It was in the early days. When people were experimenting on each other.
It is hard to say what it was like back then but our theory is that a colossal social experiment, designed and implemented to perfection, had collapsed and spilled its bile all over the land. Archeologists today believe that some very powerful humans of the ancient times must have educated, bought or disciplined a certain class of people to devise a large system which extracted wealth from the people at the lowest level of society. The scheme must have yielded vast fortunes because records show that a group comprising less than one percent of the populace believed that the land the humans lived on was theirs.
We suspect the system may have started as a kind of research programme unrelated to extracting wealth. Records suggest that a group of priests called “scientists” had first proven how material reality was the only window to the world and then designed technologies and social systems that operated within this paradigm. We know they applied such logic to the world in giant feats of problem solving. They tried to find a key to master Earth’s temperature through releasing something called “nature identical molecules” into the sky. They even compressed time into ever tinier micro-scales until it disappeared behind a brief little flicker of light and became invisible. Their powers may have seemed so large and magical to them that that they were fooled by their own mastery and forgot about all the other realities.
The scale of the pyramid scheme is difficult to comprehend. Although people wrote down the minutiae of their daily doings no one today can understand enough of their way of thinking to piece together a satisfactory account of the larger picture. Although they imprinted their last words on rare earth metals stored in giant bunkers underground, no one cares to makes sense of them anymore because they will only work with huge amounts of electricity run through them. The world’s last archaeologists will soon die out deciphering codes like “free Guardian crossword app for Android users…”, “On my way to tearing down Berlin with James Stillman”, “Have a happy period.” and “salmon pink panel to take away please”.
So their lives, their motives and their ambitions is forever lost to us but this is how I imagine it happened when I try to conjure up a this ancient way of thinking: out of their obsession with control grew a monster which took over their hearts and minds.
Maybe something turned out wrong with the pyramid scheme. Not necessarily with any one experiment. But their faith in an independent, external reality must have yielded some queer results when the stuff of their world began to act back on the scientists’ observations. After all, they were experts in measurement so they must eventually have seen the Soul. But they probably couldn’t understand what it was they saw. Perhaps different classes of scientist priests speculated on this but the argument must have ceased with materialists excommunicated all dissenting viewpoints. We do not know the details but the rift must have reinforced the imbalance of the collective mind of these humans.
Perhaps no one noticed the incoherence in the beginning. Maybe a faint grey blob of ether oozed into their days, making them indistinguishable. There are records of something called ‘the everyday’ which appears to be a regime that divided time into blocks of twenty-four equal time periods. In the everyday this block was divided into eight hours of work, eight hours of leisure, eight hours of sleep. Within such a regime it is easy to imagine how life must have seemed dull. Could this be their monster, an everyday-monster, a beast of such mind-numbing powers that all beauty and charm was lost on them? It goes without saying that the pyramid scheme, like any ideal based on monotony, conjured up the ghostly echo of the heat death of the universe. A filthy creature peaked its head out of the monotony and that’s how the monster of the everyday came into the world.
The scientists priests must have become increasingly distanced to the phenomena they were observing seeing only abstract figures with nothing to hook them back onto the whole of the world. Maybe the figures the data conjured up appeared so beautiful to them that they forgot about the world all together. This is the only way I can make sense of how they treated the common people, the producers of wealth. If they weren’t really seen as human, it would be easier to treat them like cogs in a machine. We know they experimented on monkeys.
Needles to say, monkeys are the best organisms to make postulations about human nature. When a monkey does something, in its closeness to a human, there will be theories to build about subjectivity, see? Perhaps that’s how they came to believe that the commoners have similar memories of the world to monkeys back down their brainstem. So the egoistic behaviour of a mother ape trampling her offspring in an attempt to avoid burning her feet and hands in a cage heated to several hundred degrees did not seem like an unreasonable response from an average human. Modelling the world this way, the scientists could have eventually mistaken their beautiful figures for reality and themselves begun to mimic monkeys.
I tremble as I imagine the time when the pyramid scheme fell apart.