01 Feb I participated in a Social Credit System experiment: My Year in the Simulation Part 3
It is present in the simplest, single celled organism. It is the root of all evolution. It is the reason for our top spot in the hierarchy of species on earth. Without it, humans would have become extinct long ago. It is there when you quickly search for the light switch in a dark room. It was there when you were young and you imagined a stranger’s hand coming from under your bed at night. And it waits there, inside your mind, for the next time you need to escape from danger.
Fear is the true source of the human’s drive to survive; fear of starvation, fear of disease, fear of insanity, fear of death. Fear is the primal force behind our success on this planet. But sometimes fear becomes desensitized, and you no longer recognize the danger around you…
Here you are, feeling safe as you experience my story through the comfort of your electronic device. Everything you need is quite literally at the tip of your fingers. But as you stare at your screen, know that it is staring back at you. Something inside it, is monitoring the things you’re looking at. You’ve made surveillance very easy for them. The next natural step is without a doubt evaluation of the data that is being monitored. And then, one day, full scope surveillance will have become a way of life. Rating humans will be ubiquitous. And you will have thought it was all to keep you in a safe society. You will believe them when they tell it is for your own good. But hear me out: social credit systems will end the humanity that exists within us. Fear this… so that you may survive it.
As much as any government of the world would love to have you believe otherwise, all social credit systems will work with fear because humans respond to it. It’s embedded in our genes. In the simulation, we quickly learned to have many, many fears. Fear of not being considered trustworthy, fear of not being viewed as a reliable person, fear of associating with the wrong crowd, fear of not being able to dine at the best restaurants. And for those whose fear of these things weren’t enough, for those who fell below the acceptable social credit score…
Blazefigures. The embodiment of fear itself.
Blazefigures fabricate a world of distress that is so unique, that it’s almost fascinating. Almost. Blazefigures are diabolical entities that were created to force you into being better within the simulation. These entities were shaped like men, but lacked all other features. Instead, their bodies burned with a constant fire, as if they were humanoid torches. The heat their bodies emitted was strong enough to saturate all the sensory receptors of your skin with painful burns, even from a distance. And if the burning pain wasn’t enough, a black, oval-shaped hole opened where their face should be, and from that hole came blood-curdling howls that echoed in the most unearthly, panic inducing tones. But the scariest part was their ability to enter your mind, your thoughts. You start to wonder, at one point, if it’s you thinking, or if it’s them thinking. Their visions dipped you into a world of hysteria and psychosis.
The afternoon I decided to confront the people at Osiris by going on a tirade in front of the central office was the beginning of the end for me. When I first saw the Blazefigure, I wanted to run from it. But when I heard it speaking inside my mind, I knew there was no running away. I knew I had to take the Dumoxx if I ever wanted to be myself again. I vaguely remember making my way back to the clinic in a panic, barely able to catch my breath, barely holding onto my last bit of sanity I had left. Upon taking the Dumoxx, all my thoughts came tumbling down into a mellow, relaxed state. This state lasted for a long while. I don’t remember a lot from that period in my life. I became a soulless corpse; walking around, listening to and doing everything the simulation asked from me, including hurting others.
But soon enough, it wore off and I regained my consciousness. It was only then that I was able to remember taking the Dumoxx and realizing it tasted like a more intense flavor of the food they fed us. But at this point, I was too afraid to confront anyone at Osiris about it. I decided I would slowly figure out how to leave the simulation entirely.
I had lost my job at the clinic and instead been given a job at the local ice cream parlor, which is where I met her. Participant 999. She had come in for an ice cream cone. She was allowed to purchase anything she desired due to her very high social credit score. She was even allowed to have the ice cream sundae that had the eatable gold dust. But that is not what I admired most about her… every single time she came in, she had a genuine smile on her face. I missed those so much. Her smile made me feel real again. One day, on a whim, I asked her if we could hang out and to my surprise, she agreed in spite of my low Level 2 score.
“Look, I’m willing to talk about this place with you. I mean, you can lose points here and there by discussing the defects of the simulation as long as you make up for it in big numbers. And there’s a lot you can do to regain those big numbers. It’s fairly easy,” she explained, on our first day hanging out together.
“So you hurt people?” I asked, “Because that’s the only thing I can see happening right now in this place.”
“I mean, you’re not really hurting them per se. Yeah, maybe you’re emotionally or in some cases physically hurting them, but it’s only to help them out. A little push, a little fear can help them become better members of society… and well, it’s all about survival,” she explained.
I must have looked at her with disgust because she seemed shocked at my reaction.
“What?” She scuffed, “Look, don’t be naive. Outside of this fucked up place exists another fucked up place. The world is exactly the same out there. The only difference is that here you get rewarded for making people listen to the government. What do you think bad credit is in the real world? Why do you think some people have access to better education than others? What do you think being a certain color of skin is in the real world? What do you think prison is? In the real world, we are all constantly rated at work, at school, on the sidewalks. Here, we’re just putting a number to it and rewarding it. And soon, the same will happen out there in the real world. It’s only natural,” she explained with a fiery passion.
“So, what are you saying?” I asked.
“Look, I’m not stupid. I’ve been investigating this place from the second I got here. I don’t like people screwing me over so I had to be sure that I wasn’t getting kidnapped by a messed up cult,” she laughed, “But no. This place is the real deal. Without going into too much detail because I can’t lose too many points…This system will be successful in the real world because it pushes society to be better through public shaming. And more importantly, the system can be easily enforced thanks to a constantly evolving algorithm. Osiris is in its early stages, but soon, it’ll do much more than just pick up on words and facial expressions.”
“Well, I don’t know if you’ve been paying any attention around here but it’s obvious that Osiris’s algorithm is becoming more advanced. I’m assuming the purpose is for it to be able to decipher the meaning of every single human word, human expression, human action, human interaction and to use all of that to form a nation of “good”, “reliable”, zombie-like humans that follow the government’s every rule. And for those who don’t?” She sliced her throat with her finger.
“Shit,” I said, “What about time? Have you noticed that time is different here?”
“Yes. I have. Have you ever tried counting time inside this place. Try it for one day. You’ll be in for a surprise. But I don’t mind it… life is good to me here. I’m assuming they’re trying to stretch out the time in order to fine-tune Osiris. Anyway, I think that’s enough loss of points for me for one day. I gotta go because I’ve got people to bully into being better!” She jokingly said, smiling with another one of her genuine smiles.
I spent a lot of time learning from participant 999. She was very knowledgeable about the system and very fun to be around. We would go to the park, to the movies, to restaurants. It was hard because she was Level 5 and I was Level 2 so we could only go to the low level places that I was accepted to. But she didn’t seem to mind. During our time together, we never cared about the points. We were just ourselves and it was amazing. The simulation was starting to feel like not such a bad place after all. But, like I’ve mentioned before, good things seem to never last very long.
One day, as I was walking triple 9 home, something happened. There was a man screaming at something invisible on the sidewalk; something we couldn’t see. The hairs on my skin stood as I realized that I knew what he was looking at. It was them. The Blazefigures.
“We need to help him,” I said to triple 9.
“But we can’t. I can’t. I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve lost many points today for being with you,” she smiled, this time sporting a fake smile that showed sorrow.
“Okay. Go home. I’ll do it,” I quickly replied.
“No. If you help him, you will go below the danger zone in seconds… and a second time with the visions is deadly.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do,” she answered, finally losing her smile, “you deserve to get out of here. Anyway, I know how to get my points back if I help him.”
“Are you going to kill someone?” I asked, worried.
She shook her head and said, “No. Just trust me and leave this to me.”
I pretended to trust her. I pretended to walk away but I hid behind a tree and watched her from far away. She grabbed the tortured man and walked him to the clinic as he howled in pain and in fear. She tried to smile, but could barely keep the muscles of her mouth from falling into a frown. I saw the lingering bit of humanity she still had inside her. I saw her walk into the clinic with him, holding his hand. After ten minutes, she came back out. She sighed, looking up at the sky. And then a large smile spread across her face, almost as if she had purposely rebooted her mind into getting ready for something else. I followed her home as I wanted to stop her from doing something she would regret some day… but before I realized what her true plan had been, she stopped on the sidewalk and said out loud for everyone around her to hear,
“I am Participant 999. I fully believe in the social credit system and I’ve committed a crime by helping out a dissident of the system. Therefore, I need to learn to be better. This is for the system!”
And with that, she pulled a scalpel out from her pocket that she must have taken from the clinic. She violently stabbed her arm one time. And then another time. And then stabbed her leg. And then sliced her hand. And as she fell to the ground, blood pouring out from all of her self inflicted wounds, everyone around her smiled. Some even clapped for her dedication to the social credit system.
I’m certain she believed she would survive her wounds. I’m certain she believed that stabbing her limbs as opposed to stabbing her torso was less dangerous. I’m certain she wasn’t suicidal. But when you’re exposed to large amounts of violence, you forget that violence is real and that it can kill. She could not have known that she tore through her brachial artery as she stabbed her arm over and over again. She could not have known any of this because she had been completely brainwashed. She had become a robot of the system. I immediately called the OSG for help through my wrist device and then ran out to her. I grabbed her in my arms as she said her last words,
“Be good, be kind, and all will be—”
The reason a social credit system is functional for a government, is because it creates an organic surveillance by brainwashing its citizens to act as the system. And the thing is… all social credit systems are sadistic. They enjoy rating and punishing humans. And if humans become employees of the system, they become the same; sadistic, and in some cases, masochistic slaves of a government who rates its citizens.
They say fear is what helped us evolve into the superior species that we are. They say fear is essential for survival. I understand all of this. But you must also know that fear can play tricks with your mind. It can distort your memories. It can alter your perception of reality. It can physically damage your brain, thereby causing you to do horrible, terrible, unforgivable things. And governments, they know this. They know that they can use the power of fear in such a subtle way, that you’ll believe that everything you do is your choice. And then one day, you will be standing over a dead body and believe that you chose to kill, that you chose to lose your humanity…
But hear me well, humanity is a danger to governments and they know it. And we must save it at all costs.