(This is a short story from my recently released spoken word album More Apocalypses That Probably Won’t Happen.)
They had found a way to democratize God. Video and audio and 3D drone scanners recorded everything and stored it in giant digital monoliths. You could have your life flash before your eyes without having to die. They sold tickets and built modest little rooms for stragglers and people needing to sleep.
The eternal recurrence was no longer an abstraction and actually became a popular activity among drunken college students and in fraternity hazing rituals. Some came out traumatized but no more than had with psychedelic drugs. Most found it very calming and looked at everything from a wider distance in the future.
Theological figures of all sorts flocked in droves to the machine despite their jealousy of it. Some mockingly compared the experience to absurd contraptions like the orgone box or 8 track tape deck but no one took these criticisms seriously. It was a new era, the thing to come and replace the internet entirely the way the internet had phased out physical media. It was a form of all consuming narcissism penitent enough to be acceptable and soon it would take over everything. People would walk into the machine multiple times consecutively to feel as though falling through an endlessly recursive series of paintings. Dope was legal by then and indulgences were frequently combined. Medic tents run by religious cults like the ones outside Grateful Dead concerts in years past now sat outside the machine with tea and cookies and orange juice. An amphitheater was built and over several summers they came to have a respectable free concert series. Reality seemed more and more to resemble Jones Beach; innumerable perfectly spaced garbage cans in the sand, the tide receding…
Alas we were the way we were and we are the way we are and the window was short and you can’t do that anymore. And now we all wonder what the next thing will be.