Once upon a time there was a man who postulated the existence of two separate and distinct worlds. His thesis rested solely upon the premise that the existence of these worlds could not be disproved philosophically or mathematically, and although he was neither mathematician nor philosopher, he slept comfortably in the surety that his reasoning was sound and that these two worlds did indeed exist. In retrospect, the man’s postulation, however minute, was surely blasphemy; although, it was ultimately inconsequential in nature, the sort of rambling delirium that is normally dismissed as such, even if made outwardly explicit, which in the man’s case was completely out of the question.
The first world, vast and complex, was the one that he inhabited. The sky was shrouded with an absolute and infinite darkness, as if stretched to the point of vacuity between the relentless tear of two competing, yet equally powerful black holes. Despite the consumption of the heavens, his world was flooded with intense bursts of light manifest from elaborate networks of underground cities which perpetually emitted varying forms of energy. These were the technological waste products of the intricate systems of information transfers which connected the masses in a shared sort of ontology.
His society was governed by a long standing history of laws and decisions that had been written and delegated by the forgotten framers of the past. These laws were known as “The Primers of Wintermute.” The world was governed by the principles contained therein, which, although indirectly known and affirmed by society in its entirety, were only directly accessible to a select few. These guardians of “the law” had come to be known as the illuminati. They were a group of societal elites named after a clandestine organization of godlike hegemony who were regaled opaquely in the recanting of folklore. The actual existence of their namesake was unknown and irrelevant.
To become a member of the illuminati, members of this society either inherited access as a birth rite, or alternatively, were tested through a rite of passage called “the banquet”. Those who were not of noble birth or standing wishing to gain access to the law were put through a series of trials and rigor, which were all simulated via computer. The first test was called the forty years of fortitude, in which, over a course of 30 minutes, thousands of test takers were collectively “jacked into" a simulation program that allowed them to engage in a collective game of will and endurance. At anytime during the simulated 40 years, any test taker could inflict any torture upon any fellow test taker, merely through the act of thinking it.
For example, it was common for a testee, for the first few years of simulation, to lie broken boned in a scorching desert, staring up at the sun, eyelids cut away, while “simulated” vultures explored the depths of raw wounds, carefully penetrating with great accuracy the tips of their razor sharp beaks. This was a common scenario chosen by many, as it had been depicted, and then replicated, somewhere along the way in their vast collective knowledge of digitized cinema. In reality, this torture all unfolded within the span of minutes, and so, the comforting promise of death on which one could rely if actually confronted with such a situation was of no use to the test takers in this simulated world. Despite the fabricated nature of this experience, the pain was quite real.
And so the forty years of fortitude continued on. At anytime the test takers could quit their trials, but in doing so they were certain that they would never reach the law. The man had endured the forty years of torture, questioning his decision to remain only one time, half-heartedly, during the 27th year, when a clever test taker had him castrated by the repeated gnawing of giant rats, rats coincidentally being his second greatest fear, bested only by his fear of giant squids. The man withstood this inconvenience however, pleasuring himself with the echoing screams of those testers he targeted for a process he called “reheating,” a description of which is too graphic to warrant mention here.
And this was only the first phase of the banquet. It was the first and easiest test in an endless multitude of similar gauntlets. The absurdity of this world was that the motivation to endure the extremity of such hardships was never questioned. Access to “the law” was not an external desire of the people who sought entry. Rather, it was an innate compulsion, an a priori certainty, like a school of salmon swimming up stream to spawn and die. And so it was well known that the sheer grotesque nature of the banquet was not intended as a deterrent to taking the test to begin with, rather, it was arbitrarily chosen as a method to sort out two distinct classes of people: those who endured the suffering placed before them and those who couldn’t. Only the former were thus entitled to sit in counsel, before the law.
And so the test went on for millenniums, simulated of course, which in actuality amounted to the space of 12 hours. With each year of its administration, the test takers grew more resilient, fewer and fewer of them faltering gracefully in the early rounds. Still, the test was calculated, and the same number made it ever year to the final challenge, which was aptly named, “The Room of Logic.” In the room there was no physical pain, just a simple examination, five sections of varying length, the content of which required a clever sort of wit and metal agility, qualities which many finalists lacked. Those who dared enter this final chamber would only succeed if every question was answered correctly. Unlike the other rooms, if the takers failed here, there was no turning back. All takers, upon completion of the test, would stand in a line in front of two doors. Behind both doors stood total darkness. Or at least this is what was perceived from the vantage point of those in the simulation. One by one the testers would hear their names called by an omnipotent voice behind each door. They would not know whether they had passed or failed until they reached the other side.
In real time, those who passed were brought secretively to the undisclosed location that was the headquarters for the illuminati. There they awoke to a celebration, showered with embraces of their new clan, greeted with the ceremonial banquet, at which the law was finally presented. Those who failed stepped through the door into darkness, an eternal nightmare of suffering exponentially greater than anything encountered during the test itself. In practice this was accomplished through the injection of nanobots into the cerebral cortex. They carried a program called the “Omega Wash” which was designed to alter a person’s concept of the time space continuum, trapping them in a subjective eternity of pain and suffering.
And so the story goes… the man standing meekly in the logic room placed his last answer on the examination hurriedly, and shortly after took his place on line to receive his results. He was uncertain of his place in line, for the first time his nervousness seemed to distract him from his surroundings. Names faded into the background one by one and finally the man was beckoned towards the darkness of an opaque doorway, stepping through with careful anticipation.
It was here the postulation was given birth as the man was hurdled irretrievably towards the darkness. At the moment before he was consumed completely, he fancied a parallel world, each aspect of it being identical to his own, all requirements of “the test” identical, every molecule in place… Only in the world he now imagined, he fancied himself the omnipotent observer, gazing carefully over the collective history of those who waited online as did he. As he peered down over the millennia, he hypothesized witnessing a single occurrence, just one altered event in all the ages of his world’s existence. And the man smiled sharply as he went downward, for his trip ended with certainty, an undeniable certainty that this world existed, and that there, at one time, for one moment, a name echoed from the unused door. It was in that world and behind that door, that surely some soul was called to the banquet.
(My question to anyone out there is, hypothetically, if the test described in the logic room were somewhat similar to an LSAT, and on that somewhat similar test the man ran out of time on his reading comprehension section, freezing on the last five questions of the fourth section, and having no other option than to chose as his last five answers, C,D,E,D,A, respectively, would anyone out there think that perhaps any of those random guesses were valid. FYI, the man hypothetically took the test in February.)