Published at EMIGRE#57, Feb. 2001


The third day, Jesus returns to the earth - risen from the dead. In the gospel according to St. Mark (16:12), he is said to have appeared to his apostles “in an other form.” Which is probably why Caravaggio, in his famous painting “The Supper in Emmaus,” did not paint him with a beard but clean-shaven.

A clean-shaven Jesus is a slightly different Jesus. Like a picture in that you can open in Photoshop and "Save As" a JPG for the web, Jesus returns in a new format, a version which is lighter and easier for people to use. If he lost some pixels during the compression, that was merely a necessity. According to his church, his mission was to become a universal standard and it seems that for that purpose, full quality shouldn’t really matter.

Imagine Nature (or God) as a very stubborn old man who is making infinite variations of all sorts of things. A long time ago he made a piece of hardware (the Multiverse) and loaded it with some basic software (Life). After he installed a bit of RAM on it (Time) he let the simulation start.
Maybe he was trying to create a self-portrait. Maybe he recalled that once he was young and beautiful and he desired to see that beauty again.

But God (or Nature) is not an artist so he hasn't been stuck to a specific form. He start producing different versions of reality, one on top of the other. He tried all the buttons and all the combinations. His hardware (multiverse), acquired so much experience that it was hardly “hardware” anymore. It could now automatically produce new slots and install RAM (Time) to itself. As a consequence, RAM (Time) became smart.
Time sometimes behaves as “real” and sometimes as “virtual”. Sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don’t. If you push Time it may crash but if you push it just a little harder, you may succeed in running very sophisticated applications simultaneously.

Choose Expand

“There are also many other things which Jesus did, and if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books needed to be written” John (21:25)

In certain possible universes, fiction is the User. The real purpose for everything is literature. People are just a media. They come in a portfolio of about a hundred different prints, in editions of one hundred and fifty signed copies. Post human literary agents eventually acquire these portfolios and over time they are positioned in different geographic locations and civilizations. But people have intelligence and therefore are constantly searching for the other members of their original portfolio.
They think that they must connect with them somehow because of the shared portfolio memories so when they find them they create relationships. This is how stories between people are happening. Sometimes people recognize some of their own copies. When that happens they want to find (and affect) all of the missing companions, all the portfolios containing their copies. This adds a sense of tragedy and continuation to their destiny. This is also how a person enter the public life and starts exclaiming his theories.

As more and more people redirect their actions from the personal domain to the public one, theories multiply. If you’ll try to describe all of them the Universe will turn into a Hypothetical Universe. This is a danger that God or Nature would do anything to avoid. So a protective software was long ago installed in the human soul: it obliges us to produce theories into different formats. And the human nature, changes steadily, like a DVD player doesn't read the theories written in VHS or paper. The theories which become a “standard,” are transported into newer formats, reproduced and made available everywhere. All the rest become obsolete.
For some beloved theories, people will write emulators that will allow their use with the current human nature. Take Marxism for example. Thus a very famous theory of the 20th century, it is now emulated via its alien operating system of the Internet.

The original theories (the old formats) may still be interesting as a collector’s item, but a busy user wouldn’t care much for them.
Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, he would think. If Jesus were to return today, he shouldn’t be just clean-shaven; he should at least look like a giant Pokemon.


By Miltos Manetas, 2001