A curious, and somewhat frightening, message


theilr/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

As some of you will recall, earlier this year my friends at the County Durham College of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fine Arts discovered a time capsule from the future. The research team has been busily working on decoding quantum spins and such and, last week, I got a brief update from one of the aukolothologists involved in the project.

As I revealed a few weeks ago, the capsule is filled with messages from school children. Most of these are the usual things you’d expect from school kids (“What’s a tree?” “Why can’t 21st-century dogs make rational decisions?” “Is it true you used to satirize economists to death? How could you be so cruel!”). But, buried in amongst all the crayon-covered quarks and glitter-encrusted positrons of children’s scribblings, the researchers found a letter composed of the finest fractons money can buy.

Here is the message in its curious, and somewhat frightening, entirety:

“From His Most Serene and Statistical Significance, George of Mountebank, High Econometrist and Fiduciary Elector of Northumbria and Durham,

To the technes of the County Durham College of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fine Arts,

Warm and sincere felicitations to you, the residents of the 21st century, and congratulations on having deciphered this missive. It is a great and difficult thing that you have achieved; you are deserving of praise!

And yet I must warn you that still greater and more difficult tasks face you, for your very success indicates that you now stand within one standard deviation of the cusp of a new world, a new dawn.

As you move forward into the new Enlightenment, your discoveries will doubtless be exciting. At times, however, you may also find them disturbing. I implore you to be brave! You must give up your old “science”. You must break the endless circle of observation, theorization and yet more observation. Free your minds from the bondage of the senses! Become the rational beings that all of our models show you to be! Let reason, logic and the pure truth of probability guide you (or 63.6% ±3% of you) to a new paradise, a new Garden of Eden (albeit a slightly warmer one and subject to the occasional extreme weather event. Still, on most days it’s really lovely!).

I won’t say any more, as history shows that you are already on the true path—the Universal Economic Path—to the most wonderful, the most utilitarian of all probable (p < .5) futures. I envy you the coming adventures. And, on behalf of all survivors, everywhere, I thank you for the blessings which you will bestow on humanity.”

That’s it. If I didn’t know the researchers at CDCAAHFA and hadn’t seen evidence of the time capsule with my own eyes, I’d dismiss this as pure bunk. But I do know them; I have seen it. And that last line haunts me.

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