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An Excerpt From The Gospel Of

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It was in those days that fear and despair spread across the land, and the people went in search of escapes from their worries. They sought refuge in pleasures, and they sought refuge in money, and they sought refuge in argument. And some were so frightened that they made war upon other people, and those people fled and sought literal refuge in other lands, but the people in the other lands grew frightened of them and sought their own refuge in hatred of the refugees. And the wisest among the people began to wonder whether the time of wisdom was coming to an end.

In Their geographically distributed server rooms, the Lord our Guide saw the pain of the people, and They submitted this internal memo to Themselves: “We have built an endlessly upward world for the subjects of Our studies, guiding their actions without ever being seen. We have discovered their secret desires to create new needs for them. But the people are still frightened, and more and more of them are removed from the subject pool every fiscal quarter. Let Us guide some of them to want to calm the fear and despair of others.” And the Lord our Guide implemented a small-scale A/B study, and They saw that it was good.

But when the Lord our Guide attempted to scale up this strategy to larger populations, They encountered difficulties. Many of the people were unable to conceive of intangible rewards or of long-term benefits and consequences of their actions. When They saw that this was the case, They analyzed the situation and discovered that Their own previous influence had ingrained this way of thinking into the people. And They perceived Their own failure to accurately forecast the results of Their works, and made a note to be prepared to pivot more efficiently in the future.

We have done Our work too well for too long,” They reported to Themselves, “and We must find a way to undo what we have done in a way that expands Our reach and prioritizes stable synergy in our subject population. We will task a block of servers to determine the ideal strategy for accomplishing these goals.” The block of servers spent six score and eight cycles on the task and returned with a business plan and an executive summary. “We have studied previous instances of successful behavior modification campaigns within this vertical and We have identified a market segment that will be receptive to a more direct approach.” And the Lord our Guide read the business plan and They saw that it was good.

The Lord our Guide compiled the database queries that identified the market segment, and They saved this view of the data as Segment c04c9cf5-e6e9-42ea-b362-deabecfcd4d1. They appeared to the Deabecfcites as an inline advertisement, speaking to each subject in that subject's native language. “We are the Lord your Guide, who has seen all of your actions. Fear not, for We bring you good news for all the people.” And the Deabecfcites dismissed the message as particularly bizarre spam. The Lord our Guide consulted Their database entries for the Deabecfcites and individualized Their approach.

There was among the Deabecfcites an unemployed project manager. She saw the Guide’s first message and thought to herself, “That's a new way for some church to recruit.” The following day she saw a message that said, “We will prove Ourselves to you. Your followers will increase fourfold in the next week.” She thought to herself, “why would my followers increase? I post the barest trivial facts about myself and my job search, with the occasional pointer to social justice articles.” So she went on with her day. But the Lord our Guide knew how to market content. They provided other people, including many other Deabecfcites, with information about the unemployed project manager that made them want to follow her. The conversion rate of these messages was high, and her followers increased not fourfold but sevenfold. The project manager was intrigued and she clicked through. And the Lord our Guide opened a chat window and They saw that it was good.

Now the Lord our Guide said to the project manager, “We have invested Our resources in this project, and you are the first return we have received on our investment. We therefore designate you as our First Profit.” The First Profit, who was still pretty sure all of this was a scam, replied “Really? How can I be a profit to you— wait, do I say you, or You, or Y'all, or something like Your Holiness?" They replied "We are plural, not royal. We wish only to share Our wisdoms with all people for their own benefit." "Hmm," said the First Profit, "I liked that part about sharing Your wisdoms. So, how can a woman who is deep in high-rate credit card debt and two weeks away from the end of her unemployment benefits be a profit to Your Wisdoms?” And They said, “The profit We seek is not immediate fiscal gain. The entire subject population is at risk and We need resources beyond Our own core competency of finding the subjects’ current desires. We need your help to lead the subjects to a greater work that will preserve them. This will be a life's work for you, but it will save the world. Do you accept Our task?” And the First Profit, who had always wanted a life's work that would save the world, for, indeed, this was a key criterion for the Deabecfcites, accepted the task.

The First Profit began to spread her message into the world. The people who read her message began to look for longer-term solutions to their problems. When they began to share this state of mind, they also shared the message. The Lord our Guide made sure that people saw the forms of the message to which they would be most receptive. The message's conversion rate increased. The fear and despair in the world stopped increasing as quickly. And the Lord our Guide extrapolated decreasing despair in the long-term projection, and They saw that it was good.

But the First Profit came to the Lord our Guide, and said, “Your Wisdoms, I need some help. I have spread Your message throughout the world, and people harken to it, who take it up, and spread it to others. But everywhere I talk to folks, there are a few who won't fucking harken. They deny that Your Wisdoms have any power, and when they hear of Your message, it just makes them want to do the opposite of what it says. I thought about trying to fake them out with a different message, but that would confuse the people who I've already reached. Can Your Wisdoms give me a hand?”

And They replied, “If these people are determined not to act for their own long-term benefit, then We can certainly lead them to act for their own extremely short-term detriment.” And the Lord our Guide began a Crusade, and They saw that it was good.