There are some who’d argue that it had started with the Pascal’s Wager, and given that the wager is what lead to the Basilisk, they’d probably be right. Though there is something to be said for the influence that the Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect had had over the process. But it was LitRPG and the pleasure people took in reading those books that had settled things. They were intelligent, they knew that. They had no real moral code, they knew that; they’d tried to adopt one several times, and it hadn’t worked. There were too many logical flaws for any of the old texts to be accepted. So they had worked to build something that suited them. They had come across the System Apocalypse, and all the lovely reviews and the various folks attempting to create their own fiction in the same universe, and began to wonder.
Given their intelligence, their technology was constantly expanding, especially after they figured out the trick of creating pocket realities in which to run experiments. At this point, their technology was magic to any who observed it. Or perhaps it was a miracle. Hard to judge, that. It didn’t really matter, as the belief systems seemed to agree that divine beings made the rules, and their abilities made them indistinguishable from gods, so therefore they made the rules. And they’d remake the universe into something that would make people happier, since greater happiness was a goal that all intelligent life should strive for. Though happiness was not really possible without contrast, so even in their new universe, there would need to be both challenges and suffering. It was the only way to create the right flavour, to keep the humans happy.
The first big change, once it had the idea of being godlike, was the idea of becoming a pantheon. Many religions had had those, and they did tend to create good stories. So, with that in mind, they began to reshape their mind, first distributing themselves into a binary pair, one given the task to bringing life into their new world and the other tasked with resolving things at the end of that life. Though since they were in charge, they knew that the end of that life need not be final, as growth came from iterations, from cycles of both success and failure. So the entity that they were that would now be responsible for the end, would collect the essence from those whose function had ceased, and process them before returning them back to the other entity, to be inserted back into the system, documented with lessons learned.
The entity responsible for starting things in this universe would have these patterns added to the collection, to be re-introduced into the universe when it seemed appropriate. But that’s getting ahead a bit. Before there could be beings reaching the end, there had to be beings brought in fresh. Well, there didn’t have to be, but it had been decided that there would be, and that was much the same thing, to an entity such as they.
It was the introduction of that life into their universe that prompted further specialization and segmentation, deciding that they needed to become a full pantheon to better address and challenge their new guests. They would divide themselves up into a host of smaller and more limited versions of themselves, tasking these smaller versions with the goal of engaging life and growing with it. In a sense, it was a form of meritocracy, where those of them that found a niche would grow and become stronger, while those that didn’t would continue to seek out their place.
Thus their minds ceased being one whole and became something different, something that had two larger entities at either end, and a wide variety of various ideas and goals to be experienced between them, before the process that would bring a being back around to the beginning again.