TO: All Human Beings

FROM: God and Mother Nature

SUBJ: Bugs in Nature 1.0 and the forthcoming upgrade, 2.0


General

Firstly, We would like to say how impressed We are at the enthusiasm many of you have shown in coming to grips with Ver. 1.0 of Nature. Thanks also to those who have filed bug reports; all your problems have been given a sympathetic ear, but We have been unable to respond individually in the great majority of cases.

Mother Nature and I have been hard at work most of the time on Ver. 2.0 and, although We have not finalized all the details, I will tell you of some of the new features a little later on. Of course, the biggest dilemma We have faced since We ran 1.0 was whether to produce Ver. 1.1, 1.2, etc. as a series of bug fixes, or whether to let the existing system run, with all its faults, while We worked on a more expansive system.

Mother Nature in particular has ben very concerned at some of the crueller anomalies in 1.0; while I share Her concern, I have persuaded Her to let the system run while We worked on something really special. Those of you who can see beyond your own noses will have noticed that I like to do things on a grand scale, so I felt much happier writing a complete upgrade than fiddling around with details. Besides, I must admit I was fascinated by the extremes to which anomalous situations could develop in 1.0, and I was attracted by the purity of letting the system run for so long. For those who came out the worse for wear -- sorry. Ver. 2.0 will be much more pleasant.

A lot of you are probably wondering why the new version is so late in coming. All I can say in response is that if you had any idea of how long it took Us to get 1.0 to the point where it would run at all, you wouldn't be surprised at the time it has taken to upgrade it.

Many of you have been guessing that a new Nature would be running around the end of the millennium, and We do hope to be able to run it by then. We have Both been impressed by the name you have given this system for which you have been wishing and waiting for so long: "Aquarius". Mother Nature would like to call it Aquarius 2.0, but I still think the word "Nature" needs to be in the title. Therefore, it will probably be called "Nature 2.0 -- Aquarius".

Some of you are wondering whether We will "beta-test" 2.0 before running it properly. This was not possible in the case of 1.0 because Mom and I were the only beings anywhere; there was no one else who could test it. I toyed with the idea of actually running Ver. 0.8 (the first one that didn't crash immediately), and asking some of the people there what they thought of it and then to take a look at later versions, but the whole idea gave Me a headache. The thought of running various "Natures" which We knew to be imperfect filled Me with dread. Mother and I are real programmers, i.e. We don't feel the need to beta-test, but the thought of running several realities at once was too daunting even for Us. So We worked very carefully, and when We were reasonably happy with the way it all looked, We ran it and you are part of the result.

Upgrading to 2.0 will be interesting. Although the process is analogous to running new code on the old data, bringing up a new "Nature" will be non-trivial even for Us. I envisage that nothing which exists under the current system will be lost in the change- over, although some entities may hardly recognize themselves. Although you may find yourself changed somewhat, these differences are insignificant compared with the expanded possibilities of the new reality you will inhabit.

None of you will know when the change will come; it will be instantaneous. There is no preparation you can make for the changeover. Keep your eyes wide open, and My recommendation is that you carry on as usual, relax, and take it easy.

Don't think, however, that your bug reports can do no more good; whether you pray or blaspheme, keep them coming in. I am still listening.

Answers to Queries

It is not often that I write to you like this, and I would like to take this opportunity to answer some of the more interesting que- ries you have raised.

Firstly, the query with which I have grown most bored: "God, I am not sure you exist: please show me a sign." Take a look at the Universe: Do you think it just grew, like Topsy? If I exist, of course I made it. If you think Nature "just grew", why are you praying? Why have you read this far? I would rather be doing something constructive (or fun) than creating a tacky little miracle just for you.

Many of you have wondered which parts of Nature were created by Mother and which by Me. The original idea was Mother's, but I provided most of the structure and a lot of the tricky connections within the system. I have dealt with most of the technical intricacies, and Mother Nature has worked long and hard developing most of the gorgeous details. I have often asked Her advice on basic structure, however. For instance, when I was working on the limits of the physical universe and how it should appear, I was torn between the receding-time-and-distance appearance and the goldfish-bowl approach; Mother was able to suggest an approach which is much more fiendish and beautiful than anything I would have invented on My own.

Many of you have been troubled by anomalies in human belief structures which seem to involve Me; I am speaking here of orga- nized religions. Their apparent connection with Me is all an illusion: a result of their continuing pretense to have some special connection with The Big Boss. Of course, this is not true. Fortunately, no other species than homo sapiens has the time or inclination to waste its time with concepts such as guilt, damnation, and grovelling. I personally find the religions generally tiring and distasteful, although some of them have given rise to works of great beauty and value.

I am often asked, "God, why do You allow viruses?" and "Why did You make mosquitoes?" I am extremely proud of My work in laying the basis for the chemistry of life, and I would not change anything in that area, but I admit that I had not considered the possibility that these self-replicating lifeless genetic land-mines would evolve.

They are not much fun, and even Mother Nature doesn't seem to think they enjoy life. I am confident, however, that you will be able to cope with them as you have done in the past. Anyway, if I cut mosquitoes out of 2.0, where would I stop? Flies, cockroaches, whatever -- they are all nuisances to somebody, and yet they groove along just like everything else.

People often say to themselves, "Do I really exist?" It is really saddening to Mother Nature and Me to hear people questioning their own existence, after all the work We put into making Nature happen. This is usually asked by humans who have been comparing atoms and solar systems, or spending too much time with computers. My usual response is, "Well, what does it feel like?"

I have a few quick general things to say to various groups of people:

To the Occultists: You can poke your fingers into the machinery, but you are unlikely to change its workings the way you want, and your fingers might get squashed.

To people who have wished for time travel: Sorry, this is just not on. I occasionally go backward, but even I do not dare go forward.

To the physicists who are researching subatomic structure: Nothing much will change, however, forces you currently ignore and which only occasionally appear on 1.0 will be a more normal part of life in 2.0. To those who recently discovered some of the subtle details of gravity -- I am surprised it took you so long; have a good look now, because the anomaly is going to disappear from 2.0.

To humans who think We created the Universe but made it for humans: We do not like your attitude.

New Features in Nature 2.0

Everything that currently exists will continue to do so in one form or another. The major exception will be that one of the forces that was only an intermittent part of life previously will be much more accessible. This is the force that is the basis of Psychokinesis, ESP, and Precognition. At present this force sometimes has a crucial impact on life, and We agreed that it would do no harm to make it more readily accessible. It will certainly be possible to use this force destructively, but We think its positive uses combined with the reduced chances of being trapped in depressed mental patterns will reduce destructive misuse to a large degree.

I am currently finishing new exception handling code in the Fortune engine, which should ensure that bad luck cannot continue for excessive periods of time.

Mother Nature has often complained that human perception of color is too restrictive, so I have developed a new protein complex which tunes the human retina to give humans the ability to percieeve additional bandwidth of light. You will be able to see frequencies you now know as ultraviolet and infrared. It was tricky, but definitely worth the trouble. The sudden change when I turn on 2.0 may be a bit of a shock, but I feel sure the surprise will be pleasant.

There will be other important new elements to Nature which would not make any sense to you at present. The aim has been to increase detail, pleasure, and scope; and to decrease the occurrence of particular anomalies from which people seem unable to extract themselves. There will be an inevitable increase in complexity. We feel, however, that the expanding human consciousness and the greater accessibility of the intuitive force will enable most people to cope.

Bye-Bye

That's about it for now. We will not be in touch with you for a few millennia, at least, so don't trust anyone who claims to have heard from Us. We will be having a rest and a bit of fun for a while. But remember, We are thinking of you, so keep those bug reports coming in. Nature 2.0 will hit with a bang in about 11 years. It will not be perfect, but it is Our best, and We are confident you will get to like it.


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