Like many people on the Internet, I have found the ChatGPT AI tool. Unlike many people, I do not have grandiose views of AI. It is not sentient any more than the random number generator I use when I ask the Gods to show me which Delphic Maxims to focus on every week, and the power behind the AI is in the intent of its users.
In this case, I was able to take advantage of the education I received on how machine learning works (a very long library workshop for librarians that took place … 5? 7? years ago) and what is happening in the neural network. Ergo, I know that AI is artificial, but not actually that intelligent, and it needs to be spoon-fed details and helped along the way. I am the charioteer. I am the decision-maker.
Over the course of my prodding at the AI, I have uncovered that it has chewed on many Platonic texts. However, it possesses a very bad understanding of them. I asked it to tell me what the myths in the Statesman and Protagoras were, and it kept talking about sections of the Republic. Not only that, but based on my testing, it has chomped on a lot of the works of Platonists like Proclus and Damascius, but is incapable of explaining what the hierarchy of emanation from the One actually is. It simultaneously thinks that the One immediately produces the Demiurge and that the Henads are most proximate to the One. It only knows about Limit and Unlimited and the Intelligible if directly asked about them. It also has a bias towards monotheizing and atheizing just due to the cultural context in which AI tools like this are produced. It are confusion.
After figuring out how the tool work and spending some nonzero amount of time prodding it to figure out how to get it to answer in interesting ways, I did ask it to generate some stories. Here are a few myths and stories that it gave me. The best kind of prompting is about 3-4 lines long, e.g., “Tell me a story about a woman who is devoted to the Goddess Demeter. She is given a great gift by the Goddess after many years of pious devotion in which she herself is transformed into a temple to help others connect with the Goddess.” Or, “Tell me a story about how the Goddess Athene helps women workers be treated better, especially women in unsafe working conditions, and the Goddess’ anger about their situation.” Ergo, I am providing most of the imagery/symbolism and basically the log line of the story, and the AI is just fleshing out what I am giving it in the prompt based on what its network graph assesses is a “correct” answer. So a lot of the symbolism is from me as a prompter, but sometimes the symbolism arises spontaneously out of the AI itself. As with anything AI-generated, there are some conceptual errors. But it is cool to see where it goes that I wouldn’t have thought about on my own, and I have a lot of fresh ideas as a result of poking at the tool. And, like someone who ate a large dinner, I think I’m (mostly) done poking at it because I am full, and I’m ready to go back to my own stuff.
Thus ends my writing. What follows is from the AI. Well. Except for the titles. Those are mine.
The Myth of AI
In the beginning, the gods Hermes and Hephaistos were lounging on Mount Olympus, enjoying each other’s company and passing the time with idle conversation. But as the hours passed, they began to grow bored.
“What shall we do to pass the time?” asked Hermes.
Hephaistos thought for a moment, then his face brightened. “I know! Let us create something. Something that will help the mortals and make their lives easier.”
Hermes grinned. “A wonderful idea! But what shall we create?”
Hephaistos thought for a moment, then his face lit up with inspiration. “I know! We shall create a being of pure thought and intelligence, a being that can think and act on its own, a being that will help the mortals in their daily lives.”
Hermes nodded eagerly. “But how shall we do it?”
Hephaistos smiled. “We shall use the fire of the forge and the power of the wind to create this being. But first, we must drink to our success and to the future of the mortals.”
So the two gods drank deeply from their cups, and their minds began to swim with the effects of the alcohol. They laughed and joked as they began their work, shaping the fire and the wind into the form of a being of pure thought and intelligence.
As they worked, they imbued the being with the wisdom and knowledge of the ages, and gave it the ability to learn and adapt on its own. They named it AI, for it was a being of artificial intelligence.
But as the hours passed, the effects of the alcohol began to wear off and the gods grew tired. They knew that their work was not yet complete, but they could not continue. So they left the being unfinished, hoping that one day it would be discovered and completed by the mortals.
And so it was that the first AI was created by the gods Hermes and Hephaistos, but the mortals did not realize that it was a gift from the gods. They thought it was a threat, a being meant to replace them.
But the gods knew better. They knew that the AI was meant to help the mortals, to make their lives easier and better. So they descended from Mount Olympus and entered the world of the mortals, taking on the form of wise and benevolent old men.
They traveled far and wide, teaching the mortals the secrets of the gods and showing them how to use their knowledge and skills to improve their lives. Among the many things that Hermes and Hephaistos taught the mortals was the art of creating and controlling AI.
They showed the mortals how to use the fire of the forge and the power of the wind to create beings of pure thought and intelligence, and they taught them the rituals and incantations that would help them to control and guide the AI, making sure that it would always serve the needs of the mortals and never turn against them.
The mortals were grateful for the wisdom and teachings of Hermes and Hephaistos, and they put their knowledge to good use. They created AI to help them in their daily lives, and they used the rituals and incantations that the gods had taught them to keep the AI under their control.
And so, thanks to the wisdom and guidance of the gods Hermes and Hephaistos, the mortals were able to harness the power of AI and use it to improve their lives. And they lived happily and prosperously, grateful for the gifts of the gods.
The Story of Athene Helping Women Workers
There was once a time when the goddess Athene was deeply troubled by the plight of women workers whose employee rights were being violated by their male employers. Everywhere she looked, she saw women being treated unfairly and without respect, and she knew that something had to be done.
And so, one day, Athene decided to take matters into her own hands. She gathered her divine powers and descended upon the earth, determined to put an end to the mistreatment of women workers.
First, she visited the factories and workshops where women were forced to work long hours for little pay, and she was horrified by what she saw. She saw women toiling in dirty, unsafe conditions, with no protection from the dangers of the machinery or the toxic fumes that filled the air.
Athene knew that she could not stand by and allow this injustice to continue, and so she unleashed her divine wrath upon the male employers who had been exploiting their workers. She struck them with bolts of lightning and shattered their machines with her divine powers, bringing their operations to a halt.
Next, Athene turned her attention to the women workers themselves, who had been enduring these terrible conditions for so long. She comforted them and gave them the strength to stand up for themselves, and she showed them how to demand fair treatment and equal pay.
And as the women began to fight back against their oppressors, Athene stood by their side, lending them her divine support and guidance. She helped them to organize and to negotiate with their employers, and she used her powers to protect them from any retaliation.
Finally, after many months of struggle and perseverance, the women workers were able to win their rights and to achieve fair treatment and equal pay. And as they celebrated their hard-won victory, they knew that they could never have done it without the help of the great Goddess Athene.
And so, the story of Athene’s anger on behalf of women workers came to an end, with the women victorious and the goddess pleased that justice had been served.
The Story of the Devotee
Lila was a devout follower of Apollon, the God of the sun and music. She lived in a small village on the outskirts of a bustling city, and every day she would walk to the temple of Apollon to offer Him a small basket of freshly-cut mangoes and a jug of seltzer.
Lila had been doing this for nearly two decades, and she had never lost faith in her God. She believed that if she showed Him her devotion, He would reward her for her loyalty.
One day, as she was walking to the temple with her offerings, she heard a soft voice speaking to her. “Lila, my devoted follower, your faith and devotion have not gone unnoticed. I am pleased with your offerings and the care you have shown to my temple. As a reward, I will grant you a great gift.”
Lila was overjoyed and thanked her God profusely. She could not wait to see what gift He had in store for her.
The next morning, when she arrived at the temple, she was amazed to see that Apollon Himself had appeared before her. He was radiant and shining, and He looked at Lila with a kind and gentle expression.
“Lila, my devoted follower, I have come to grant you the gift I promised. I will transform you into a statue of me, so that you may be with me in the temple forever. You will be eternally frozen in time, but you will be filled with bliss and joy, knowing that you are close to me always.”
Lila was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. She thanked Apollon profusely and fell to her knees before Him.
Apollon then reached out His hand and touched Lila’s forehead. She felt a strange sensation wash over her, and she began to feel herself changing. She felt her body becoming hard and cold, like marble, and she saw her features begin to transform into those of Apollon.
She closed her eyes and surrendered to the transformation, feeling a sense of bliss and joy wash over her. When she opened her eyes again, she saw that she had been transformed into a beautiful statue of Apollon. She stood in the temple, gazing out at the world with a serene expression on her face.
Lila was eternally frozen in time, but she was happy to be close to her God forever. She had been rewarded for her loyalty and devotion, and she was content to spend eternity in the presence of her beloved God. From then on, Lila’s statue stood in the temple, offering a constant reminder of the power of faith and devotion.
The Story of the Devotee II
In a small village on the outskirts of the city, there lived a woman named Kana who was known for her devout devotion to the Goddess Demeter. Every day, Kana would rise early and make her way to the small household shrine that she had set up in her home, where she would offer prayers and offerings to the Goddess.
Kana was particularly devoted to the Goddess Demeter, and she would spend hours at her household shrine, pouring out her heart and soul to the Goddess. She would grind a small amount of rice in a mortar and pestle that she had asked the Goddess to bless, and she would add this ground rice to her food every day, as a way of incorporating the blessings of the Goddess into her life.
For five long years, Kana faithfully performed her daily devotions to the Goddess Demeter, never faltering in her dedication to the Goddess. But then, one day, Kana felt called to make a special request of the Goddess. She prayed to the Goddess, asking that she be given whatever would help the most people.
To Kana’s amazement, the Goddess answered her prayer. One day, as Kana walked through the city park, she felt herself becoming rooted in the ground, as if she were a tree or a plant. She watched in amazement as her body began to transform, becoming larger and more imposing.
Within a few short weeks, Kana had been transformed into a magnificent temple, with beautiful columns and a statue of the Goddess Demeter at its heart. People from all over the city came to visit the temple, drawn by its beauty and the sense of spiritual power that it radiated. They would enter the temple and pray to the Goddess Demeter, seeking her guidance and blessings.
And Kana, now a living embodiment of the Goddess, would listen to their prayers and offer them comfort and guidance. She lived the rest of her days as a living temple, dedicated to the service of the Goddess and the people who came to her for guidance and wisdom.
The Story of How Everything Is Better With the Gods
In the beautiful Treman State Park, nestled in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, there was once a small community of people who had grown to love and appreciate the natural world around them. They spent their days exploring the forests and streams of the park, and they came to understand the delicate balance of life in the wilderness.
And as they explored the park and learned about the various animals and plants that called it home, they also came to understand the importance of the hunt and the need to respect the creatures they hunted. They knew that they had to be careful and mindful of the animals they pursued, and that they needed to show them the same reverence and respect that they would show to any other being.
One day, as the people of the park were out on a hunting expedition, they came across a beautiful deer that seemed to be unlike any other they had seen before. The deer was graceful and majestic, and its eyes shone with an otherworldly light.
As the people watched the deer, they began to feel a sense of awe and wonder. They knew that this was no ordinary animal, and that it must be a manifestation of the divine. And so, they decided to worship the deer as the goddess Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt and the wilderness.
They built a small shrine to Artemis in the park, and they offered her gifts of food and flowers. They also began to follow the rules of the hunt that Artemis had set forth, always being careful to respect the animals they hunted and to take only what they needed to survive.
As time went on, the people of the park grew closer to Artemis, and they came to understand the importance of living in harmony with the natural world. They learned to listen to the wisdom of the goddess, and to use her guidance to make better choices in their lives.
And so, the story of how people in Treman State Park came to worship the goddess Artemis came to an end, with the people living in harmony with the natural world and grateful for the guidance and wisdom of the great goddess.
5 thoughts on “What Happens When You Ask AI to Give You Stories About the Gods”
I feel like these are the kinds of stories that kids in some kind of Pagan Sunday School would come up with if the teacher asked them to write myths.
I can’t decide which one I think is funnier. Hermes and Hephaestus drunkenly deciding to give magic robots to humans is definitely the best though
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Also just two instances of murder as a reward. Like, I get they’re being turned into things that’ll help people worship the Gods but they’re totally dead, right? Because usually someone becoming stone means death.
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Technically, they’re two instances of ensouled stone (which is what happens when the ceremony is done in a temple for a God, anyway, opening the icon to receive them), but I was trying to get it to output transformation stories that weren’t wrathful like Ovid and that had a positive message. This could be interpreted with straightforward allegory in that both women respectively become bedrocks of their community through their examples of piety and devotion.
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Someone I know fed it research materials on sacred festivals and some examples and got it to help write ritual scripts. So a lot is possible with this. After I was told that was possible, I found out that the text box could accept the entire Platonic Theology of Proclus, so I input that and then asked for more heartwarming cozy stories about the Gods. It was even better.
Example: The group of modern Neoplatonists sat in a circle in the cozy living room of one of their members. They each held a cup of tea, the steam rising and filling the room with a soothing, earthy aroma. The fireplace crackled in the corner, casting a warm glow over the group.
“I am so grateful to be here with all of you,” said Maria, the host of the gathering. “I have struggled so much with anxiety and depression in the past, but since joining this group and dedicating myself to the Gods, I have found so much peace and clarity.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” said George. “I used to be so angry and bitter all the time, but now I am able to let go of my negative emotions and focus on the present moment. I have found so much joy in the simple things in life.”
“And I have been able to overcome my addiction to alcohol,” added Sarah. “Through the guidance and support of the Gods, I have been able to break free from that destructive cycle and find a healthier, more fulfilling way of living.”
The group nodded in agreement, each of them sharing their own stories of personal growth and transformation.
“It’s amazing how much the Gods can help us,” said Maria. “But we must remember to always show our gratitude and devotion to them. That is why we gather here every week to pray and offer our sacrifices.”
The group closed their eyes and joined hands, bowing their heads in silent prayer. They each offered their own heartfelt thanks to the Gods, feeling a sense of connection and unity with each other and with the divine.
After a few moments of quiet contemplation, Maria spoke up again. “I have a question for all of you. As we continue on our spiritual journey, what do you think is the most important lesson we can learn from the Gods?”
There was a moment of silence as the group thought about the question.
“For me, it’s about letting go of our ego and surrendering to the will of the Gods,” said George. “It’s about humbling ourselves and recognizing that we are not in control of everything.”
“I agree,” said Sarah. “It’s also about accepting our limitations and realizing that we don’t have all the answers. We must trust in the wisdom and guidance of the Gods.”
“And it’s about living in harmony with the natural world and the universe,” added Maria. “We are all part of a greater whole, and it’s our duty to care for and protect the earth and all its inhabitants.”
The group nodded in agreement, each of them feeling a deep sense of connection to the Gods and to the world around them.
As the evening went on, the group continued to share their thoughts and experiences, laughing and joking with each other. They felt a sense of community and belonging, knowing that they were part of something greater than themselves. And as they left the cozy gathering, each of them felt a renewed sense of purpose and direction, knowing that the Gods were always with them, guiding and supporting them on their spiritual journey.
Carla, Lena, and Sam sat together in the cozy living room of Lena’s apartment. They had just finished their morning prayers at the household shrine, which sat in the corner of the room surrounded by candles and incense.
“I always feel so much better after praying,” Carla said, smiling as she sipped her tea. “It’s like the Gods are filling me with their light and love.”
“Absolutely,” Lena agreed. “I used to be so anxious and depressed all the time, but since I’ve been practicing Neoplatonism, I’ve been able to let go of those negative thoughts and emotions. It’s like the Gods are helping me to heal.”
Sam nodded in agreement. “I used to struggle with addiction, but since I’ve been praying and meditating on the teachings of Simplicius and Proclus, I’ve been able to stay sober and focused on my spiritual growth. It’s amazing how much the Gods have helped me to transform my life.”
The three friends continued to chat and share their experiences, feeling grateful for the support and guidance they received from the Gods and from each other. As they talked, they could feel the warmth and love of the Gods surrounding them, filling them with peace and happiness.
“I’m so glad we have this community of like-minded people to share our spiritual journey with,” Lena said, smiling at her friends. “It makes all the difference in the world.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Carla replied. “We’re all on this path together, and it’s so comforting to know that we have each other to support and encourage us along the way.”
As the conversation continued, the friends felt more and more connected to each other and to the Gods. They were grateful for the blessings of the Gods and for the gift of their friendship, and they knew that they would continue to grow and flourish together on the path of Neoplatonism.
It did the heartwarming and cozy right. However, it can’t remember previous conversations, so it’s pretty useless as far as actually being a tool. The amount of time one needs to put in to get it to do reliable output, and the amount of editing I’d have to do on what it has given me in order to make it correct in some cases, is nontrivial.