We Invented Our Past Again

In the world of technology 2024, among the bullshit (AI that’s just Clippy Turbo), the scams (pick your food substitute), and the pathological rich (everywhere) something seems familiar. There’s something that feels similar, something that’s not just a rut, but a sameness to all of this new inanity. Consider.

There’s new tech messiahs in town, a handful of men (always men) worshiped as virtual gods who are going to save us. Sure they may no thave invented anything, are building on connections and/or inherited money, have horrible politics, and probably committed sexual assault. Yet people gather around them reverently, singing their praises, vying for attention.

We have our Lord and Saviors – and best of all you can swap one out for another, plus they kind of dress alike,

There’s the promise of change, of revolution. We’ll ascend to space or go to mars. We can acclerate technical development into utopia (especially if you give my company money and venture capital). Just trust us, remove all limit, and we’ll have a future – and show those people who’s in charge.

We have the Apocalypse and the Kingdom of Heaven. Funny how the apocalyptic parts don’t get mentioned as much except for a few tech-types who like to pen vicious screeds grounded in their own paranoia.

There’s even the promise of immortality. This new food substitute will add years onto your life. There’s curious and disturbing talk of blood transfusions. Of course there’s always that promise of uploading your brain to the internet that echoes around the edges of these futuristic grasps for eternity.

For some tech promises we shall be undying in the new utopia.

What has Silicon Valley and it’s attendant technosphere given us? Simple.

It’s given us Christianity2.0.

We’ve got thirst for a messiah, a constant promise of Heaven, and a hope of long life/immortality. Wrap this all up in money and what appear to be widespread daddy issues, and yep, it’s American Christianity re-invented.

I mean we shouldn’t be surprised. Religion has well-worn cultural paths that are easy to follow intentionally or not. The tech world has gotten less and less original anyway, so it doesn’t surprise me to see this weird duplication. Honestly, there may be nothing malicious here, it may be sheer unoriginality.

A lot of are looking for a future of more responsible technology, less grift, less bullshit. Economic downturns and economic bubbles may help, but we need to remember there’s a culture issue here. A change will not just be federated servers or government regulation – it willl be, on some level, spiritual and psychological.

Otherwise we might just re-invent a kind of flaccid, hack Christianity again.


So Where’s The Spirituality?

It seems a lot of people want to tell me and my friends how to live, act, love, etc. all in the name of their “god.”

They have lists of things to do and don’t do. They have rules. These are all things we have to follow – though it seems certain people get to make exceptions. Usually those shouting the loudest about “divine” guidance seem to get to follow none of it.

They have opinions of who can do what. Often around gender, sometimes age, and in the end skin color and ethnicity. Oh they’ll deny the latter, but it’s fairly obvious their little checklists of who is exceptional is pretty small – and funny thing is all the religious shouters are in that small group.

Know what I don’t see in these religious authoritarians? Any kind of spirituality.

Where’s the soul-shattering insights that lay you humbly low? Where’s the connection of some universal truth that comes through from elsewhere into your mind and words? Where’s the depth of it all, of that great sea of being behind things? Be it god, archetype or insight, these religious checklist-wielders don’t have it.

There’s nothing because all they have is their pile of rules (that of course they don’t have to follow). It’s clear as desert-noon day that there’s nothing spiritual at all, nothing deep, in their minds. There’s just the rage-fueled clockwork click-clack chatter of their demands we conform.

Sure some of them make it up. They fake speaking in tongues, they get ghostwritten books, they have some media consultants. A few are wacked-out enough to think they’re having visions, but then you hear about portals to hell over landmarks and other recycled internet conspiracy theories.

And, in the end, there’s nothing there.

I’ve said that I don’t have to take religious fanatics seriously. I don’t believe in their religion, and as they’re obvious hypocrites I don’t have to believe them. But let me add to that, in my more esoteric moments, it’s pretty damn clear they have no claim to deep spiritual insights.

They’ve just got a checklist, and obviously an agenda. If they every encountered some moment that cracked their soul open to something bigger, they wouldn’t be such assholes, or they’d crawl away in shame.


The Imaginary Children Bring Terror

Previously I had written how Imaginary Children were important to many a conspiracy theorist. By claiming to save children that didn’t exist – from the not-born, to the not-real, to the in-the-imagined future – people justified all sorts of grifts, conspiracy theories, and so on. “For the children” is both a triggering set of words and a meme because of how common it is.

These phantom children also justify all sorts of extreme responses.

To say one is going to “save the children” is an excuse to pretty much do anything you want – after all, doesn’t everyone want to do that? There’s no amount of money (belonging to other people) that you can spend, no amount of surveillance you can’t do, no amount of arrests you can’t make. “The children” are the ultimate excuse.

And of course for authoritarians, the perfect excuse.

To say one is going to “save the children” also means anyone you accuse of harming them is also undeniably evil. Who would ever want to hurt (the made-up) children but someone irredemably evil? You can do anything to anyone you want if you accuse them of hurting children first, even imaginary ones.

Again, perfect for authoritarians and bigots, but perhaps I repeat myself.

However, even if people are not harming the illusionary children, people who are in the way are still a barrier. If they question you or don’t want to go on a crusade, they’re at best someone to ignore if not outright enemies. Plus you can convert anyone questioning your love of false children into a villain when you need to.

An endless supply of enemies to send minions after.

In fact, to say you’re doing things “for the children” – especially future children – let’s you justify ignoring or creating problems. Ignore climate change, we have children to save. Creating a police state mine just be fine if you’re saving the children. Not paying your workers a living wage is important because your great wealth will be used for the future children – honestly.

If it’s for the children, you can do anything. Also you might just by coincidence become rich and powerful. Imaginary children are perfect tools for grifters, con-artists, and authoritarians.

Again, what’s weird to me, what is hard to understand, is how people can so easily ignore real children. Maybe it’s because real children aren’t perfect, aren’t the right color, and take effort to take care of. Maybe dealing with real children requires one confront the horrible reasons they suffer. Either way, plenty of folks seem to prefer imaginary kids to real ones – probably because they’re an excuse.

It’s up to us to focus on real people, kids or otherwise, because those focused on imaginary children will use them as an excuse to be terrible. It’s important to focus on real people because the people worried about imaginary children will use them as an excuse to be terrible to them.