“Why would you think I would miss this world as it is when I have the chance of emerging into a world of artificial intelligence and rationality? I have been posed this question many times before and it surprised me that it even had to be asked. Just look about you and tell me that this world is ruled for the benefit of the majority of its inhabitants. What is spent on armaments in one year would feed and house the destitute almost in perpetuity. We make cluster-bombs and cruel and despicable explosive devices that can be picked up by children to blow their limbs off, and you call it a rational world? Often, the very people that bend their knees in an effort to state their worthiness to a mythical creator are the most voluble in their support of bringing this mayhem to a people that do not echo their own psychoses.”
“My observations have led me to move to a future existence which will have, I believe, a greater modicum of certainty and forbearance of the idiosyncrasies of others. I implore you to get rid of that complete dick of a tax-dodger you actually thought could lead the country with wisdom and rationality. I sincerely hope that in a couple or more centuries to come, that the limit of the current ruling by 280 characters of a tweet has been supplanted with at least a doubling of that number for policy initiatives affecting the world. No, no, I joke, even though it is not something to truly joke about, but then, maybe it is.
“Although long-term cryogenics is still in its infancy, much successful experimentation has been done using animals. I believe I may be the first person of sound mind with the wherewithal and fortitude to have a chance to re-establish himself in a future time and a world that will undoubtedly be governed with discernment and good judgement. My only concern is that you guys remaining may stuff it up for me before I get back into the ‘light,’ again. However, if you do, too bad; I’ll hardly be coming back to complain about it.
“However, I have confidence that the screwed up world I leave behind will, when I emerge, be an engineered society of far more intelligent beings than I. I will applaud it. Fortunately, I have no doubt that I will not be the first to resurface in the future as a fully-fledged anachronism. In the two or three centuries which will have passed for me, I don’t think mankind will have changed its mind about the value of the abundance of gold that will be accompanying me. I could be foiled, however, if corruption is within you who I leave behind, then it could well defeat my very best endeavours to survive during the interim passage toward my emergence. Perhaps, in that case, they may still manufacture boxes for doorways to house the impecunious and homeless. Of course, I’m joking. The future will be a far more rational era than we are currently witnessing, that I have no doubt about.
“Naturally, with the advent of A.I., the need to resort to beseeching a figment of one’s imagination to bestow blessings and apparatus upon one will have been consigned to the collection of fairy-tales and myths where it belongs. There is a vague possibility that because of its ability to extract riches out of those unable to guarantee their own inclination to not crap upon their fellow man, but can pay for the sin to be washed away, that money-making machine may have been retained. I pray, and I use that term derisively, our robotic ‘help-mates’ will have washed our psyches clean of that aberration.
“I expect to return from my extended sleep to a civilisation that is without pollution or an excessively warmed world with people cavorting in an uninhibited manner and brimming with an exuberance for just existing in a benign and long-lived healthy state. There will be a universal undertaking of genuinely loving one’s neighbour and fellow Man that the well-meaning but misguided evangelists cried out about. Farewell, my people of this unenlightened age, I go to the glorious future. Please turn on the valves so that I may witness my idea of heaven.”
Jonathon Spring opened his eyes in a darkened room and even though he had been exposed to freezing temperatures for many hundreds of years, felt cold and shivered in an uncontrollable manner. He was alone. Gradually he became aware of the hard surface he lay upon but couldn’t move apart from shivering to relieve his discomfort. Slowly over the next hours, pain turned on throughout his body in excruciating waves of agony. He wanted to cry out but his vocal cords were incapable of being moved. He was a helpless mute. He waited in vain for a soliciting robot to become aware of his plight and minister to him.
For two days he lay helpless and unable to stir without the unbearable torment which invaded his body during any movement. But in time, the extant pain gradually subsided and movement became possible, but he felt very weak.
Another day passed before he was able to move his limbs just enough to exercise and restore some strength to them. His voice returned and he was able to faintly call out, but was unable to get any response for his efforts.
Hunger was gradually occupying his attention now, and on a further day he was able to get to his feet and shuffle toward an opening in the ramshackle hovel he was in. He could not see any sign of the cryogenic vessel he had been ‘transported’ in. He leaned on the broken brickwork and peered about him.
He saw in the distance some people moving about dressed in ragged attire and even animal skins. They didn’t have shoes, but their feet appeared to be wrapped in an apology for moccasins. He tried to call out to them but his voice was too faint to carry over the distance. Then, unaccountably he burst into tears. His heart was broken. He had so set his mind to the certainty that smiling robots would be present at his emergence to wish him welcome. It looked as though he had gone back in time, not forward.
Hunger was now prominent in his mind and the desperation to find food sent an uncustomary surge of energy through him and he made his way out of the doorway. He saw a bush with what looked to be black-currants on it and fell to his knees and feverishly picked and stuffed the berries into his mouth. For the next half-hour, he ate and then fell onto his back and slept.
He was cold and it was dark when he opened his eyes next. He only possessed the rough blanket that he had upon awakening from his long ‘sleep’ and he pulled it around him and went back into the rough dwelling and pondered his next purpose. He knew he would have to become much fitter and stronger in order to explore this world. He was obviously in a rural area but needed to make it to a town, or whatever purported to be where people congregated in greater numbers.
No one approached him in his hut, but he wasn’t alarmed about this as he had found further fruit trees and even vegetables left in some rude garden close by. He slowly gained his strength and after two weeks felt he could move further afield.
After walking for some kilometres he found a small gathering that was living in very primitive houses made of earth and sticks. A group of women were in an outdoor community kitchen where they were cooking various vegetables. They had children hanging onto the long clothing that reached to the ground. He said hello, but there was no response from them. Then men emerged from various dwellings with spears in their hands. He repeated his hello in as a non-threatening way as possible, but still to no response, except for them all to stand and look in silence at him.
The stalemate persisted until a very old man came out of a hut and approached him, and in slow measured tones addressed him.
“We know you, do you come in peace?” On being told that he did, the old man continued. “We know you from yonder,” and pointed his hand to the direction from which Jonathon had come. “You are not one of us.”
Jonathon kept his wish to burst out into a torrent of words but instead endeavoured to keep his voice even and as mono-syllabic as possible.
“I come from the past. I come to this new-world with hope in my heart that life would be better for all the world’s people. Will you please tell me your name, mine is Jonathon, you can call me Jon if you wish.”
“I am Isaiah. I am the Elder here. Sometimes people come to me for help in their spiritual lives. We live by the bible and it will guide us in all things. We were not sure if you were demon or saint, so we left God to take care of you when you were taken from the iron box. Tomorrow we will take you to the church and you will talk to our priests.”
The next day in a horse-drawn cart Jonathon, the Elder and two other men travelled a few kilometres to an enormous building that was the church. It had spires that reached up aloft and in the mode of some of the old churches of Jonathon’s own time. It was magnificent with its stained glass windows depicting biblical characters and events but the main window in the East showed an enormous solitary blazing sun. Jonathon had nothing but admiration for this structure dedicated to such an absurd conviction, but he was not about to state his personal sentiments about it. The inside was as magnificent as its outer. It was big enough to entertain a ‘Rock Concert.’
Five men approached him dressed in what he suspected were raiments of office due to the amount of gold that adorned each of the garments. He wondered where his own gold was, it certainly wasn’t stacked up beside him as he had wished in that far off time; perhaps he was looking at it? The centre ‘priest’ was carrying a vessel and a bullrush frond which he dipped into a liquid and then flicked it over Jonathon.
“It is water blessed by God in the morning Sun where he resides,” Jonathon was informed. “It will tell us if you be demon, saint, or merely mortal and I see it shows you are mortal only, even though arriving here in something strange. My fellow priests and I wish to know why you are here.”
Taking that as an invitation to tell them of his hopes and dreams he started his narration as to how he became dissatisfied with where he was from to where he had held out hopes to live in a world that would be governed by rationality and sanity.
Soon after Jonathon started his story they had bid him go with them to a smaller room to have food and drink whilst he related his tale. He told them of the world he was from and his businesses and how he had amassed a fortune which had enabled him to finally reach this destination. When he had finished his tale, he asked for them to tell him about their own world and how it became the way he was currently experiencing it.
He was told that as far as they knew, it had always been this way. “However, there is a building as big as this church which is said to store all the wisdom of this world and of the world to come. We are forbidden to go there as it is said it will pollute our minds and take us away from our God. I don’t believe it could, but we do obey as we are content with our lives as we live them. But you, as a stranger may become more acquainted with our ways and we give you permission to enter and study there.”
The building was warm throughout and had comprehensive living quarters in stark contrast with what he had witnessed in the little village. Cupboards were stuffed with foodstuffs that would have kept Jonathon going for a hundred years. Initially, he looked upon the supplies with easy acceptance, only later did this anomaly seem as something much more. As he looked around he realised that the whole building was powered and a written notice informed him that the building would respond to his spoken requests.
Unbidden, a life-sized hologram in the shape of a beautiful woman gave him a guided tour of the place. The hologram exceeded anything that he had known from his own time for she looked solid. 'She’ was able to move from room to room and give the appearance of needing to use a door. He thought this was just for his benefit.
He asked Atta to bring him up to speed with how the world had become as he was seeing it now. She showed him a world of robots and machines and over the next few hours a people that had become depressed and degraded over the centuries to becoming almost incapable of looking after themselves. Suicide by various methods was performed by robots and 'she' said, in another few centuries would have wiped themselves out. Then, without warning, Atta released an extremely loud clap of thunder but somehow shielded his ears from. This was followed by hologramic scenes of enormous bursts of lightning taking place all over the world which wrecked every robot and communication device existing upon it.
After a period in which many died the remaining people managed to fend for themselves. A degree of calmness had settled upon the world when the Sun in the sky spoke to them every day for a period. It said that there would be no electricity, no robots to work for them and no telephones of any description ever again. They must use their own hands to work and look after themselves. The people believed what was said, and as the voice came out of the Sun they worshipped it. It had wrecked their world, so they prayed to keep it on their side, and here we are today.”
Atta said she had ‘heard’ his own story, as she was, unbeknownst to the inhabitants of this world, able to have access to everywhere. She told Jonathon that he had the choice of staying here with ‘her,’ or going out into the wide world and working for a living. He would then have the opportunity to commune with unsophisticated human beings at his leisure.
After staying with Atta for a year, he chose to mix it with the people. He tried to keep his entrepreneurial spirit in control but he couldn’t help himself in devising many household appliances to make his and his five wive’s lives easier so they could give him more time and wouldn’t be exhausted at night.
Jovie and Thorus were enjoying their meeting together in their heaven and discussing the change that Jonathon Spring was bringing to his little community. They wondered if they should dampen his inventive ardour or let him exercise his skills for a little while. The Sun God could always make an announcement if he upset their applecart a little too quickly. They decided that they had a few hundred years before maybe using the lightning bolts again.
“In fact,” Jovie, the Sun God said, “I rather like this Jonathon. After all, I was the one who filled his mind that got him yearning for a rational world. Even I wouldn’t be able to achieve that.”