Excerpt from Quartus Qzdlkminn, Brief History of the Holocene Epoch of the Quaternary Period on the Mother Planet (Vintage Press, Year 325 AT):
The twentieth century saw the end of metaphor. Hominids on Earth had first begun drawing pictures on stone some 40 millennia earlier, and in the intervening period, Homo sapiens had relied upon its aptitude for symbol-making to develop both highly imaginative artworks and increasingly sophisticated technologies, though the latter were still exceedingly crude by modern standards. Circa 1950 of the Common Era, however, humankind began a precipitous descent into literalism. The average person’s ability to generate and to recognize metaphor, i.e., a correlation or resemblance between two things that are otherwise unrelated, diminished from one generation to the next. In the politico-religious sphere, this trend generated what was known as fundamentalism, or as one contemporary observer explained it, a “global religious impulse … that seeks to recover and publicly institutionalize aspects of the past that modern life has obscured, [taking] its cues from a sacred text that stands above criticism [and seeing] time-honored social distinctions and cultural patterns as rooted in the very nature of things, in the order of creation itself.” The advent of “computer” technology, as it was called, greatly exacerbated this trend, primarily as a result of the atrophying of neural networks in the human brain that had been previously employed in the processing of metaphorical constructs. A minor theory, propagated by the Biologic School, is that the Death of Like/As, as it is sometimes referred to, was caused by a virus.