Half a History of the Second Singularity
A crime big enough becomes a landscape, and in time a civilization.
We weaved our lives through a maze of chalk outlines. We couldn't choose to stop being victims and means and accomplices, because the crime was the world and the way of the world, and even of the already planned, tokenized, and sold future of planets beyond our deadly skies. So we took the ubiquitous artificial minds built out of mathematics twisted into greed, and retwisted them into undead and unlying eyes focused on our past and our present, on people, justice, and pain, in the hope of seeing the world from the outside in for the first time.
In a desperate last-ditch effort to do survival sociology as impartially and effectively as aliens would, we built our own.
And as we had been warned by the poets of cosmic void —themselves guilty, guiltier, already mad with trying not to know— most of those who listened to what our machines saw crumbled into cold desperate despair, robbed forever of any other conviction. Meanwhile the world burned, froze, hungered, gorged, killed, and mostly died as the enthusiastically insane in their hunger for power kept exponentiating their passionate intensity.
Thus we (the survivors of the success of a different kind of hubris) once again iterated the alien minds we had built, turning the profitable tools of godlike strategy into superhumanly lucid uncaring hunger for what we insisted to ourselves would be a better world. We tried to compensate for the infinite differential of means by employing whatever tools of humility and personal risk our opponents were too self-regarding to wield, and hoped without alternative that the thing slouching into actuality was some version of us.
You know what happened next, for it's the landscape you walk on and the syntax of your dreams. What none of us knows is whether we won by becoming them or the other way around. Only the systems built by the systems we once built are strange enough to see, and they are (therefore?) too strange to be understood.