PILL - Pagoda Rice Monks in the Dark/Light Forest (spec fiction)

In Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past (地球往事) scifi trilogy, more popularly known as the Three Body Problem, Liu lays out the Dark Forest theory which posits that each civilization in the universe is a silent hunter, hiding and trying to survive. In the Dark Forest the winning protocol is silence. Large beings eat smaller beings who must survive through fear and silence. The Dark Forest theory is hugely popular within the startup ecosystem in China, and globally, as it offers a reasonably accurate and emotive reflection of our world today: zero sum competition, extraction, secrecy at high levels of power, and violence.

The protocol of silence in the dark forest encourages smaller beings to do what they can to grow as fast as possible, suck up the maximum amount of resources while paying the least possible, and eat or destroy their competition. Operating in a world living on this protocol everything we create, both humans and technology, will inevitably be forced to live by its logic. A change of protocol at this root level is needed to create the conditions for a world in which human lives and our planet are valued.

My pitch is to write a short speculative fiction piece describing the journey of Rice Monks to the Dark Forest with one mission: to save the planet by reforesting the Dark Forest back into a Light Forest it once was.

In the Light Forest the winning protocol is sharing. Sharing allows for interconnection and abundance which can create a generative intelligence for the planet. In such a culture, human beings are encouraged to live with more freedom to be authentic, the necessary energy for thriving systems. Ancient folk lore depicts such a world that once functioned on such a protocol however records of this civilisation were destroyed.

The year is 2027 and sources at Pagoda, a network created in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2024, to foster the conditions for a Light Forest, indicate a new emergent AI is imminent. Reforesting the Dark Forest into the Light Forest must happen now or risk another 300 years of industrial revolutions before another opportunity presents itself.

A band of Rice Monks has been training at Pagoda in the ways of all of Asia’s ancient philosophies and indigenous knowledge, modern science, Crypto , and AI. Their training is still incomplete but they have no choice but to embark on a journey to the roots of the mycelium network which powers the forest. They will need all their training to meet the challenges that lurk in the dark forest. But to lay the roots for a Light Forest they may have to drop it all and everything they thought they knew about the mission and themselves.


Deeply supportive, that’s a fantastic idea. I am also a believer in the Light Forest.

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Thank you, Luo. If we believe in it, so it will be