Death of a Dataist

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The preacher clasps both sides of the pulpits with his hands. He clears his throat before he speaks. His cough echoes through the empty chamber. He faces a camera connected to the church wifi that is connected to a cell tower that is connected to the world.

He begins his sermon,

“Today, we honor the memory of a man and his gifts to the world with a final stream into the datasphere. The man we honor has passed into eternity. A man is not the empty shell of a body with its eyes frozen into a beyond you cannot see. A man is not the urnful of ashes of his oxidized molecules.

“His eternity is a disembodied spirit. Not one that survives in an afterlife that we can never know. But one that lives in here.”

The preacher holds up a 256 GB SD card about the size of a quarter in both hands together like it was the bread of the eucharist itself.

“This is the body of the man. These are the chat transcripts of his every recorded conversation. These are the pictures that brought him joy. These are the videos he captured and produced to bring you into his world. These are the thousands of personal and professional blogs that he presented and argued his opinions with you. These are the ebooks he wrote of his insights and adventures.

“He now lives forever in the NAND chips of this card. Of a thousand cards just like it that we have provided to you.

Then the preacher holds the 256 GB SD card over the 100GB router with LEDs flashing on its front panel like it was the chalice of the eucharist itself.

“This is the blood of the man. The blood we share as an online community. This man lived in the streams of his data that he has shared with you and in the likes and comments of all of your shared posts in the everyday online day of his short and mortal life. He lives on in the veins of social media networks.

“Keep this man alive in your posts and searches. Keep him close in your streams and he will live forever. Don’t let his memory die in the archives of social media.

“Our blood is his blood. Our body is his body.


“He is survived by his self-programmed adaptive forever me bot that will continue to operate his social media sites, in perpetuity.

The preacher reaches over to the video camera to turn off the power. The click briefly fills the empty spaces of the cavernous rooms. His footsteps echo as he passes the empty pews. Two more clicks follow and the church cave dims to darkness as the capacitance of the circuits dissipates into the nothingness of forever.