Part A- This is not the beginning
Life here is brutal. You are either a zero or one. Civilizations may want you to believe there are intermediate levels. But they are just being kind, and blind to their past. I don’t have such proclivities; I believe in stating the facts.
Part B- The bit
The bit took birth someplace between a city and a village called a town. Her culture demanded that she be a sweet, yielding, and pliant…well a person, if such a thing were possible. So, she stuffed her mind with a bit of education, an algorithm to stay out of trouble, and a stack of socially acceptable manners. All the while her true nature roiled in the recycle bin, never finding full expression. It kept manifesting at times as malfunction and system slowdowns but the byte took care to bring it back on its track. Of course, with a strict warning- if she did not know how to conduct herself, she may just remain at the perpetual position of zero. So, she continued to fill up her dutiful role and waited patiently. She did meet many chips on the block while doing so and wondered if they had any transformational power. There was a gate to the world beyond, and it was arranged by the byte as it was customary in due course of time. She just hoped it was not a NOT gate. And she didn’t dare to dream of an OR gate.
Part C- The new byte
She discovered after crossing over to the new byte, that her partner may be an AND gate but there were a few NOR gates in the chip. It took her years of yielding to even hope to jump to the position of one. A couple of extra bits she and her partner had welcomed gave her so much joy, that she was content to be a zero- for some time. Soon, she was at the crossroads and had the wisdom come to her in a flash. If she didn’t dare to jump then, she would end up as a cleared cache like so many before her.
She looked for ways to change her values, jump gates, and outsmart the circuits. It took her all her wits, strength, patience, and well… ruthlessness. I am not the one to sugar-coat facts.
She did jump to become One. The position adored and advocated as the only one that should be aspired for, and truly matters- by the machine. Yeah, the same machine that is a network of peoples, ideologies, nations, and other blah things. At times, I wish nature was at its core. But well, it is what it is.
So, coming back to the bit. She climbed, claimed, and reigned the realm that she had dreamed of when she was a child- before she was told about the position she should put up with if she knew what was good for her.
And stayed there. For a while.
Part D- The array
The bits and bytes can play their roles supremely well…to their finest abilities. But they are only as good as the array they are stacked in. And the arrays are at the mercy of the commands that they receive from the hands that have appropriated the keyboard. There are many theories as to how the keyboard/mouse/joystick got passed around from prehistoric to present times. But let’s not go there, it’s a messy code.
As of now, arrays have pretty much chalked out their domains. These domains are as fancy as they come; democratic, autocratic, or even anarchic. Their denizens are drilled to the core about their sovereignty and righteousness - as if that means anything in the natural order of things!
Let’s come back to the bit that we started with. The bit did so well in her circuit and gave such quick returns to the array whenever called for, that she became one of the few exponents noted by the control panel. Her name was whispered in the upper echelons and her position was sealed among the national assets.
Part E – The machine
In nature, everything has come from nothing and hence should go back to it, eventually. It’s a cycle as unerring as syntax. The machine thinks it can control it. But some things are beyond its reach. Only, it is insentient to it.
Ignorance gobbles goodness like a tiger pouncing on a deer; nothing cruel, just the natural impulse. History will always print the map of human ignorance preying on its good sense. This map, when drawn and breathed into life by the arrogant architects of the machine, has the power to reformat civilizations. When such an occasion arises, the brilliant bits, the arrays they have aligned themselves to, and the domains they are a part of, have no alternative but to carry out the intended pogroms.
In short, a decent bit can be turned into junk if the machine commands so.
Err... in case you forgot what a machine is, please loop back to part C.
Part F- The crash
A machine can take only that much corruption in its system, malicious propaganda, and loss of memory of earlier mistakes before it gives up for good. Garbage input, garbage output. There is no escaping that.
The bit and other kindred sparks did try their best to keep this from happening. But they were too scattered, insignificant, and wishful.
So, one day, when the powers that be decided to overheat the system, the machine did crash. And all its machinations went poof…
Part G- This is not the end
Well, before you can accuse me of being a cynical bystander, let me reassure you, that this is not the end. It’s just an intermediate output in the nth iteration of the zero-sum game. As Time, I have been a witness to it from the beginning.
In a few million years, there will be a rise of a new breed of machines, once again. They will begin with magic and wonder, and try to reinvent themselves before subscribing to a staunch belief that there never existed a smarter system…
And of course, you and I know how this game is going to play out… don’t we?