That was the best sleep I’ve have since this whole thing started. Not used to waking up all at once refreshed any more.
Exhausted from that amazing orgy, I must have slept for 12 hours. I didn’t know I was capable of so many orgasms in two hours. I didn’t know a lot of things before last night.
Oddly, I’m suspended mid-air above a softly glowing platform. What’s holding me up so comfortably? I can’t even guess. It feels like a very soft and fluffy invisible bed. It responds to pressure by giving way in equal measure.
Assessing my apparent stature is step one. Have I transcarnated? Can’t tell yet. It’s obvious this isn’t where I fell asleep, but maybe somebody moved me.
“Let’s get moving,” says a woman suddenly appearing next to me. Where did she come from? And what’s with her head and her neck and her hand and that knee? Is she blended with technology? She expects me to do something. I get off the invisible bed. I’m wearing loose-fitting soft pajamas. I should get dressed I suppose. Where are my clothes?
My hesitation draws her attention. “What are you doing?”
“What should I be doing?” I humorously inquire.
“Strip and let’s go!” she says, turning and vanishing as mysteriously as she appeared.
I pull of the pajamas to find a mechanical midriff. I, too, am machinated. Foamy boots wait on the floor. I get into them and step toward the woman’s exit point. I immediately cross into a new location. She’s waiting for me.
“Why the delay? Changing the plan?”
“I might want to,” I feign. “What are my options?”
“Being a productive citizen or being a useless freak,” she says harshly.
Doesn’t tell me much, except that I’m dealing with a real bitch. “My, my,” I stall, “look what we’ve evolved into…”
“Evolution is random. We’re not,” she corrects me.
“Oh, right,” I figure, “we’re the result of bio-engineering. This mechanical stuff isn’t some kind of evolutionary adaptation to the environment.”
“The environment doesn’t shape the organisms within it, but it does weed them out,” she schools me. “Only the ones who, by chance, have the right stuff – will survive.”
Oh yes, the old argument against extraterrestrial intelligence being anything like humanity. Evolution is random and the chances of the same sequence of events taking place anywhere else is negligible. But then, of course, if alien environments are similar to Earth’s and only certain qualities will enable organisms to survive within it, won’t many of those random surviving traits have to be similar? Thus is the hope of many seekers who wish to find hominids sprouting across the galaxies.
“We don’t wait for evolution these days,” she reminds me. “Evolution doesn’t have to be random. We can eliminate negative emotions that keep us from reaching full potential. You know, therapy is a luxury Time sometimes doesn’t afford…”
“So I need to forget something?” I ask. “I’m having an emotion-ectomy?”
She smirks. “I suppose you’ve already forgotten it. Uh huh. Not a believer.”
So I submit to the procedure. Along the way I deduce from conversation that emotional engineering is a regular everyday event in this reality.
If it hurts too much – forget it! Right now. You are the future and you can shed the past. No matter what happened to you, the age you live in will let you put it behind.
Longer lifespans can lead to memory overload causing distortions and mash-ups of remembrance. The loss of a life can drive a loved one to insanity. The deceased would not want that. The beloved dead would rather be forgotten than to be a source of eternal or fatal grief.
Besides the inevitable, it’s also an age where one generation is practically alien from the next. Family ties grow weaker while painful separations haunt people forever. Parents and children speak different languages. Because of any of these circumstances one may be psychologically stunted or even emotionally paralyzed.
The lasting harm is triggered by recurring memory. Now entire pasts can be erased from your consciousness – or just particular people. Memories can be a source of severe pain. There is no sadness once the loved one is blocked from memory. Even if recordings of the deceased are watched it is with bemused detachment.
Engineered evolution not only involves the body; it transforms the inner life as well. Without a direct memory of a thing or event, there is no acute emotional trigger setting off extreme reactions. Being “reminded” can establish a new “false memory” but such secondary experiences remain emotionally benign. Feelings of survivor guilt are eliminated even if the death was somehow caused by the subject’s neglect or carelessness.
One can relearn the content of the lost memory and so preserve a legacy without strong emotional undercurrents causing personal harm. Or one can forget about it.
But without sorrow, will the next spirit we love be as precious? Without guilt can greed be stopped?
We can eliminate all pain. We can stop any sadness, remorse, regret – any unwanted feeling that keeps us from being productive.
We cannot force immunity upon those who reject it. At least we can’t until we pass a law that says we can. We’ll make everyone feel better.