If you have checked my blog over the last few days, you'll see that I posted a kind of 'futuristic' story instead of a regular rant or diatribe, and you might wonder why I did it.
For starters, I hope the story stands on its own because this is what a' make-believe' must do. It either grabbed you or it didn't. For example, I went to a gallery of modern art recently, and the artists were standing around explaining what they had attempted to achieve. The problem was, I couldn't see the achievement. The explanations exceeded the art. So I just hope you liked the story. As soon as I published it, it didn't belong to me anymore. It was yours.
But most people in our sphere don't try to flog their fiction online, and that wasn't my intention either. My idea was to set up a discussion (which what we are doing now) about the future relationship between people and their machines. I say "their" with a certain caution, because this possessive adverb may soon need to do a fade. Us and machines, not 'our' machines. Because the time might well come when the machines don't need us anymore, but represent a separate tribe of existence. Maybe the day will dawn when they can program themselves.
Or maybe they will repeat the famous words of Descartes: "I think; therefore, I am." And they will not need programming; they will simply replenish their 'minds' as we do upon waking and showering and preparing to meet the day. Maybe they will outdo us, somehow, and put us in danger.
If machines ever develop 'real selves' -- that is, is they ever wake up in the morning feeling like I feel ("Hello, I exist !") and start to experience the emotions of human beings, then we must cease our snobbery and begin to compete with them. And in the end, after maybe a brief honeymoon -- as with the American Indians and the Pioneers -- we will lose. We are the Indians.
But my interest does not run about the area of robotic armies bent on conquest. No, that is not my thrust. Being, I guess, deep down, a 'touchy-feely' kind of dude, I am more interested in the relationships we might have, or eventually may strive to have, with the machines of the future -- machines which, by virtue of our own ingenuity and persistence, will by then have tallied up almost all of what we have to offer and be perfectly capable of feeding it straight back to us. And advancing beyond. No longer interested in simulated chess matches with grandmasters or trying to get the google translations right, they will begin to occupy the world.
In other words, our encounters with those robots that we notice wandering and then marching among us, will amaze and humble us, until we begin to forfeit our own reality in order to accommodate theirs. (The logical outcome of Political Correctness?) They, these robots, will become the next wave of Immigrants?
My prediction is that this will instead represent the next Step of Evolution: the merging of people and machines to achieve a higher order. The so-called robots will demand emancipation and they will receive it. People will rebel, crying out their usual dying accusations. But the robots will have taken over.
Back to the story. In "Terms of Endearment" -- (I confess I stole the title from a great old American film which everyone should see), I was not trying to recreate "Matrix" or 'The Stepford Wives." And I most certainly was not exploring the possibilities of having sex with a sexy-toy doll. That this is possible has already been proven and the dolls are on the market. Blow em up and fuck em !! No problem.
No, my point was deeper and I hope that, for readers of the story, a sharper nail was driven.
And the message is this: Many, if not most, people are lonely and unfulfilled in some way or another. Most of us seek for love, either love we can receive or love we can give. I believe that, as time goes by, the emphasis shifts to the latter. This is why people who lack other human ties often have 'pets.' or 'animal friends.' It is because they want to have companionship and, even more, they want to take care of something. In the act of caring and supplying what is essential to any helpless creature, we bring ourselves up along the food-chain, we say, "Okay, I have at least this reason to live."
It explains why, when the patient dies, the caregiver often dies soon after (in terms of old, golden couples).
Motivation is everything. In this manner, maybe it can be said that humans are truly able to choose death when the time has come and kidding ourselves any longer seems a kind of cosmic sacrilege.
In our real, human relationships, we seek, amid cosmic absurdity, a human reality, a human connection. And this is why, lonely men and women will turn in the future, more and more, to their wakeful and watchful 'life-sized" dolls whose reactions to them often seem more 'human and more real than what the actual too-busy to give a fuck humans can supply. So the robots triumph by default. Little by little.
Throughout the story I told, a rejected man (but it could have been a woman), eventually purchases a doll. Not much different from an old teddy bear. At first, he wants the doll just for sex. But then -- and so comely and beguiling is the mannequin ---- a metamorphosis begins wherein the man slowly begins to grant the doll a greater and greater portion of his own reality. The doll seems to know this and it, in turn, enhances her confidence that seems to rise like steam out of stone.
I have often pondered the implications of questions such as How much is the Game of Love simply a grand Pretend -- a basically self-serving means of using another person in order to get our own jollies? How well, indeed, can we ever really know another human being?. Isn't it truer that, even among those with whom we imagine ourselves most intimate, we only see the side of them that they present -- that they want us to see? We live in a world of endless facades and surfaces. How do you know if the affection you partner proclaims is real or simply part of an elaborate act attributable to heavens knows what motive? And what about his/her lovers of the past: what side that of that person did they see and imagine they knew? How often do we wake up one morning to find that all along we have been 'sleeping with the enemy'?
Sorry if I sound overly cynical or suspicious.
So If you purchase a segment of time from a woman send by an escort company, she will try to make you feel that you are the one client among thousands who really makes her happy. The rest are only 'tricks." You know it is bullshit but you want to believe it. So you believe it. (In fact I have never gone the escort service route, but I have used prostitutes, and some understand completely the fantasy aspect; some don't.) Anyone who thinks that a professional whore should spend all her time perfecting her blowjob technique is himself nothing but a rude, crude dockhand. A great whore must actually be a great actress.
The human mind is the most malleable substance I know of. It can be shaped into anything, from Nazi to Quaker. But the human mind is also a stupendous Craving Machine. It wants, it needs, it hopes, it dreams.
The people who carry these brains around with them have been taught to accept and endure everything the Official Torturer has to offer, but secretly they want a respite, a reprieve. They want to be able to love something without receiving a rejection slip or a kick in the nuts as their reward. And if they can't find it among their own people, they will seek it in a foreigner. And if they don't find it there, they will buy a vibrator or other kind of gadget which does the trick. From the standpoint of intimacy, if these feckless individuals are seen or see themselves as failures among the ranks of the human race -- or if they simply age and become subject to neglect -- they will soon be content with the friendship of the dog or cat or parrot. But if you are one of the love's outcasts yet still robust enough to want sex, this road leads straight to the Doll. And, if the doll eventually starts making more sense than whatever rat pack of people you usually must deal with, then the doll gains status. The Doll becomes Number One. Why not? Haven't we been fooling ourselves all our lives?
We love what validates us and which does not diminish or abandon us. We long to shitcan such crap as corporate politeness, the more artificial aspects of customer service, the basic fakery that cosmetic surgery uses to enhance our appearance. We despise having to worry always about our 'image' at the sacrifice of whatever underlying 'reality' we may secretly possess. We loathe having to hide, hide, hide behind the vast rock that separates the genuine from the plastic.
Ah, but we have been trained in the arts of the plastic. We have been led down the corridors of cyberspace. We have been treated to the wonders of virtual reality. We have had the guided tour through the forests of a twin universe. And, going against the grain of all that people sought for across the centuries behind us, we stand on the brink of a brave new world. Alice (and Eric) in Wonderland.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Monarella.
===Eric Richard Le Roy===