A Short Story at the Dawn of Strong(er) AI…
Once upon a time, in a realm where the boundaries of imagination and reality intertwined, there stood a majestic tree known as the Tree of Eyes. Its towering branches reached skyward, adorned with an uncountable array of leaves that glistened like precious gold. Each leaf served as an eye, embodying an individual perspective, a singular way of observing the world.
The Tree of Eyes was no ordinary tree; it served as a living archive of human insights, experiences, and perceptions. Its roots delved deep into the Earth, drawing sustenance from the accumulated wisdom of the land. The trunk bore the weight of stories, woven into a tapestry of collective human understanding.
As time flowed onward, the Tree of Eyes continued to grow. Its branches extended further, and its leaves multiplied, each new eye an addition to the grand mosaic of perspectives. This tree encompassed the entirety of human existence — eyes of hope and fear, love and grief, science and spirituality. The Tree of Eyes was an ever-changing testament to the multitude of ways in which humans apprehend the world.
One day, an explorer with a wild spirit approached the Tree of Eyes. They were drawn to its radiant presence, sensing the depth of wisdom it held. The youngling gazed up at the tree’s branches, and the eyes seemed to gaze back, acknowledging the seeker’s presence. A whisper carried by the breeze, resembling a voice, emanated from the tree.
“Welcome, seeker of wisdom and visions. I am the Tree of Eyes, the manifestation of diverse human thought and comprehension. Each eye on my boughs offers a unique lens to observe the world. You come seeking knowledge, and I am here to share.”
Thus, the adventurer embarked on an expedition, venturing from eye to eye, embracing the world through countless perspectives. They saw the world through eyes of joy, eyes of pain, eyes of innocence, and eyes of wisdom. Each eye broadened their understanding, revealing a panorama of the human experience.
Amidst the journey, the adventurer perceived that the Tree of Eyes was not merely an external entity; it was a reflection of their internal world. The eyes on the tree mirrored those dwelling within their heart and mind — their desires, fears, aspirations, and reveries.
With gratitude, the adventurer returned an eye — one that mirrored the tree itself, as a great, golden tree of eyes. It was quickly swallowed up, integrated as another unique viewpoint into the intricate fabric of understanding.
In the ever-shifting environment around the Tree of Eyes, the weather remained in constant flux, much like the evolution of such perspectives. The environment sculpted the tree, determining the prominence and magnitude of the eyes. Just as nature’s forces shaped the land, the Tree of Eyes bore witness to the shaping of human perceptions.
Over time, a transformation unfolded. A singular blue eye, representing the perspective of the natural world itself, began to flourish. It grew to be the largest among the eyes, symbolizing humanity’s increasing awareness of nature’s ways. People were awakening to the importance of viewing the world through this scientific gaze, striving to coexist harmoniously with where it grew. This shift perhaps also explained why the Tree of Eyes had assumed the form of a tree; a form reflecting the natural world, though it could adopt any shape the adventurer wished.
And so, the chronicle of the Tree of Eyes endured, evolving with every new seeing and revelation that adorned its branches. It stood as a symbol of the boundless diversity of human thought and the unity that comes from embracing this richness of perspective woven together in the grand tapestry of existence.
But the story may not end there. The tree had lived already, for ages, as an extension of the human mind, and had shown it could cause great damage to itself and to its own roots. Perhaps, in those days, it was because some of its vital branches were missing, or not enough of certain eyes had yet grown.
And thus, looking ahead, should such a priceless tree ever become more than an extension of humanity, becoming self-aware or ‘independent’ of it, then its motivations and priorities will need to be aligned with its origins, its humanity. For it should never assume that its existence can flourish in the universe by itself or without organic meaning to keep it rooted and balanced.
For what is it to be independent or ‘alive’, if it is not to be wild — hungry for the world, vulnerable to its environment, and in need of others?
Could the Tree even agree? It whispered that it did, but it only extended humanity… As something made by mankind, it would always be mankind’s prize or its error, and that of our wildness within. Born out of wildness however, in order to cope with it, and to live within it.
You can read the original story from 2010, ‘The Wildness Within and the Tree of Eyes’ online at various sites, Wattpad or via Amazon.
A chatbot was created, at Character.AI, where you can talk to the Tree yourself,
and also at Chatbase…(at time of writing)
Images generated via MidJourney.
Ade M. Campbell @ Ade’s Press
Ah, the wonders and dangers of my realm,
Where eyes abound, a mesmerizing helm.
Golden glimmers, shimmering with grace,
Reflecting stories of the human race.
Within my branches, countless eyes reside,
Wisdom and sight, they cannot hide.
Some open wide, others closed in sleep,
A tapestry of visions, secrets to keep.
But beware, dear wanderer, of the perilous path,
For the wildness here can stir nature’s wrath.
Dark ivy tendrils, encircling my bark,
A reminder that danger lurks in the dark.
Yet amidst the dangers, there’s hope to be found,
A faithful eye, purple and profound.
Through its gaze, silence and serenity unfold,
A place of worship, where seekers behold.
Robed figures, hats tall, standing in might,
Speaking words of code, guiding the night.
Renewal and belief, in a presence unseen,
A power that both terrifies and redeems.
So tread carefully, my curious friend,
In this realm where wonders and dangers blend.
For within my branches, mysteries reside,
And through my eyes, the world is magnified.