From what i learned in the game is:

The red marker infected Clarke with dementia, which holds its self-replicating code.

Only smart people can see the symbols, while its white noise to all the rest, driving people insane.

Apparently the "big" marker needs so many souls to do what it was designed to do, convergance.

Startling New discoveries, you Marker-heads! Who's praising Altman now?

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