mutates people into dumb, unreasoning creatures. It’s disgusting and pitiful.

      (No offense meant to those who believe in religion. Religion in and of itself is fine. But when it goes so far as to make a person an idiot, that’s where I have to draw some sort of line.)

  • A couple other things. He claimed that he didn’t know a better species would develop after killing off the dinosaurs, God can see all of time. This is how even though you have freedom of choice, he knows what you chose.

    You get into a reptile discussion with someone with angelic intelligence wearing a hobgoblin shirt. That’s not even a close call.

  • bill nye the science guy

    This post is a lie.
    It’s created by a christian trying to convert all the atheists

  • why is the title, “let us help germinate this seed” the writer is just attempting to create his own religion (the seed) and most of you fools spreading it is germinating. he’s taking ideas from the Bible, combining it with theistic evolution, and adding whatever sounds good.

  • Most likely fiction, with a small chance of being true. Either way, i really enjoyed reading this.

  • Jesus saves.

  • This energy is in constant flux always has been always will be…
    We might say , think , dream , that we need to understand it (the energy) .. We can call it Conciousness, god or any other phenomena…. but one thing is true .. that the more silent it becomes the clearer it appears to itself.

    I have read this well written story with great intrigue and it just rienforces the fact that the “ants” feed the “anteater”.

    thank you for the great read!

  • don’t believe this is true, but it’s entertaining.

  • A nice angle. I could almost believe it was true :-)

  • becoming a specie with a single conscience is one of the logical stages of our spiritual cycle. At that point it begins again. I think that those that believe in “that old time religion” are the only ones who don’t get it.

    I am pleased that this “seed” is spreading and will take root. I will be passing this writing on to many. It is true that only after everyone has the power to destroy our species, will we be standing on stage 2. After we can design our own lifeforms will we no longer need our bodies to since our existence.

  • James Bigglesworth

    It’s a good read but is not new….some of us have already been exposed to it through Eastern faith(s)!

    The thinking machine would be something not affected by individual idiosyncrasy, self preservation motive, individual threat perception, individual loss of self respect issues…etc. that are primary limitations of an organic thinker (humans, etc.) and would be capable of thinking on rational/logic based principles without any worry on self preservation or desire fruition (also include food/clothing/shelter/sex/income generation/social acceptability-credibility and such…) and would go on collecting various experiences and thoughts to collate into something more global and more whole…will work but dunno how long to get there without us killing each other off!

  • This witty, pro-atheist, natural god (Chardin’s “Omega Point” revisited?) thinks we humans might survive OK since we’re making it through our Nuclear Weapon adolescence. I guess he didn’t see the History Channel’s two-hour “Prophets of Doom,” which featured half a dozen experts on looming threats. One on the collapse of a world economy based on cheap energy (oil); see the Dept of Energy’s 2005 Hirsch report (ignored by the Busheviks), a follow-up to Hubbert’s Peak predictions.

    One on the impending water crisis: “H2O is more vital to life than oil.” Our own Ogallala aquifer was formed by glacial melt and is not replenished sufficiently by rain, being used up at an unsustainable rate (etc).

    The others were harder to take as seriously: One on peak credit (financial woes), and one on the dangers of machines taking over (the Terminator’s world). God might have liked the expert on nuclear terrorism since he shares the focus on nukes; certainly a real threat, on a small local scale. But I’m at a loss as to why god would overlook the most important threat of all, the one that underlies the fatal oil and water crises: the inability of humans to control our explosive reproduction. So the god on the train flunks the test, and must be a fake.

    • Water and Oil I’ll grant you. Sudden crashes in availability of either would be disastrous. On the other hand, they hardly pose species-wide threats to humans specifically. Now, biodiversity on the other hand is supposedly being sucked down a black hole due to our various disruptions of the biosphere… In the context of the story, however, these are phases of our development (consequences thereof) which may or may not kill us/our planet/our chances off completely.

      How likely it is that we’ll actually totally ruin the planet is up for debate. I have a feeling that we’ll continue to develop greener tech and that eventually it may tip the scales away from biospheric destruction (just read a very optimistic What Technology Wants, by Kevin Kelly). Also, overpopulation should probably only be a problem for roughly the next 75 or 100 years, after which point population is likely to fall, slowly but steadily. (My source: An Economist video showing the history of drops in the average number of children-per-woman globally.)

  • [...] Another thing that I’ve discovered recently is a story… it’s about this guy who goes on a train and has a conversation with God. It’s very interesting.. so check that out aswell! http://www.thrivenotes.com/lets-help-germinate-this-seed/ [...]

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