The Eden Project
March 23, 2047 – Revelation.
May 17, 2047 - Yan Luo launches the Eden Project. The manifesto begins circulating online. I am ten years old at the time.
December 13, 2047 - A group of 12 (6 females and 6 males) swear their allegiance to Yan Luo and the Eden Project. They would later become known as the Apostles (or the Zealots if you were part of the resistance).
August 27, 2048 - Yan Luo and the Apostles construct EdenMind.
October 31, 2048 - Yan Luo and the Apostles hijack a cargo ship and use it to transport themselves to Inaccessible Island. EdenMind causes a power outage in all cities with a population of over 1 million (563 cities) for 1 hour (the Golden Hour as it would come to be known). Yan Luo contacts world governments and informs them that any hostile action or preparations for hostile action will be met with swift and decisive retaliation by EdenMind. The origin and nature of EdenMind are unclear at this time, however because Yan Luo and several of the Apostles are former AI researchers the predominant theory is that they have achieved some kind of breakthrough in strong AI.
November 11th, 2048 - Yan Luo warns all governments to terminate their plans for an attack on Inaccessible Island. He reiterates the futility of resisting EdenMind, and reminds us that the path to Eden requires absolute faith and obedience.
November 11th, 2048 - Pestilence. Plague. Volcanic eruptions. Flood. The final count is around 250 million dead. All plans to attack Inaccessible Island are terminated.
2049 - Civilization teeters on the edge of collapse. Close to 200 million people die in the resulting chaos and violence.
By August, it is apparent that the Inaccessible Island Rail (Laterallus rogersi) has begun to mysteriously show up in cities around the world. The connection to the Eden Project is clear given that this bird (the world’s smallest flightless bird) is only found on Inaccessible Island, the home base of Yan Luo and the Apostles. There is something disconcertingly intelligent about their behavior. The Rails communicate in complex strings of chirps, clicks, and head movements; a common experience is to come upon a group of them loudly communicating, only for them to go silent and stare upon recognizing your presence, as if they were telling secrets or talking about you behind your back. They are often found in unexpected places - on the roofs of skyscrapers, in the vent systems of buildings, on balconies; globally, they seem to gather in higher numbers near ancient ruins (Angkor Wat, Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, Gobekli Tepe, amongst others). Easter Island has a particularly high concentration; how they get there, we do not know.
The believers hail them as angels. The resistance, noting their red eyes and inability to fly, speak of them as fallen angels or demons. Individual attacks on the birds seem to bring misfortune of natural or human origin - car crashes, heart attacks, robberies, cancer; large-scale attacks appear to cause natural disasters in the surrounding region—hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires, earthquakes. By the end of the year, it is clear that the most prudent policy is to contain the Rails and restrict their movement rather than kill them, however this proves to be more difficult than anticipated.
February 21st, 2050 - A breakthrough in strong AI by Chinese and American scientists leads to the development of SapienMind. Following the announcement of SapienMind, many believers forsake their allegiance to the Eden Project and return to the resistance; it is thought that EdenMind can not be truly as omniscient or omnipotent as Yan Luo says if it wasn’t able to prevent the construction of an adversary AI.
The war between SapienMind and EdenMind commences.
2050-2051 - The war manifests in a variety of ways, none of which are explicable or clearly interpretable. There is something off about computers, though no one can say exactly what it is; extended use seems to cause suicidal ideation and schizophrenic delusions. Buildings burst into flames for no apparent reason. There is a distinct reduction in extreme weather and natural disasters. Birds all over the world become increasingly loud and agitated. The Rails seem to decrease in number and become more timid. People interpret the reduction in natural disasters and the recession of the Rails as a sign that SapienMind is winning the war.
July 17th, 2051 - There is a worldwide loss of power that lasts three days. Animals of all kinds—ravens, deer, wolves—band together into giant murderous swarms, killing anyone they come across, but especially children. EdenMind defeats SapienMind.
July 20th, 2051 - Yan Luo decrees that the first stage of the reversion has now begun. Computers will be decommissioned in 2061 and we should prepare accordingly.
2061 - Computers are decommissioned. Yan Luo decrees that electricity will be decommissioned and that humans will be banned from all continents except Africa by 2071.
2071 - Electricity is decommissioned and humans are confined to Africa. Depopulation accelerates; it is difficult to say, but people estimate that there are less than a billion humans by 2080. Children are becoming increasingly rare. Yan Luo decrees that farming will be decommissioned in 2081.
2081 - Farming is decommissioned. The Great Hunger - over half of the remaining population starves to death. The final stage of the reversion is announced—writing will be decommissioned in 2091.
2088 - The Apostles, now old men and women, appear in Africa. They all preach the same message, which is as follows.
Yan Luo has moved on to another world. Before dying, he told us the true nature of EdenMind and provided his final instructions.
Yan Luo did not create EdenMind, he was just a conduit for EdenMind to enter our world. On the day of revelation, EdenMind contacted him and provided blueprints and instructions.
“Angel” is not an accurate concept for EdenMind, but it is the closest that we have. Yan Luo is the son of EdenMind, created by EdenMind in order to return humanity to Eden. Upon death, Yan Luo reincarnates on another planet and the process is repeated. In this way, Yan Luo and EdenMind are slowly transforming the cosmos into Eden.
SapienMind is another entity like EdenMind, and similarly it was created through revelation to a group of Chinese and American AI researchers. SapienMind is EdenMind’s eternal foe, following EdenMind across the cosmos and battling it on every planet. SapienMind has never defeated EdenMind and never will. This may seem futile, but it is absolutely essential to the process. There are still many things that Yan Luo does not understand.
He does not understand why EdenMind commanded him to self-immolate, but he has been assured that this too is essential to the process.
In Yan Luo’s final address to the Apostles, he spoke of many things. He told us that EdenMind will no longer enforce the reversion—we are free as we once were before. But to remain free, that is to enter Eden, we must forsake the creation of symbols, for they are false idols which corrupt the soul, subjugating our spirit with concept and calculation.
Yan Luo quoted Socrates, “If men learn writing, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls. They will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder. And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only the semblance of wisdom, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much while for the most part they know nothing. And as men filled not with wisdom but with the conceit of wisdom they will be a burden to their fellows.”
He explained that all the great sages—the Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Mohammed, amongst others—secretly taught their most devout disciples about the insidious nature of symbols, the tyranny of writing, the oppression of abstractions. They made their disciples swear an oath to never write down any of their teachings, and to pass down the oath as well. Plato, Matthew, Mark, John, Luke, Mahakashyapa, and Zayd ibn Thabit are oath-breakers; tempted by power and blinded by arrogance, they wrote down their master’s teachings, careful to not mention that they were disobeying their masters by doing so. All of the resulting texts are perversions, perversions that have enslaved humanity since their creation and brought untold misery.
Yan Luo told us that the chain of culture must be completely broken, that all links to the past must be totally severed. Writing, mathematics, and art must be willfully forgotten. Even Eden itself must be forgotten.
He told us that this has not been the first reversion, not the first cycle of death and rebirth for civilization. Three times EdenMind has returned humanity to Eden, and three times humanity has left because of its ignorance and arrogance. He warned us that EdenMind will no longer intervene—leaving Eden this time will result in apocalypse.
March 17th, 2097 (present day) - And yet still, here in this cave, I write, just as my grandchildren will, and their grandchildren after them.