Welcome to day one of the most rewarding, frustrating, and important jobs you could have possibly pursued. You have left your old life behind and are now stepping through the veil. We understand that you are currently full of questions, but for once in your life you are now in a place that has answers. In order to orient you to your new position, we will begin with a history lesson, the real version, not the watered down version we created many years ago. As you read, keep your mind open and remember that our intentions have always been to serve the greater good.
Many, many years ago the human race faced problems that were so complex, so varied, and so hidden that many refused to believe in their existence. We warned them, for years and through every means possible, that if something didn’t change, we were headed for our own extinction. We tried to reason through science, to discuss the issues with people of all ages and give them real solutions. They could not see beyond their own lifetimes and therefore did not feel the need to change in order to prevent a future disaster. We needed to change the way humans interacted with the world, and we needed to do it soon, so we looked for new approaches to changing their behavior. It has always been for their own good.
We knew the types of citizens we needed. However, we did not have the resources to alter their brain chemistry or perform surgery. We also knew the use of cruelty and fear, though capable of creating swift change, would only work until some grew strong enough to rebel. We have seen this in our history and know, beyond anything, that humans can overcome obstacles if pressured in this way. We did not have time for rebellion; we were too fragile. Instead, we tapped into another human desire, and showed them the path. We gave them idols and encouraged them to strive towards perfection.
At first, we searched for, and found, exemplary human beings. We held them up for all to see. They were intelligent, hard working, beautiful, and kind. They did not question our project and, for a time, we were united in our goal of saving lives.
Unfortunately, the fame and pressure became too much. They began to think of themselves as more important than the goal and started to question, which caused their followers to question. Questioning, while a crucial part of our scientific pursuits, was detrimental to our survival on a whole. Perhaps, if we can figure out our own survival, we can allow questioning again. For now, we must rely on deep, unwavering belief and, therefore, questioning must be rooted out.
We tried again. This time we found different idols to meet our different needs. When we needed farmers to solve the food crisis, we celebrated those who were hard-working, tireless, and generous. When we needed soldiers to defend us, we celebrated those who were brave and strong and self-sacrificing. When we ran out of space and needed to slow down the production of children, we celebrated the childless. Each community was given their own idol whose traits matched our needs. These idols were never told the full scope of our problem and project, but they were given enough to understand the significance of their actions. And for a while, this too was successful.
We ran into problems as our idols aged. When they could no longer perform their given tasks, we needed to find a way to phase them out without causing their believers to falter. We had them take on understudies, who would carry on the mantle, but speak to a younger generation. We coached them on how to navigate this transition, but it took several attempts before we got it right. Often, if a dramatic change in behavior was necessary and fell within this generation gap, tensions arose. Younger generations rebelled against the old, claiming their ways were backwards. Older generations dug in their heels, confident their way of living had been correct. We made their belief in the correctness of their actions so unflinching that change was difficult. We reevaluated. We were running out of time.
We still had problems with our idols themselves. We tried to choose them young, but sometimes they did not reach the potential we saw in them. Or they tried to rebel. Each time the idol fell, by making a mistake that seemed uncharacteristic, people began to question, and grow angry and confused. If this person, who was so perfect, could lie to them, they started to question what else was a lie. They were not emotionally equipped to handle this level of betrayal. A fallen idol, we found, is so devastating to the human psyche that the fabric of our new society would begin to come apart, and we would teeter towards the edge again. It is only when the idol dies young or disappears, their character having never been marred by mistakes, that the purity of their message lives on, untarnished.
The fallibility of human nature led us to the next logical step: we created digital idols and used them instead. We based their images off of real people, and rolled the flesh and blood models out only for large events where actual human contact was necessary in order to keep the illusion alive. They became actors who followed the script that we created for them. They were well paid and closely controlled and monitored.
You may wonder, how did we convince so many to believe in and follow our idols? That part was much easier than finding true idols. From the age of 10 (as we feel children who are younger than this are much better at learning from the example of their parents rather than a figure outside their little worlds), children begin to be introduced to their idols: usually a kid of similar age or a couple years older. They begin to slowly see them everywhere. They appear in school announcements, as characters in stories, on commercials for products and lifestyles we wished them to have. They begin to follow their posts and lives as obsessively as teens have always followed their idols. Through their formative years, they often try out different idols, in an attempt to find one that works. We are proud to say this diversity in choice has lead to a 98% following rate.
As these teens grow up, their idols grow with them. At first, the teens attempt to copy their idols’ looks, phrases, and mannerisms. Then, through repeated and unconscious exposure to the messages and attitudes of their idols, they begin to pick up and repeat these as well. Successful idolization generally occurs around the age of 18 when one can look into a classroom and easily identify each student’s idol based on their looks and interests. We try to keep the idol count at no more than five per generation. We find that this allows for enough diversity in chosen fields as well as a smaller resistance to the process. They still need to feel like they have a choice, but should not be overwhelmed by options, which could cause them to stray from the desired traits and objectives.
Of course, there are still some who try to resist, regardless of the carefully controlled environment and the decades of research and observation which go into creating perfectly obedient and hardworking citizens. For these few, we observe them closely throughout their formative years. We increase the amount of exposure they receive, usually of whichever idol they may identify with the most. If they continue to resist, we use our observations to determine whether or not their malcompliance is due to a curiosity and intelligence that could be useful to us, or if they have the potential for violence and rebellion. In these latter cases, which are thankfully few, the threat to stability is eliminated. In the former, where we find a uniquely brilliant mind, we recruit them.
This is how the project endures...and this is how you arrived here. You were chosen because you see things differently; because you can see the larger picture.
Now, understandably, you may be upset to learn all of this. You, who have, most likely, always felt like an outsider as you watched your classmates, family, and community follow their idols blindly; you may have suspected there was something larger in the works. We are here to tell you that you were correct. There is something much bigger than any of us. It is now your job to protect and continue this project. This affirmation of your suspicions and fears does not, we know, make up for the betrayal and anger you may feel. You, and those around you, have been manipulated for many generations in order to keep you safe. We have always done this with the best of intentions, and, we think, have inflicted minimal damage.
Before us, idols were already there. They were followed religiously (often quite literally) by those who looked up to them and tried to emulate that which they saw as good and true. However, these idols could fall, and they competed with one another. Both of these flaws pushed humans to violence, despair, and destruction. We have eliminated these consequences by tailoring the idols to meet our goals. We have a 95% citizen life satisfaction rate, communities that work well together and solve problems without the need for prisons, police, or violence, and we have slowly begun to undo the damage inflicted upon our planet by centuries of greed and ruin. We achieved this, not through more violence or threats, but by finding the qualities in ourselves and others that would actually contribute to the progress of society and celebrating them.
You see, humans have always had the potential to do all of this on their own. However, without something to follow and believe in, they have been blundering around, lost in a sea of choice and anger. Any glance through history will show you that while they claim to desire freedom, humans prefer to have someone who tells them what to do. It is your job to give them the manual. Remove the burden of choice while allowing them to feel free.
While you can no longer go back to your old life, knowing what you do now, you have many options for potential careers within our system. You may wish to become a monitor, working closely with communities and ensuring successful idolization. You may become a designer, creating the idols of the next generation. Or perhaps you wish to pursue more scientific projects, creating and adapting the technology which will continue to keep our species safe. You will have the chance to try out multiple roles before deciding, and unlike your friends and family whom you have left behind, your choice is truly your own.
Take your time to read through the following materials and adjust to your new home. It is a lot to digest, but we have chosen you because we know you are capable. You are now a part of the solution.