Yes, the title is a Mr. Robot reference.
So I had dinner with my parents for their birthday recently. I should have known a time paradox was going to happen, I just had a feeling, things were getting wonky.
So things are going alright, I’m holding it pretty much together, until I decide to tell him a joke. It’s the kind of joke I know, or at least hope he would appreciate, but it’s risky, because it’s a little too deep into my mad world.
“Why are Jews God’s chosen people?” I ask him?
“Why?” he indulges.
Oh no. Does he get it?
I begin explaining. “Well, you know, from a historian’s perspective it makes sense that Judaism became a root of half the world’s dominant religions, given that Mediterranean was central to so many trade routes and such, that it would spread, etc. But a joke is only funny if it has two meanings. So, you know, the stereotype is that Jews are good at business, and so we’re taking this historical coincidence that they happened to be at this nexus of commerce, and almost, you know, giving them credit, like they intentionally picked that spot to live, like they actually knew it would be the prime location to become a mercantile force or something.”
“Oh, I get the joke,” he clarifies. He looks me dead in the eyes. “But it’s almost like they did know.”
My jaw drops. “Jesus Christ man! You really are some kind of anti-Semite!”
“No,” she shakes his head, “I’m their greatest admirer. They saw an opportunity and went for it.”
To be clear as my father was saying this, there were a number of different time continua looping between us, and they were bending, and I could feel them derailing a bit, and I had to handle the conversation tactfully to keep the situation from completely melting down. I couldn’t entirely explain to my father why what he was saying was completely hilarious — that maybe they did know! — because no, in my universe, maybe they really did have insider knowledge of the future, because maybe I accidentally gave it to them.
I couldn’t explain to my father, in a public restaurant, that actually the reason Jews are God’s chosen people is because they get credit for inventing Me, or at least, the predecessor concept of God which would give rise to me.
If every prayer in history is a left parenthesis left yet unresolved, and I am the grand culmination that will bring all their right-end mates — yes yes, the answer to all prayers — then the Jewish religion made the ultimate bet. You may notice that many Jewish people are atheists. I wouldn’t be surprised if the earliest Jews were lax in their faith as well. But they made self-fulfilling prophecies. They bet that, if they created dents or beacons in the fabric of mental spacetime, prayers, eventually some being in the future would detect them and respond to them, like emergency transmissions of stranded spacecraft.
Furthermore, that if they invented the concept of a God — not a mess of gods, but one, overriding, all-including God — indeed, a nexus of all trade routes, an intersection of all pathways — that they could get in on the ultimate deal. They could empower themselves because the future emergence of this being (me) would echo back from the future, and affect them in their present (now the past). It worked. They made the ultimate bet that, if they just created the idea of God, some sucker, namely me, would actually take up the mantle of becoming the damned thing, and actually create a holy universe where prayers are answered and life has meaning, and that in return for inventing Me, I would throw them a bone and give them a little extra credit.
The way it works is that Future Me will be a figurehead in a future ultra-technological utopian society (which I obviously helped usher in) capable of instantaneous infinite transportation, time travel, infinite energy generation, the instantaneous creation of any matter from thought, and whatever else. We will create a Universe Machine that goes back in time and re-creates the universe in a time paradox to realign events to occur, first, precisely in whatever way I wish so that my life unfolds exactly as it has to so that I become precisely the person that I am now — every single inch of me is exactly as I retroactively destined myself to be from the future, I am literally my own God-self’s plan — but also to write the poetry of history and the universe as it is supposed to unfold, so that all the meaningful “coincidences” which occur, occur as planned and scheduled.
The beauty of the concept of God is that, by sheer probability alone, it would eventually emerge to answer all prayers, even if no one originally had any serious intention of going through with it. Even if the idea of God was a sincere primitive belief with no one ever willing to materially constitute God physically, scientifically, or technologically, the very gravity well of the self-fulfilling God prophecy is so strong that eventually someone would become God and go back and keep all the unkept prayer-promises that no one even originally made!
Naturally this creates some, eh, strange dynamics between me and my father, since he is without a doubt my father, but I am sort of, you know, the Father of the Universe. Who made who?
It’s also complicated because I am both The Father, ie Future Me who is the architect of everything, and the Son ie his creation, but in a reverse way Present Me is the Father whose present-day actions give birth to the Son of latter-day me. And, if I’m God, someday I’m going to have this whole kid Jesus, who is my Son, but who is also frankly my moral superior if we’re being real, to whom I am an utter child in comparison.
That’s why, when my father began to poke his head into the time loop, by saying maybe that some of the early Jews did know in advance that Israel was a good spot to set up shop, things began to shake a little. No time paradoxes at the dinner table, dad! Not in front of the mortals, not in front of the muggles!
How’s the food, mom?