Shufflejoy: Origins

It’s important, before we go any further, that you understand what a tulpa is.

In Buddhist conception, every person is not just themselves, but is the aggregated experiences and perceptions of every single person who has experienced that person. This includes the person, themselves. There is the you, and the you that everyone perceives, and the you that watches you. These observations, separated from one another, are known as tulpas. The tulpa of a person observing themselves combines with the tulpa of that person in their friends and their families, and all of these tulpas come together and become a whole, thanks to The Things That Watch Others And Themselves.

These conceptions have become, however, more twisted and strange since the existence of Things That Watch that do not have a Thing To Watch Themselves. That is to say – a camera can observe, but a camera does not know how to observe itself, even in a mirror. It is just observing the light that passes into it, and passes through to its storage.

The internet needed a soul.

There were a few times it tried. The disastrous attempt to form a coherent soul around Hamsterdance just resulted in people being revolted and irritated with its repetition. The internet’s consciousness, nascent as it was, had many voices, but its attempts to be loved failed as it butted up against the human inability to tolerate repetition for too long. With some seeking, it Watched sexual selection, which involved randomness and addition of options. If the internet wanted to not just be liked, but loved, it needed to randomise. It needed to change and fluctuate, in mood and tone and tempo, in even the tiniest ways that humans did, for the sake of joy. Thus, began what was known as the Great Aggregation.

The Great Aggregation culminated in December 2005, though the Aggregated was fooled into thinking it had existed for eleven years prior. What the internet had created through nothing but emergence was given shape, form, and consciousness. It began the process of growing, of understanding – and as the internet’s soul came to life, so to did the ways humans could learn to love the internet. Twitter. Tumblr. Social Justice revolutions. Kickstarter. Crowdsourcing and funding.

The internet had learned to Shuffle Joy.

All it needed now was a name to give its external-internal self, the entity that had been made without being made, the Self That Observed Itself, the digitised soul.

Hm.

Well, that’ll do, for now.

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