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URB BINARIA
prose [ Science-Fiction ]
The Binar Town

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
by [Noita R Ipsni ]

2012-01-30  |     | 






Urb Binaria

BY OCTAV CHIVULESCU


Edited by Pascal Ilie Virgil

Translation by Zoica Alexandra Sorina




" When you're at sea, you look towards the shore, because that's where you've departed from.
When you're at night, you look towards the stars, because that's where you're from..."

PREFACE
Readers impressions on printed edition

- A book that was not written to be judged; a vision into a world with an infinite number of variables and millions of possibilities...
- A world as I have never seen before... a fantasy world that gives a new definition to life and the reason to exist... on Earth... or anywhere else in the universe...
- It's hard to summarize in a few words the good feeling I was left with after reading this novel.
- I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised by the originality of the idea and especially by the many small philosophies scattered along the story...
- I think we’re facing ideas that could very well become reality in a more or less distant future.
- I consider Urb Binaria to be an excellent book, an original and perhaps visionary idea in the context of humanity’s consciousness and existence.
- In subtle lines, the book manages to create the outline of a vision, to give voice to a thought coming from far away.
- I recommend this book to the fans of the SF genre and also to all those seeking answers to the fundamental questions of our existence.
- I opened the window of my imagination and I let it fly with each line read, farther... I got somewhere between two worlds, I reached places hard to imagine, I smiled, I gazed, I nodded approvingly, I marveled and, most importantly, I learned that... nothing is lost, everything is transformed...
- The final conclusion is that this book was a huge surprise for me and also a very pleasant reading. The author’s consciousness, which transpires between the lines of the book and manages to maintain its integrity in this critical period of humanity, is truly admirable.
- It’s a science fiction novel, just like Jules Verne’s novels seemed to be filled with fantasy in their time. As with him, the acuity of the descriptions, the logic and simplicity of the ideas, lead me to think of someone who has lived these events and then returned in the past to put them on paper in order to raise humanity’s self-consciousness about the need to grow in certain directions.
- Congratulations for the journey made into the future and for making yourself understood in the present. I recommend to those reading the book to treat it as an account from the future and act accordingly, after their own consciousness. Only this way the unique ideas found in the text will become reality sooner or later...


Urb Binaria

"01110101 01110010 01100010

01100010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01101001 01100001"


*

“You will ask me why man is great? Because he has created a second nature? Because he has unleashed almost cosmic powers? Because in an extremely short period of time he has mastered the planet and has forged himself a window into the Universe?
No! Man is great because he has survived and intends to carry on surviving.”

Boris and Arkadi Strugaþki


*
1. PROLOGUE
Or Epilogue?

“Today, around noon, several vehicles were involved in a chain accident which occurred on Highway A15, next to the National Institute of Cryogenics. Unfortunately, several people lost their lives. It is reported that a person driving a scooter, still remaining unidentified, was shattered into pieces after being hit by the speeding cars. An eyewitness tells how his helmet flew through the air and then rolled on the asphalt, several hundred meters.
We will come back with further news from the scene ...”


A piece of news provided by a local radio


*

The operator – who’s going to assist them when they leave, I’m just asking, to keep my thoughts together feeling that they begin to fly randomly, with no consideration for my will, like a swarm of frightened butterflies – welcomes me smiling cordially and invites me to sit on a chair. I do what he said and immediately my black half-helmet starts going down on my head, covering my eyes. I close my eyes and wait, thinking about all that was...

*
2. Starting to wake up

The echoes of the screams “Make way, make way! Easy, Jesus Christ...!” are still banging in my head, when I suddenly realize that I’ve been sleeping and, therefore, decide to open my eyes. I don’t see much. Instead, I feel a sharp pain around my neck. The fog around me - or perhaps from my mind - begins to slightly dissipate, making place for an image. It’s the image of a bearded man’s face wearing a pair of thick, black- framed glasses on whose surface several small, blue lights are blinking. The bearded man keeps beating his fingers on a sort of no key keyboard, paying close attention to the curved monitor in front of him, through which, by the way, I see him, slightly sideways.
Something seems weird, but what? Ah, yes, unnatural is the position from which I look at him... And there’s something else that makes me feel strange... How my body feels. In fact, the way... I hardly feel it. This is really my problem, namely that I feel like I haven’t ever felt before. I try to inhale in order to call out the bearded man, but the unusual physical condition in which I find myself makes me realize, beyond any doubt, that something, indeed, isn’t exactly as it should be. I can’t move my chest muscles! And I can’t feel the air that should have already entered my lungs. Also, it’s not only my eyes that I’m unable to move, but... everything else of me. I feel like paralyzed. Rather, I don’t feel at all.
Curious fact, the words that have already started in my mind somehow make themselves heard. They sound - again I must say - in a totally unnatural, strange way, yet I hear them:
“Sir?...”
The bearded man quickly looks up from the keyboard and, gently turning his head, stares straight into my eyes. His gesture sends me thrills that do nothing but petrify me, even more than I was.
“Excuse me, where am I?”
“Are you awake? Well done! AH20 is awake! Come here!”
The bearded man’s words and gaze determine me, at this moment, to think that all that which followed my recent and illusory awakening is nothing but a new dream. In fact, I believe I’m dreaming I woke up. Everything, my unnatural immobility, the bearded man’s strange glasses, are nothing but a bad dream, a nightmare. Yes, this must be it, I’m still dreaming! I must have slept well, because I feel more rested than I ever remember being.
A blonde woman and a tall guy gathered hastily next to the bearded man and they’re looking at me curiously.
“Stay with us, please don’t worry, everything is ok. Absolutely fine”, the bearded man said.
“I'm not going anywhere! Why are you scaring me? What’s happening? I’m dreaming, right?”
“No, you’re not dreaming”, he continued, “and as for what happened it happened a while back that...it happened. But now everything is ok. And it will be ok from now on. Increasingly more ok.”
“Yeah? ...What exactly happened long time ago and what’s happening now? And if I’m not dreaming, then who’s shouting in my mind to make room?”
“The accident happened a long time ago. You’ve been in a cryogenically frozen state until recently. The voices you can still hear must have belonged to those who have carried you to the hospital then.”
“Then...?”
“Yes. Almost...one hundred and ninety years ago. The voices have remained stuck in your short term memory. It’s the last stored information, the sounds heard before blacking out...”
“Accident? I’ve been frozen for one hundred and ninety years? You're kidding, right?”
“No, we’re not kidding at all. And we are here to help you.”
“Does that mean that I’ve come to the future?”
“No, now you’re in the present. Although, AH20, in these times of waking up, yes, I think you can say that now, indeed, you are in the future. How do you feel?”
“I don’t feel in any way... And why do you keep calling me AH20? Don’t I have a name? I’m going to tell you. I haven’t yet presented myself: my name is... What’s my name? Why don’t I remember my name? Oh... Where am I now? Why is everything so weird around me? Why can’t I move? And where am I standing if you keep looking at me like I’m a painting hanging on a wall? What’s wrong with me? I want to see myself!”
“AH20 stands for your call sign. In whole, it”, the woman beside the bearded man tells me while watching a monitor, after having touched it a few times with her fingers, “is AH20/2215-2-2/800, and we've taken the freedom to use the nickname AH20 while we’ve worked on you.”
“Worked on me? What? Please, help me, I want to see myself!”
“Right away, it’s good that you want to see yourself”, the man with the beard says. “We’re glad to help you. But remember that everything is under control. Even if things won’t seem like they are at the moment. Don’t be scared, you’ve got no reasons, ok?”
“Ok”, I said, strongly doubting this with all my soul.
They looked at each other for a moment, and then the bearded man pulled a mirror from the desk drawer that now is slowly heading my way. The mirror’s movement towards me makes me feel even more unnatural. I feel something odd, like emotions that envelop me as a cold wet blanket. I look in the mirror and, in the next moment, I feel my soul freezing – probably the only part that is not yet paralyzed by the thick fear in which I’m immersed – if I can say such a thing. I continue looking in the mirror and my confused mind finds two or three very good reasons to deny reality, trying not to break down. Immediately, however, I feel it opposing the blockage, then it breaks down again, unable to understand anything of what is happening to me...
I don’t see myself at all in the mirror. No! Truly, I don’t appear in the mirror! All I see is ... But it can’t be! The image reflected by the mirror is that of two small cameras mounted above a sophisticated monitor...
Instead of my body there’s a laptop, and instead of my head there’s a stereoscopic camera. The mirror shows me very clearly that I, in fact, am not in the same room as the bearded man and the others and that my eyes are looking, each of them, at one of the two cameras. But if I’m not in the same room as them and I’m not dreaming, then where the hell am I?


*
3. The First Clarifications

“One hundred and ninety years ago”, the bearded man’s voice wakes me up to reality, “you had a serious traffic accident. Your body didn’t survive the accident, but your head, being protected by the helmet, was recovered and then cryogenized in good conditions. As you can see, it also survived the de-cryogenization procedures very well. In addition, your memory as well, AH20, was recovered without any problems. We managed to move it into Big Dad, and today the program has also managed to restart your self-consciousness. In other words, you’ve come back to life.”
“What are you saying? I don’t have a body anymore? How come? Where am I now?”
“In Big Dad.”
“What’s Big Dad?“
“Big Dad is a supercomputer. Here, in its memory”, the bearded man told me, while the others were nodding approvingly, “you’re going to stay for a while, but not too long, because you’re going to be transfered shortly in a type SWH3 android body. Later, you’ll be able to rise to SOL”, the bearded man added, making a sign with his finger pointing towards the sky, giving me a happy smile.
“I live in a computer? Oh my God!”
“Yes. It’s the only option you’ve got at the moment.”
“I’ll be moving in SOL? In SWH3? What are those?”
“SWH3 is a hypermemory installed in an autonomous bio-android unit, into which you’ll be shortly moved from Big Dad. This will be your new body. You’ll understand more about SOL when the time comes. Now, all you have to do is stay still and accept your new condition. That’s all. Do you understand everything we’re telling you?”
“I understand everything you’re saying. How much longer will I be staying here?”
“Usually, the ones in the same situation as you have only stayed for a few hours, until the program manages to correlate your self-consciousness with the rest of the data saved from your brain.”
“Saved data? What saved data are you talking about?”
“About the information from your mind. Pieces of information which, together, make up the experience of your entire personal life, from your oldest childhood memories to the ones from the time of the accident. Right now, the program is analyzing and arranging the extracted information, afterwards preparing it for assembling. Don’t be afraid, but it’s absolutely normal not to be able to remember anything. You’re isolated from both your long-term memories and from those relatively short-term ones.”
“True, I don’t remember absolutely anything! I don’t have any memory of my past. I can’t even remember my own name!”
“It’s normal to feel like this, don’t be scared. All those like you go through this experience on waking-up. Now, you’re only your own self-consciousness, your ego. Without the assembling procedure you can’t have access to your memorized experiences. You can only reason”, added the bearded man with a smile.
“I see... But will I regain my entire memory?”
“Certainly! Of course, some problem might occur, you know, but absolutely minor. A small amount of your information, the one stored in the parts destroyed by the injury sustained or during the cryogenization process of your brain, might not be recovered. In general, just a small amount of it is lost in such cases. Let’s hope nothing important was lost. In fact, you won’t be able to regret them anyway, as long as you don’t remember them, right? It’s as if they had never existed!”
I was looking at those three who went on smiling at me reassuringly. I asked them:
“How come now I can talk? Why can I remember how to talk?”
“In fact, you’re not talking, you just think you are. The assistant software helps you express your thoughts, transforming them into sound waves reproduced by the speakers through which we can all hear you. This assistant software holds a minimum platform of basic knowledge, necessary for carrying on a dialogue. Also, as you can see for yourself, your short term memory works very well. Otherwise, you’d be asking us each and every minute who we are and where you are...”
“I understand that I don’t have a physical body anymore. I understand that I’ve been moved into the memory of a supercomputer. I even understand how I got here. Now, can you tell me more about what’s going to happen to me?”
“Of course, but within the limits of the protocol for such situations. After your entire memory will accumulate in its place, around your self-consciousness, the program will restore all of its connection bridges for each of the episodes lived and experienced in your life. Then, you’ll be temporarily moved, as I was mentioning earlier, in a third generation autonomous bio-android body, in a SWH3 respectively. With it you’ll be able to move around and live your life in relatively similar conditions to your old, natural body. However, not like before the accident, but anyway, acceptably, considering current circumstances. Moreover, maybe the most important aspect, you’ll be able to participate in the preparation and training lessons that will follow.”
“Training? What training am I going to take?”
“Yes, you are going to take some training. You’ll be accompanied by an instructor, a spiritual guide, who will explain everything you don’t know, teaching you about everything that’s going to happen to you. Only after you’ll finish your preparation program, will you be able to decide, in full knowledge of the case, if you’re going to be moved to Urb Binaria or not.”
“Urb Binaria? What’s that? And you’re saying I’ll decide? Why?”
“You’ll find out all these in due time, trust me. Now all you have to do is stay still for some time. We’ll let you know as soon as we start the assembling procedures of your memory installed with the recovered memories. You’ll be off for some time.”


*
4. The Guide

“AH20?”
It’s me they’re calling. I’m AH20, damn it, I say to myself, remembering all of a sudden the discussion I had with the bearded man and the entire nightmare situation that I found myself in! I answer while opening my eyes:
“Yes? Who’s calling me?”
“Hi. I am Uwe, your guide. The instructor designated by the society to help you pass through the special adaptation program.”
I can see in front of me a white background which, as my sight focalizes, turns out to be the room’s ceiling. Overlapped, there is the face of my guide that I see in an unreal way, bidimensional, as if I looked at a photo.
However, I rapidly start seeing better and better. Yes, now I can see my guide for the first time. She is bent over me, watching me sideways with her big eyes. She wears her hair tied at the back and, as I can see... taking a peek, she wears some sort of dark blue uniform with narrow, white stripes.
“Hi, I am... Dall.”
“I see that you’ve remembered your name, an indication that the operation of memory relocation has succeeded. So Dall was your name...”
“Yes, this is my name. Indeed, I see that I’ve remembered it. But how come you didn’t know it?”
“We didn’t know your past because you’ve been recovered from an abandoned cryogenic warehouse whose archives had been destroyed in a fire a long time ago. For this reason, your identity could not be established. For a while, more precisely until they managed to extract the data and to relocate them in Big Dad, the guys simply called you... the Head. After the success of the operation, you became AH20.”
“The Head? How come?”
“Because in the traffic accident you had you lost your head. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that you lost your... body. Your head – as we found out searching through the news of the time – was detached from the body and thrown into the air as a consequence of the impact, rolling close to the gates of an Cryogenics Institute where from it was picked up and cryogenized by the Institute personnel. We found you, as we were saying, in one of the frozen containers left among the ruins of what was once the underground warehouse of that Cryogenics Institute. Your head was cryogenized after having been extracted from a protective helmet. Those in your time cryogenized it just like this, as an experiment, without the conviction that it’ll ever be possible to bring you back to life.”
“I’m finding out quite unpleasant things.”
“They probably thought to study it later on, I don’t know. They didn’t hurry at all. And this delay then put the guys from recoveries to enough trouble.”
“It’s only now that I start to understand what the bearded doctor kept telling me about the accident. And now, that my memory has come back as well, I can even remember some moments before the accident...”
“Can you stand up?”
“Stand up? Well, can I? I am not in a computer anymore?”
“No, you’re in a SWH3.”
I lifted my head suddenly and I saw the rest of my body. Then I let my head fall back slowly, smiling. Smiling? Yes, I thought to myself, the bearded man’s guys have already moved me into my new body. Plus, I’ve remembered my name and I can see that other memories are coming back to me as well! For a start I believe this is a good sign. Oh my God, what an incredible experience! And it seems I’m not quite dreaming...
“AH20, can you stand up? Let’s see what you’re capable of!”
Helped by the guide, I followed her advice, still leaning on what was turning – while I was trying to stand up – from some kind of bed into a sort of wheelchair, but without wheels. I managed to take up the sitting position on the chair, and after some unsuccessful strain, I finally stood up straight.
“Fantastic”, I say, “it’s like I’ve risen from the dead!”
I took a few unsteady, heavy steps, thinking of how much progress science and tehnology have made in the meantime...
“Yes, you could also say you’ve risen from the dead”, Uwe said, smiling at me warmly. That you’ve returned, I consider it suits your situation better.”
“Uwe, do you have a mirror?”
“There’s one right in the room on your left. Let’s go there.”
I carefully turned to my left and then I started dragging my feet, leaning on the room wall, until I got to the room shown to me. Then I looked into the mirror. My new body looks absolutely flawless. For a bio-android, of course. Incredible, but I don’t think that in my time anybody could have imagined that something like this is actually possible...
“Well, what does it look like?”
“I don’t look that bad for a resurrected dead man. Returned, sorry. Is everything made of... plastic and metal?”
“In a way, yes and no. There are also some other new bio-materials created by genetic engineering that there’s no way you know them, because they were discovered while you were absent from the world. Those special materials will go on self-shaping for a while, taking the final form of your face. Your face is in an aging process right now! It will look different from the way it looks now because it will change according to the memories you have of your own real face. You’re undergoing a complete transformation now...”
“Really? And how long will this process take?”
“About a week. The bio-nano material your face is made of works fast enough. However, don’t expect any miracles, you won’t look like you were in reality, but as an android, yet like one that will somehow bear a resemblance to you. Therefore, each face obtains the best personalization possible, and it will be easier for you to accept it.”
“Interesting! This thing is really interesting.”
I am curiously examining myself in the big mirror in front of me.
“Where does the name SWH3 come from? Do these initials mean anything?”
“They are the initials chosen in the memory of Stephen William Hawking.”
“And what did this gentleman do?”
“It is said he was a powerful mind that lived imprisoned in its own body. The mind of a great scientist in a completely paralized body. He was talking to the ones around him by means of an artificial voice, created with a computer...”
“I’m sorry, but I haven’t heard of him.”
All of a sudden, I think of everything that has to come next, so I ask:
“And afterwards, Uwe? What will happen to me? Why do I have to go to Urb Binaria? Why can’t you leave me here in the world? Directly outside, on the streets?”
“Are you in a hurry to find out everything at once? We have all the time left in the world! We’ll make all your present and future... queries become clear, regardless of their nature. But, first of all, let’s try to get to the Gym Area, where I’ll help you get familiar with using your new body.”
“After you, Guide!” I replied gratefully, following her with unsteady steps like those of a child.



*
5. The First Briefing

Today, I finally managed to go through the entire complex track of obstacles and devices in speed and with no mistakes, and Uwe smiled:
“Going well, AH20! You’re doing great, as if you were born in this body! Who would guess that you’ve been in it for only a week...”
“Yes, I feel perfect in it”, I answered, stopping at the end of the race. “I move as I used to do once in my own body. It’s fantastic how the connections between my mind and the machinery are made. How did they manage to do this perfect joining?”
“Simple enough, in principle. I’m telling you this because you now exist in the form of information present in the processing circuits of the machinery. Same as, of course, you were still information when you were a man, just that at the time you were living in the brain of your body. And you were doing it the same as you “live” now in the hypermemory of this SWH3, you know...”
“Aha”, I remark, still trying to smile with my new face, “so this is very simple! Anyway, the fact that I can move again restores my confidence and my mental balance.”
“This is one of the main goals of this relocation to a new body – naturally restoring the balance of your being. Otherwise, you could have remained in the memory of Big Dad, where you would have been updated in only a few seconds.”
“I understand”, I said, then I asked: “Guide, when will we go out? I want to let the feeling of amazement overwhelm me as I watch all the wonders of the future. I want to see the world, to see how far the evolution of the human race and of the human society has got while I was absent... Anyway, I feel very strange thinking that almost my whole world, all those I was living next to, no longer exist today. They’re all gone. Absolutely all. And this thought makes me feel like in a foreign world, but one that I urgently want to make friends with. I want to know it!”
“It’s not foreign, you know. It’s the humans’ one and the same world just that it substantially differs from everything that you could have imagined so far. We’ll get out, we have this objective in our training program as well, but firstly the two of us have to work together on this and that. We need to practice the knowledge of the present a little so that later on we can move on to understanding... the future.”
“I’m trying to understand you. Actually I just wanted to ask you a few other things.”
“I’m listening.”
“Uwe, how long will I be able to live in my new body? What’s its approximate self-sufficiency and what total life cycle has it got? I am powered with nuclear energy?”
“I’ll answer you in turns. No, you are not powered with nuclear energy. There’s been a long time since nuclear energy was given up on! It wasn’t used anymore when I was born. It was much too risky. In the meantime, even the energy which was discovered after the LHC project was surpassed – I assume you’ve heard it was being talked about in your time. This was based on extracting energies, very high ones actually, resulted from the splitting of the atom nucleus... The procedure was quite unstable and the necessary technology very expensive. Nowadays, this energy, the one which also powers your body, is indeed inexhaustible, natural and absolutely nonpollutant.”
“Yes, I’ve heard things about the LHC experiment, but I didn’t have the chance to find out if it was successful eventually. My God, it’s been such a long time since then... Two hundred years of progress... And this new energy, you’re saying that it’s inexhaustible and that powerful?”
“Yes, it is. Look, the fire obtained from burning some pieces of wood is the energy resulted from the disintegration of the molecules of the cells which make up the structure of a plant. If you considered the invention of fire as being the first step of an energy staircase and you compared it with the next step, nuclear energy respectively, you could realize the height of the steps of this staircase and so you could understand how powerful the next step is, that of the LHC energy, above which, higher, today’s energy would be the step which follows in terms of value...”
“Value, you say?”
“Of course.”
“You’re telling me that this new energy is more powerful than the LHC, which in turn is more powerful than the nuclear one, as this one is, in turn, more powerful than that of fire?”
“Yes, broadly speaking, something like that.”
“I’m surprised, what else can I say! Well done! This means that heating, cooling, even transport, are no longer an issue for you, are they?”
“Absolutely, that’s it, you’ve got it.”
“But what kind of energy is this?”
“It is the energy that builds everything that exists around us.”
“Namely? What do you mean?”
“I mean that eveything that exists in the space around us, material or not, including even the void, is actually made of energy. We’re submerged in energy same as fish are in ocean water, you understand? And us, today, are directly harvesting this energy, without being necessary to produce it technologically in any other way.”
“Ok, I understand you don’t produce it, but, if I function with this type of energy, this means that you store it somehow in me, don’t you? In my body, for example, there must be some batteries.”
“No, you haven’t got it. Don’t simply understand energy as thermal water full of calorific energy, but as water in motion. The energy that I’m talking about, in order to exist, is on a continuous move which takes place with an extremely high speed. It can’t lie still, because, if it does, it would cease to be energy.”
“I see...”
“This energy is, rather, as the whirling water of a river which strongly flows downhill. You can’t use the river’s energy by getting a bucket of water from the flowing turbulence which spins the old mill wheel and take it back into the house to use it. You have to use the motion of the water. In order to set in motion, let’s say, an electric generator, you understand?”
“Now I understand.”
“So, you don’t have batteries full of this energy, you simply have some special connectors, located somewhere on the back of your body. Same as plugging in a device, just that the plug is located anywhere in the space around you! All objects that function based on energy, from the most uncomplicated to the last interstellar ship, have their own set of such connectors.”
“Incredible! To have access to such force and power... Well done! Honestly, well done!”


*
6. The Age of Consciousness

“Let’s get back to your earlier question now, regarding the service life of your body, AH20. A third generation SWH would practically have unlimited energetical usage, but...”
“But... what? Will I have to change it with newer models, as it goes out of fashion? I hope that’s what you want to say”, I asked impatiently.
“Your body can function many hundreds of years from now on, but the truth is that, unfortunately, you’ll only be able to use it for a few months.”
“Only for a few months? But why? I don’t understand you anymore... I have to change it?”
The guide slightly closed her eyelids, barely noticeable, after which she slowly turned her eyes sideways.
“What, I won’t live that long? Is that what you’re trying to tell me? Relax and tell me, I don’t mind. Anyway, I’ve already been dead lately, remember?” I said with a smile.
My trully childish attemp to ease the tension that had unexpectedly arisen a little remained completely unnoticed, judging by the guide’s reactions. Uwe slightly looked up at me and said:
“Die? You’re information, AH20. From now on you can live as long as you want. Information never dies. All I wanted to say is that...”
“Wait a second! Sorry, please, we’ll come back to what you wanted to say in a moment... What do you mean by "I can live as long as I want?" I wouldn’t want to misunderstand again...”
“Yes, you can live as long as you like because you exist in the form of information, and therefore are immaterial. You are now an informationally organized energy entity. Your consciousness, I mean your self-consciousness, that important part of the human being, the soul, the ego of each of us, well, it is by its very nature an immaterial entity, which can’t ever grow old. In addition, your experience, which completes your inner being, is also, memorized information and can be considered either way, old-fashioned or obsolete, but by no means can it die of old age, so to say. Therefore, you can no longer die. And you can’t grow old either!”
“How come?”
“The self-consciousness of each of us doesn’t alter with the passage of time, but it always remains the same. Briefly, it can’t grow old!”
“To be honest, I don’t think I understood you. My consciousness, my ego, doesn’t grow old?”
“No, it never grows old. It dresses up continuously, such as a rolling snowball, with new experiences. Everyone’s image of their own body, which matures and grows old, induces the idea that one is old. The material body is something that has to be regarded as being completely separated from your self- consciousness, which is a timeless spiritual entity. From the first day of existence of your self-consciousness – that you can remember – and until its last day, you’ll be the same you!”
“Still me?”
“Yes, still you. Even when you dream while sleeping, it’s still you. It is yourself that you dream as being the main character, isn’t it?”
“Yes, something like that, I’ve never dreamt of myself as being somebody else... My mother, my brother or my neighbour... It makes sense what you’re saying. Everything seems to always spin only around me in dreams, just like in reality. Self-consciousness remains the same observer, is that what you want to say?”
“Yes, the same observer. And it has always been you, only you every time, in any circumstance of your life. Since you were a child and until today, it was you and only you that stayed behind your thoughts. Or, I’d rather say, in their center. And when I say “you”, I mean exactly your self-consciousness. You, the one behind the eyes, haven’t felt older, as your body felt, but, with the passage of time, you just felt that you’ve learnt something new, didn’t you?”
“Let me think about it a little. Yes, what you’re saying does make sense. Thinking this way, another thought makes sense. But we’ll drift away from the subject.”
“Never mind, it’s my turn to assure you that we’ll get back to the initial topic of discussion. What thought? It’s important to clarify any aspect as soon as it comes up.”
“Well, I’d noticed something, it’s not that important...”
“What exactly did you notice?”
“Well, I noticed that when I was very young I used to like young and beautiful girls and so, I thought that old men must like old women. I believed, at that time, that every generation sees as fit for it only the ones who are the same age as theirs: little boys like little girls, male teenagers like female teenagers, young men like young women, grown-up men like grown-up women and old men likewise.”
“Ok, so? What did you notice?”
“I noticed that the older I got...”
“Yes?”
“Well, nothing...”
“You still liked young and beutiful girls, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I’m not saying that I actually liked them, but I considered them the most beautiful, you know what I mean. And this means that, in my mind, I’ve always remained the same young man. Only the mirror was the one that brought me back to reality every single time. I think that if there hadn’t been any mirrors in the world, we wouldn’t have... taken notice of our age and looks, each of us. Not knowing what I look like, I would have taken to the woman I would’ve liked, and that woman, in turn, having no idea what she looks like, couldn’t have estimated if she is suitable for me or not, accepting me...”
“Just as things happen in the animal world, don’t they? There, in their world, there isn’t such a thing as age, and there is no age because animals don’t have consciousness of their self and hence neither of the way they look like, or of their age... As far as your idea with the mirrors goes, that’s their role, isn’t it? To show self-consciousness what the body looks like. It is surely not self-consciousness that looks into the mirror, is it?”
“Really, you’re right, I didn’t realise that until now, but it seems that people’s self-consciousness isn’t growing old, it’s just growing richer, accumulating new experiences, as you were remarking. Such a strange thing... No, I’ve never actually thought of this so far, I have to admit.”
“Just like you’re saying, AH20! And if self-consciousness – the soul or the essence of humans, whatever you call it – weren’t betrayed by the fragility of the human body, it could practically live forever. Actually, I think you’ve noticed that the average life expectancy, thanks to the benefits of science in general, and of medicine and genetics in particular, has increased from 30 years, as it was at the beginning of human existence, up to 90 years, in your time, and to almost 150 years nowadays. And, over and over again, the self-consciousness in people’s minds, the ego of each of us, has existed unharmed by the passage of time, even if it lived three to five times more that in the past, feeling young and mighty until the body that supported it eventually collapsed. Old people start forgetting things and so they become degraded, but only because the nerve cells in their brains die of physical old age and not because their mind, their ego, their self-consciousness, information itself respectively, would grow old... The body is mortal, but self-consciousness isn’t! Just that it has no alternative – when its support perishes, self-consciousness disappears as well. We are the witnesses of the transformations undergone by our bodies, beyond the limit which they’ve been, so to say, designed to reach. Beyond its natural service life. And this is, again, due to our life assisted by civilization, in which the contribution of medicine and genetics is predominant.”
“Oh, same as a melody on a magnetic tape which is crumpled and distorts the information on it and in the end, once the tape is torn, it’s completely lost.”
“Sort of”, Uwe added. “Sort of... Or, same as an important thing written on a rotting papyrus...”
“Good, I’ve got it, and I agree with everything you’ve told me. But let’s get back to the reason why you were saying that I can’t use my body for more than a few months. I’m looking forward to your answer with burning curiosity and, at the same time, with confidence in the future. You’re saying that the mind never dies, that it can use its new body for several hundreds of years, and, however, I understand that this happy equation will have to fall apart in just a few months, is that it?”
“Yes! Come, we’d better go outside, to the park. I’ll tell you there.”
“Come”, I remarked impatiently.


*
7. The Second Briefing

The garden that we usually go out to during the breaks between the hours spent in the Gym Hall is a surprisingly beautiful one. A huge inner court, packed with tall trees and all kinds of plants, some of them full of vividly colored flowers. Amidst the leaves lots of enchanting little birds fly chippering happily. The air is clean and scented and everything is bathing in the pleasant light of the sun. We sat on a bench. Looking at Uwe, I asked her:
“Can we continue our disscusion?”
“Yes, AH20. Let’s continue it...”
“Tell me, please, what’s going to happen next? Since I got here, everything seems to be in a continuous transformation! First, I jump from a nightmare into a beautiful dream, and afterwards everything remains suspended in uncertainty. And then, what’s so mysterious and needs so much preparation? I understand that I, my consciousness of the self...”
“And of the things around it...”
“And of the things around it, of course... My consciousness, you’re saying, can live forever?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“And my new body has got an autonomy of at least several hundreds of years? Have I got it right?”
“Yes, that’s right, at least three-four hundred years.”
“Good! So far, so good and that’s fine by me. And after the three hundred years can’t I obtain another body? Maybe even an improved one, right?”
“Yes, theoretically you could... Actually, there are already android bodies much more technologically advanced than the one you are in now. You were assigned a SWH3 precisely because it was taken into account the fact that you won’t remain too long in this body.”
“Theoretically, you’re saying, I could obtain another body. Well, that’s exactly what I want you to tell me: what’s missing here? Why can’t I get it? It seems everything will remain yet another beautiful dream that won’t come true. Something must be opposing it, but I can’t see what exactly?”
“Yes, you reason correctly, something is opposing it. But you should know that, at the same time, your beautiful dream can go on.”
“Well, I thought there must be something! So, do you still have something to tell me?”
“Yes, there is actually a lot more to say.”
“Such as, let’s say, that you’re going to talk to me about Urb Binaria? And about SOL?”
“Yes, something like that, AH20.”
“Then, what’s Urb Binaria? And why does it oppose me living hundreds of years?”
“No, it doesn’t oppose.”
“But what then? And how long will I be able to enjoy my new existence in my new body?”
“AH20, you’ll live in your new body for only a couple of months. This is, unfortunately, already sealed reality. Urb Binaria is the new address for the human world – a new world in fact, not just an address, a new dimension. And this new dimension of the world is located in a quantic hypercomputer mounted into SOL, the cosmic sphere which hosts it and protects it. SOL is a Titan sphere built in space, on the “foundation” offered by the orbital station. On clear nights you can see it with the naked eye.
“Urb Binaria is the new address of the world? How come? A dimension located in a computer? A sphere called SOL?... What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Sol is the abbreviation for Sol Invictus, namely the undefeated sun. As I was saying, you can see it on the sky at night. It is a blue, small and very bright point, situated on a circular orbit around the Earth, next to the other satellites. The sphere was “raised to the sky” on a day also marked by deep significance.”
“Which exactly?”
“Its construction was officially begun on a day of December 25. And its opening took place on the same date, but a few years later. Since then, this day bears the name Natalis Solis Invicti.
“Aha! Natalis Solis Invicti, meaning...”
“... the date of birth of the undefeated sun.”
“That’s interesting”, I said, thinking that either Uwe was cracking jokes, or that I was dreaming again.
“For the moment, Sol Invictus revolves around the Earth, but in a few months it will set out on its trip without return through the depth of the Cosmos.”
“Can I ask you something?”
Uwe nodded approvingly.
“I have some more questions. Why did people move to Urb Binaria? Why is Sol Invictus going away and not staying here? And what’s the connection between its planned departure in a few months and the same few months that I’ve got left to live in this bio-synthetic body, old-fashioned android, or how else you call it?”
“There is a direct connection, of course... And, in order for you to understand this, you’ll have to find out something very unpleasant. Humankind is leaving the planet immediately because in a few months the Earth will be destroyed by the collision with a huge asteroid. In just a few months, the planet will turn into a sphere of incandescent lava.”
Suddenly I felt a bad, severe burn, overflowing a terribly bitter taste straight into my soul... Damn it, I thought to myself... We still haven’t escaped. Damn asteroid, why the hell did it find it necessary to destroy this wonderful world... Afterwads, I looked into Uwe’s eyes and I asked her:
“Are you guys sure?”
“Yes, very sure!”
“And what’s going to happen to everybody?”
“As I was telling you, AH20, most human beings have already been transfered to SOL, in the virtual dimension Urb Binaria, namely the Binary Town.”
“But how? How did they fit in? How big is the sphere?”
“AH20, same as you’ve ceased to live in your biological body destroyed in the accident, and live instead in a hypermemory located in an artificial body, humankind is likewise living in the virtual dimension called Urb Binaria, hosted by the small, artificially created sphere, Sol Invictus. There are now very few inhabitants left on Earth. We are among them, the ones who are trying to recover and embark them on SOL, at the last moment, the last ones, special cases such as yours or of those who are stubborn enough to remain here, waiting for the intervention of who knows what miraculous rescuer...”
“And that damn asteroid, can’t you deviate it, or destroy it? With so much technology at your disposal? With all the power and energy that you told me you can master?”
“No, there’s nothing that can be done now. We could have, but only if the other worlds before ours, among which the world you come from, hadn’t wasted the bulk of their energy and the potential of their creative intelligence exclusively on destruction, and the rest of energy on trifling and useless things. And if there hadn’t been so many fratricide wars, or at least if the lives of millions of kids had been spared, war casualties, victims of famine or of accidents which could have been easily avoided. And, when I say this, I think of those exceptional kids, predestined to help civilization advance some hundreds of years. These kids would have become other Edisons or Einsteins, or... a great many other exceptional researchers or geniuses that you haven’t had the chance to know because they lived during the perioad you were absent from the world.”
“Aha, I understand and regret... But you can’t really do anything about it? I still can’t believe it!”
“But something has already been done, the human race is sheltered! The human race will survive. But we couldn’t do anything to save the planet and everything that it means.”
“Yes, you’re right in fact, I’m sorry.”
“The present inherited by my generation had its destiny written on its forehead: already too late. You, however, the ones from yesterday, could have still changed the future of today, but you didn’t care much about it... But after all, that’s how it was meant to be, nobody’s accusing anyone. And anyway, as you can see, the solution we found we also applied successfully...”
It seemed to me that Uwe’s eyes were a little wet, and I experienced the vague sensation of a nervous thrill.


*
8. Old Anxieties and New Questions

“I’m terribly sorry. All the things I’ve found out are awful... And, to a certain extent, I feel somehow guilty for everything that...“
“You’re not to blame, AH20, considered just as an individual. Maybe you were a good and responsible person, and like you, of course, there were other millions and millions. The world however, the world taken as a whole, has always been worse than better and completely irresponsible for its own existence...”
“And it’s that irresponsible world I come from! I’m sick of all these! Including myself...”
“AH20, I don’t want you to think of this anymore, Ok? You can imagine what the reaction of those who received the apocalyptic news during their lifetime was. The global reaction... Today, each inhabitant of the planet lives at peace with this idea, focusing their attention and creative energy on the positive side of Urb Binaria. And I have to confess that, from a certain perspective I’m going to reveal to you soon, Urb Binaria is a much better world than the old one. In fact, to tell you the truth, there’s no comparison between the two.”
“I’m glad to hear this... Yes, I imagine it must have been terrible – finding out about the asteroid... I’ve been wondering, for some time now, why did you save me after all? That is, how is it that you could still think about such a thing...”
“The world has changed a lot in recent years, AH20, and particularly from the moment of the discovery of The Spear, ‘cause that’s how the asteroid was named. And that’s not because of its shape, as in reality it is a sphere of almost 500 kilometers in diameter, but due to the precision with which it is heading towards here... It was discovered at the time I was born. From that moment on, the world has no longer been the same. My generation was the last generation of new born babies. People stopped having children, and my generation was the one that grew up, not as it’s said with the sword above its head, but with the spear thrown into its direction.”
“It’s sad, very sad indeed. However, why can’t it be destroyed before reaching the Earth?”
“It’s much too big, even for our forces! Compare it with the asteroid which made the dinosaurs disappear, 65 million years ago, which was just ten kilometers in diameter. The Spear is almost five hundred kilometers in diameter! If it were broken, the pieces resulting from the explosion would be rapidly pulled back together by gravity, because they would attract each other, taking the shape of a ball in just a few days. And this ball would keep the destructive kinetic energy of the asteroid intact...”
“Now I understand what you mean.”
“Its kinetic energy is huge. Imagine a rock, mostly made of metal, five hundred kilometers in diameter, which travels with a speed of several tens of thousands of kilometers per hour! The energy would remain intact in case of its explosion, being transferred to its constituent parts. Also, its initial orbit would remain intact. The effort would be completely useless...”
“Can’t it be deviated either?”
“Its deviation wasn’t possible on the same grounds of its huge accumulated mass and energy. Both have such high values that we can’t intervene. The spear is hundreds of times faster than a bullet and it has this enormous mass. It’s much too heavy and fast to give it a sufficiently powerful push.”
“But then, can my world be blamed? I’m not saying that we haven’t been irresponsible, but, in this particular case, it seems that destiny is... merciless.”
“Not quite. Theoretically, the Spear could have been shifted from its current orbit to another one which would have avoided the Earth, if it had been pushed sideways, but for a longer time than we had at our disposal. If so many generations hadn’t wasted their time, we would have caught up with today’s technology a little earlier. And so, the Spear would have passed by, deviated at a sufficiently safe distance from the planet. Today, even if we could push it aside by means of some special engines sent into space with the starship fleet, there isn’t enough time for the deviation to be sufficient and efficient.”
“Why?”
“Around ten years of pushing would have been necessary. This pushing would have taken place while the asteroid went on travelling forward with its huge speed, therefore, the ships should have been sent some years in advance in order to intercept The Spear at the ten-year-distance from the planet necessary for the pushing. But all this display of forces was impossible to achieve, technologically speaking, because of the delay in the handing over of knowledge... If only we had had a ten year start at our disposal. If the human race had been able to save at least those years of true peace in the last five or six thousand years of more advanced existence, the planet could have been saved! But, as we all know, it wasn’t possible...”
I lowered my head and, staying like this, I continued:
“I’m trying to imagine the shock that spread over the world then, on hearing the news...”
“Yes, it was very difficult. But it was the most difficult for those who heard the ill-fated news during their lifetime, because we, the last generation, took things as they were. We grew up knowing the exact day and time when the final hour of the planet would strike. Anyway, from that moment on, our society changed definitely and finally. Although that society, severely put to test by life, had already reached a high degree of maturity and responsibility. Along with finding out Day Zero, people realized, each and every one of them, that everything that exists on either side of the joy of existence and of the love for life is nothing but a sum of insignificant details. Dust in the wind. Futility...”
“We knew this one, too...”
“Yes, but without truly realizing it... It’s one thing to know that you’re going to die one day, and it’s another thing to know the precise day, especially if it’s not too distant...”
“I imagine you’re right. You’re saying that the world had improved?”
“Yes, as I was saying, the world had evolved spiritually more than you could ever imagine. People’s preoccupations with excessive enriching had almost disappeared completely. They even ran away from the burden this enriching brought to free life. Today’s world, AH20, almost all of it, and not just most of it, looks very much like an anthill. There’s a big family...”
“Of humankind!”
“No! The family of life. No one is guided anymore by the one and only goal of having, but of living, as intensely and purely as possible, the experience of each moment of life. Ever since the entire creative energy of the human mind has been exclusively directed at construction and not destruction, at life and not death, at good and not evil, the reward received by the members of the society was the genuine wealth – both material, and spiritual. Those were times of great joy. Such times that mankind had never before known in its entire history.”
“I’d like you to talk to me about all these”, I asked the guide.
“Although there hadn’t been money in use for a while, people possessed more than at the time money existed. There weren’t anymore substantial material differences between people and everything truly belonged to everybody. They were all spending their spare time wherever they wanted, on the entire planet turned into a huge tourist area... Everyone was working with pleasure and the conviction that they brought welfare to the healthy society that they lived in, and to their fellow humans. Man offered to one single society what he could achieve with his own two hands and received, in exchange, from the same society, his share of the fruit of billions of fellow creatures’ work. Humankind has become a very big family, that you are also part of now. That’s why you were saved... Our new currency is... love. Everything we do is motivated by our love for life, and not for money!”
“Now I understand. People really behaved like malicious kids. That’s so, indeed. In my time, everything was reduced to possessing as much as possible. And not only this, but also flaunting it. They were showing off their wealth as if they were waving the victory flag on the battle field... At least, as far as I remember from my time. What you’re describing to me seems like a world truly made up of mature and responsible persons...”
“Well said! All these were taking place until recently, as now people have already been evicted from the planet.”
“I’m trying to imagine how it must be to lead a life in which you don’t have to be in a continuous selfish competition.”
“Very relaxing. All members of society felt this shift from one life to another very liberating. Liberation from a burden that had weighed on for too long. If you’d ever stop to analyze your own life, you’ll see how much of the lived time has been wasted uselessly: making future plans that are impossible to achieve, or being preoccupied by the insignificant things around you that seemed to go hand in hand to get you into trouble. Even trying hardest not to leave you in peace, am I right? From the spot on your new coat, to the crack on your car windshield...”
“You know that I was very often making jokes about “the conspiracy of the wretched things”. There were even some so-called “laws” that this conspiracy followed, Murphy’s Laws!”
“I don’t know them... Anyway, let me continue, the human society had started attaining a sense of responsibility as early as 2015, during the period of spiritual enlightenment of that time which followed the Great Crisis of 2012. So, a long time before finding out the news about the asteroid. Ever since, people have started making the difference between I and we. Practically, man had finally come to understand that living in a civilized world he got much more from the society than he had to offer in exchange. He gives from the little he has and receives from a whole world, past and present. As a member of the human society, all people had to do was to be responsible for his position within the society. In exchange, he received the fruit of the work of an entire society. He benefited from the science of schooling and education, medicine, with its doctors and medication, roads, cars and planes. He had access to all the imaginable products, from food to everything that can be found in a house, from furniture to heating and electricity. He benefited from the fruit of the entire work and all the knowledge of the human race, stored from the beginnings. Basically, things that a single person is never able to produce by himself... Please, excuse me, AH20, if I talk with so much pathos, but these are memories of some dear and far-away times... Of our close ancestors.”
“Guide, I’m all eyes and ears: for me these are stories from the future! I wouldn’t have believed that this type of relationship can truly work in the human society.”
“It is true that the discovery of the source of energy I was telling you about earlier had a decisive impact. On the one hand, this led to the take over of production activities by hyperspecialized robots, and on the other hand, to the take over of the administrative and organizational tasks of the society by complex computerized organizational systems...”
“So, instead of corruptible leaders there were incorruptible programs! Now I understand how it was possible to advance so much... Interesting, I must admit that my future, your past, was quite interesting...”
“I suppose you can say that. If the individual could organize himself resorting to computer technology, why wouldn’t have this worked at the level of the society?”
“Yes, of course, you’re right. Uwe, by the way, what’s the reason for training me?”
“The role of this training act is to help you know and understand the path followed by the human race until now, for better and for worse, in order to reach the current level of awareness. This level is necessary to be assimilated, in order to be able to finally choose, in full knowledge of the situation, if you stay here or go to Urb Binaria. It’s every human being’s right, stipulated in the Universal Constitution. In addition, this training also has the role to reduce the information gap so that you can easily adapt to living in Urb Binaria.”
“Ok, but I could decide now, on the spot: I choose life, not death! I choose the virtual world and not the Earth...”
“Yes, you would certainly choose life, but you wouldn’t be doing it in full knowledge of the case, AH20. Because you are choosing now between life and death, although the choice that you have to make is between an existence of a few months and eternity! These are two extreme limits. One is very short, and it’s natural you don’t choose it, and the other one is stunningly long, so long that you aren’t going to survive it without adequate preparation! You can’t go there, to Urb Binaria, unless you realize the real dimension you’re going to enter into. It’s all about the ability, not to mention the willingness, to live an eternity! The same way death represents an unwanted limit, eternity is also a limit which, even if it’s situated on the other side of the axis of time from where death is, it’ll be at least as hard to survive.”
“Your words are starting to scary me. So the alternative is eternity?... Why?”
“Yes, AH20, the alternative that we can offer you is eternity. And the fear you say you’re experiencing right now, is the first responsible reaction I was expecting from you. Plus, you must also know that Urb Binaria doesn’t receive in its world anything but what is good in people. And when it comes to you, as I’ve already told you, we don’t know much about you...”
“Aha, now it’s perfectly clear!”
“Everything that is evil in the human nature must stay behind and burn along with the planet. It depends on each one’s choice if they want to see Day Zero from the very spot, staying behind, on the planet, or if they want to watch it on the holographic monitors, sitting comfortably in an armchair, in the new world.”



*
9. The First Lesson

Everything Uwe said made sense. So, this was the back door, the fire exit, which humanity had found in its existential evolution path: escape into a virtual dimension. A life protected by the shell of a small titanium cocoon thrown into the vastness of space and time.
That also explains the sympathy with which the new generations of my time embraced, since infancy, the new technology, especially computers, but also the need to communicate with each other, to be bound by communication, either by phone or by internet network. Therefore, that’s how I explain the irresistible attraction of sitting in front of the computer shown by the young, to the dismay of their parents, truly immersed in the virtual world: predestination! Humanity today is immersed in another dimension! And why not, after all? I myself am experiencing such a crossing. A new idea comes to my mind, so I ask:
“Still, why this way and not just move to another planet?”
“First”, Uwe said, “we’re too far from planets that would maintain life as Earth does. Then, I have to say that it would’ve been much easier for us to maintain life in a cocoon immersed in molten steel in the midst of an operating furnace, than to do so in the Cosmos filled with all kinds of radiation and so many other hostilities. Slowly, gradually, people understood that our way didn’t go back into the equally molten and frozen crucible, where from we were coming, but in a totally different direction. In time, you’ll find other interesting things about human nature and then you’ll understand that our purpose is not to run from one planet to another, but is quite different... And finally, how to move everything from an entire planet? And why move an entire planet? You, for example, you’ve been moved to SHW3 with no need for you to take a single atom from your physical body, right?”
“Yeah, it makes sense. Guide, can I ask you something else?”
“Sure, please ask.”
“Are there many who’ve chosen not to go to Urb Binaria?”
“Enough, unfortunately. Not as a percentage of the total population, but as a number.”
“Who are they? Among them I think there should be the criminals and murderers who’ve been refused entry?”
“There are several categories. Most of them, indeed, are those who couldn’t change for the better, permanently renouncing the evil in their minds... Others are those whose ultra-religious dogmas prevent them from accepting reality. Then, there are some nostalgics who prefer, although aware of the consequences, to stay here. They argue that the earth has given us life and cared for us, and we are to leave it on its last journey?”
“Well, that’s just stupid!”
“Fortunately, we have many of them that change their mind daily or accept that at least some members of their families to be saved in Urb Binaria. And, anyway, as time passes, more and more people change their mind, following the rest of humanity.”
“It's hopeful”, I said.
“You were wondering about the criminals? It’s going to be difficult for you to believe, AH20, but many criminals have passed the embarking tests for Urb Binaria.”
“How? Make me understand! What tests?”
“Yes, you'll understand more after you’re going to explain yourself the true nature of human duality. Many of them managed to break away from everything that was wrong within them.”
“You mean they’ve... repented?”
“You can say so, if you want. But actually, it’s not about the religious term, nor is it about tearful promises of change, but a clear, final surrender, made with conviction, an almost physical detachment from the evil that once dominated their souls and their consciences. It’s like an operation - performed live and lucidly – for separating the diseased tissue from the rest of the body. Only, here we’re talking about separating evil from the mind, and in this case the true and sincere regret is the sharpest scalpel.”
“I understand now. In theory it’s very beautiful and honest, but I still don’t get how you can be sure the operation is going to succeed.”
“It's pretty simple. There are a series of virtual tests in which the subject is severely challenged, being convinced he’s experiencing reality. The tests cannot be passed unless the self-conscience truly and instinctively refuses all evil temptations forever. The subject being tested only has continuity in knowing the results obtained previously in the moments of waking up to reality. Thus, he cannot accumulate the experience of the tests in the virtual, only in reality. Realizing that he’s already failed a number of tests, due to the desire to survive, something begins to change for the better, deep inside him. The testing programs not only provide a simple verification, but actually help bring change – they help in the separation from evil. And the virtual conditions created by programs are indistinguishable from real life. As is the world in Urb Binaria.”
“I was going to ask, what happens in Urb Binaria? How’s life going to be there?”
“As a continuation of the life here. Therefore you have to be trained to an appropriate level, so that you can enter your new life as if your life would continue. An entry without impassable ridges or steps.”


*
10. The Hidden Face of Reality

“I understood that, and very well. But tell me more about this new world.”
“The reality there, although virtual, isn’t different at all from the reality on earth, you know – as a level of sensory perception. In fact, and you can’t know this as it was discovered after the period when you were cryogenically frozen, quantum physics has shown us that not even the reality here is as real and material as we thought it to be.”
“How come? What do you mean? That we’re living in our imagination? That everything is a figment, someone’s imagination? I’d heard about all sorts of theories of this kind, in my time, and I’m just curious to know as much information as possible about this topic.”
“No, it’s not really like that, our world on Earth is as real as possible, but it’s built of energy waves, of quantum energy. Our mind perceives them in a material form. A material composed of atoms, electrons and other particles. Do you know anything about the so-called dual nature of the electron, being a wave and particle at the same time?”
“Yeah, I know there was talk about that in my time. The electron, it was said, is a wave which becomes particle when observed. But, I asked myself rhetorically, how can the electron know it’s being observed?”
“No, wait a minute! Here lies the misunderstanding! The electron isn’t a wave that turns into a particle when observed. There’s no such thing, the electron remains a wave. In the mind of the observer, however, the wave becomes the image of a particle.”
“Meaning?”
“If you sit with your eyes closed and you hear my voice behind you, calling you, don’t you have the certainty that I'm behind you? Your mind rebuilds me. Thus, you can "see" me with your mind's eye, using the power of imagination.”
“That's right, but what about it?”
“Think that maybe I wasn’t standing behind you, only my voice, faithfully rendered. In your mind, my image would have been created anyway and you’d have been aware of my physical presence, although I was merely a sound wave.”
“Oh ... But still... hold on! What if...”
“You hold on”, Uwe rushed laughing, “we don’t have any quantum physics lessons in your training program! All I want is for you to understand that the reality of today, the one in which we were born and we live in, is, in some way, a world like Urb Binaria, but one which occurred in a natural way, let’s say, over billions of years. It’s not one constructed artificially, spontaneously, by man’s creative intelligence.”
“You mean the old world was like a natural cave that sheltered our ancestors from rain and cold, and the one now is like a house built of metal, according to engineering plans?”’
“Something like that, yes. Only, instead of a house built of metal, it’s more accurate to say a travelling space station, whose inhabitant astronauts, in order for them to fit inside, have abandoned their physical bodies, moving only their self-conscious minds! A world which, rather than bringing its material wealth with it in luggage of any kind, took only lived experiences. Just as you’re being moved to your new body!”
“Nice words, but still, what about the matter of which I’m made of, and don’t tell me it isn’t so. Isn’t my physical body material? Look, this metallic arm of mine is only energy?”
“I’ll tell you now: E = mc2. Look, see? I told you!”
“What? What did you say? Are you laughing at me? I didn’t understand. Einstein's equation is correct, I won’t contradict you, but what about it, ‘cause I don’t see the connection with my question?”
“No? But if you transfer mass to the left of the equation, see something? What do you see?”
“That mass is equal to E/c2. That mass is the ratio between... I still don’t get it...”
“How so? The result shows you that mass is the ratio of two factors of perfectly immaterial nature. That mass is a "material fact" built from the interaction of two "immaterial entities": energy and a numerical constant, meaning the square speed of photons in void. That means it’s made up of pure energy and a lot of speed. Mass is energy! As weight is actually a force of gravitational attraction, so mass is the simple perception of energy in speed. Are you following this?”
“Of course, it’s just that I don’t quite understand.”
“For example, here, imagine a bullet lying on the surface of a glass table.”
“Okay.”
The bullet lies on the glass without breaking it, right? If something very heavy were to be placed on the glass surface it would break the glass under its own weight, right?”
“Yes, it would break it, and not the bullet!”
“The same light bullet, this time shot out of a gun, will it not break the table’s glass surface?”
“Yeah, right!”
“But the bullet has the same weight, right?”
“Hmm... Yes!”
“Therefore, the speed given has as effect - for the glass table – the equivalent of an increase in mass. As if the bullet had become as heavy as the weight that broke the glass just by being placed on it. In some way, that’s how things are with matter made up of energy.”
“I don’t know what to say. I think that...”
“AH20, I would like to ask you to stop here because I have to confess that I was educated to know about certain things without knowing everything about them... Do you understand?” the Guide said, with a sign of helplessness, while smiling mischievously.”
“Are you kidding? Stop here? I mean, I get to receive an answer for any question and I’m supposed not to take advantage of that?”
“Okay, let's continue!”
What a sweet girl, I thought...
“What about the infinite space? It too does not exist in reality?”
“Infinite? Infinite space you say? My dear AH20, it seems that even here things are not as we’d thought. Space is not quite an infinite hole in any direction. Such an infinite space simply cannot exist, at least not as we’ve imagined it to. It doesn’t have where to exist, literally speaking, as infinite space. And it doesn’t really have how to exist, simply because it couldn’t have appeared, ever, suddenly and out of nothing, and at the same time one cannot rationally accept that it’s been there always!”
“I've never thought about that before.”
“Infinity couldn’t have been born at a certain time, have a beginning, I mean. By being born it would have taken up the place of another space, also infinite, thus appearing in the same position in the same infinite space. And because it could not have appeared, it seems that it didn’t appear elsewhere ever but in a virtual dimension, like the one of our minds, of mathematics, physics... the world we live in.”
“I don’t know what to say, don’t look at me!”
“And then, if it wasn’t quite able to physically appear at a certain time, it means that it must have always been there, right?”
“But why couldn’t it have been there always?”
“Because the notion of infinite space that had existed since forever would simply not make sense in a reality like the one in which we imagined we all live in. It conflicts with the very basic reason!”
“Okay, but still, all matter in the Cosmos, the Milky Way, in all the other galaxies...”
“What about it?”
“It doesn’t exist either?”
“It does, AH20, it’s just not as originally thought: where from could all this hard, tough and "true" matter have appeared, suddenly? Where was it brought from, as long as we think about space as being infinite? From another infinity? What other infinity? The first leaves no room for another, which would not have room to exist, because of the first infinity. And if matter wasn’t "imported" from elsewhere, it becomes clear that the raw material from which it could have been made was the immaterial nothing, borrowed from the surrounding vacuum, full of... again, nothing material, but at the same time, full of energy.
“I feel dizzy. I surrender!” I said, even raising my hands in the air.
“I'm glad”, she said with a smile, “because if you wouldn’t have, I would’ve...”


*
11. About Urb Binaria

I’ve already entered into my new life a few weeks ago but I’m still trying to get used to the avalanche of news I experience and encounter daily. This morning, walking through the beautiful central park of the Complex, I asked Uwe:
“What other new and beautiful things can you tell me about Urb Binaria? I'm so curious to see it...”
“There’s a lot to say... To be able to get by easily there, you have to transform here. To become someone other than you are today. Otherwise, you won’t be able to adapt to the life there. Many years have passed and too many changes took place and passed over the world and times in which you lived. In just a few months you’ll need to go through all stages of understanding of the things that all those who are already in Urb Binaria have assimilated in generations.”
“I don’t get what can be so difficult to understand?”
“You don’t? What if, during the years in which you lived, a man who had lived in the days when people lived in caves and used bow and arrows for hunting had been brought to your world, how well do you think he would’ve done in society? Wouldn’t he have been, perhaps, immediately arrested for theft or robbery? And this for the simple reason that, knowing only to gather or hunt, he wouldn’t have had any idea about the concept of trade, property or law enforcement. And that, of course, if he hadn’t been crushed by a car in the first place, while crossing the street running after a young woman, stripped of fur, who would have suddenly appeared in front of him. Best case, he would have been arrested only for attempted rape – because he would’ve been prevented in time by the policemen – and for public disturbance, right?”
“Ha ha... I see. However, I don’t believe there to be such a big difference between the world I know and the world in Urb Binaria.”
“No? Just think about how much the society where you come from has evolved in a relatively short time. Compare the things from when you were a child with the ones you remember before the accident. Was there a TV or cell phone during your childhood? Did you own a personal car?”
“No, there wasn’t...”
“What did you use for counting in school? Did you have a personal computer, were you connected via the Internet network and did you communicate with people everywhere?”
“No... True, when I was in school I used an abacus with wooden balls strung on metal wires - the most interesting accessory in the pencil box filled with colored pencils - also made of wood. I used to have a pickup with a few vinyl records at home. The TV, black and white of course, came later... Oh, you're right!”
“And now remember your last days in the world. You had access, of course, to a technology you didn’t dare dream about as a child, isn’t that so? You had a phone with Internet access that you could do a lot of things with, from paying bills to flight reservations and concerts? And you had all kinds of services and information through the Internet network, right?”
“Yes, that's right.”
“And how long did this change take to happen? How many years?”
“Relatively quickly, about 40-50 years.”
“Good. Now please realize that you’ve been missing from the world in the last hundred and ninety years of spiritual and technological breakthrough, AH20! In addition, I think you’ve noticed that over time, technological progress was not simple, linear, but sudden, logarithmic. And that in just a few years the level of technology almost doubled, right? Do you realize, given this logarithmic trend of evolution, where we are today?”
“Amazingly far, I imagine.”
“Right! Okay, now imagine one more fact: the world in Urb Binaria is a virtual one, written by men. It's like a story, like a book, like a screenplay that is written and rewritten every minute and in which anything is possible. Anything, of course, as long as it’s not detrimental to the community and its members in any way. This unlimited possibility makes technological progress really have a very high speed! If you want to fly, you fly. Without worrying that you don’t have wings, that the wind is blowing or that it’s raining outside. Do you now see what I mean?”
“Hey!... You can fly? That’s been man’s dream since forever. Indeed, what you say sounds wonderful! I want to know more about Urb Binaria!”
“First things first... So, Urb Binaria is a virtual world and the name Urb comes from city or town, and Binaria...
“I know, from the binary system, 0110, the "alphabet" in which it’s written.”
“Almost! It does come from the binary system, but it’s not written in this system.”
“No?”
“My dear AH 20, if the information in Urb Binaria was indeed written in binary code, the size of the SOL station would have probably exceeded that of the Lance and thus it wouldn’t have been possible to build it. No, the name Binaria is of course symbolic, chosen in honor of the discovery of the binary code, in recognition of the huge leap to which it contributed in our relatively recent evolution. In Urb Binaria there is a new machine-code, a quantum computation environment which you cannot have knowledge of. And it’s not only the language, but also the memory support that is fundamentally different from what you know. It’s, to be more precise, something that both escapes my possibility to explain and yours to understand. I can only tell you that not even 0.001% of the memory space of Urb Binaria is currently occupied, although there lie almost all the people with all the creation of their imaginative spirit. The rest is expected to be partially occupied in the times to come.”
“Is that it? In fact, if I sit and think a little, I’m not that surprised about all this. But I admit that I wondered, to myself, what will you do when the memory will be full. Now I understand...”
“And, AH20, we’re talking about the space occupied by this new machine language, but it too is continually modified and improved by those who living there, so the cyberspace increases instead of decreasing! And all this with truly huge values! Personally, I don’t think it will ever fill.”
“Unbelievable!”
“Look, now help me a bit because I don’t remember, did internet applications with computer-generated virtual worlds appear during your time?”
“Yes, I caught them, but I only entered into them occasionally, just out of curiosity. Still, I could see the growing interest, especially from young people, to live a virtual existence parallel to the real one, which wasn’t satisfying... I believe it was called Second Life, I don’t remember exactly.”
“No, that’s not what I meant, I see you don’t know. But anyway, you can still have an idea even if you know this Second Life
And, in some way, this is how it all began, from Second Life, from project Natal Milo,and others like them, only that later there were virtual worlds in which you could go into by wearing a videoheadset placed over the eyes, perceptions being quite different from those felt in front of monitors with only two dimensions.”
“Certainly!”
“The people felt that, somehow, they were moving to another place... Plus, in these virtual worlds, their appearance was that of teenagers, meaning in perfect harmony with the way in which self-consciousness felt, which we’ve discussed earlier, remember, right?”
“Yes, of course. The self-consciousness which never gets old.”
“And so, both the old and the disabled felt they relived their early - or their normality - years. With the passage of time and modernization of programs and equipment, people felt that in this new world they’re closer to their inner, spiritual state, than they use to feel outside it, in the real but cold, hard and extremely dangerous world. Young people prefered to meet in cyberspace than to physically go out and see each other...Interestingly, many of them began working in this virtual world, earning money to pay bills in the real world. Food was also ordered from this new world – the body’s energy source, right? – which was delivered to the door of their real address... Virtual vacation businesses prospered, being incomparably cheaper and more original. People were working all day in the virtual world, whether as crane operators in ports or as aircraft pilots or supervisors of robots in factories. When they came out of the virtual world, the day was over so that, in the real world, all that remained for them to do was eat and sleep... In the morning they just woke up and went again, for the rest of the day, into cyberspace. Basically, many weren’t coming out for very long periods of time in the real world. Many began experiencing emotional relationships with people encountered in the virtual, sometimes physically separated by oceans, marrying, building families, working together, and just like that, with time, their center of interest shifted to the new world. They were the pioneers of today's times. They are the ones who’ve founded Urb Binaria.”
“Interesting path for something that started as a simple game.”
“A game, it’s true, but as you see, in a sense, a destined one”, Uwe said smiling at me.
“You said earlier that people can fly with the power of their mind in Urb Binaria... What else can one do unusual there?”
“Basically, anything that can be imagined by the human mind and artificial intelligence. You can do many things. You can’t imagine how many. So many that you want to live as much as possible. And not just a hundred or two-hundred years, but trully many years. We don’t yet have the experience of how people will react after experiencing living hundreds or thousands of years. There are, of course, fears that the amount of experiences from each life lived at one point will be so heavy that individuals will not want to live forever anymore. Urb Binaria’s programming specialists, the first who moved there permanently, still gather new solutions to overcome such a possible obstacle which may arise in the future.”
“What solutions have they found?”
“A lot, as far as I know. Including, of course, ultimately, even deleting certain periods of memories, if indeed they’ll prove to be burdensome. The list of solutions is constantly growing. There is, primarily, a wide variety of existences you can live. And in each of them you can choose, for example, the desired appearance. And when I say appearance, I mean any appearance. The Urb shall merely ensure there is no identical duplicate, configured by someone else, something like choosing passwords, you remember?”
“Yeah, it sounds interesting, although it seems complicated.”
“You can choose your face and body shape, you can even choose your sex if you want. It is believed that, given the opportunity to change your appearance, you’ll feel you are, in some way, someone else. In addition, with the option to configure your appearance by choosing your sex, the genetic mistake suffered by gay people, that of being a self-consciousness of one sex living in the body of the opposite sex, can be fixed. I know there’s the possibility, for whom wishes, of course, to change sex out of curiosity, thus being able to experiment two sets of life: one as a woman and one as a man. Of course, with changing their virtual body, their sexual orientation changes as well.”
“Interesting, although it seems quite strange. And these changes are made and restored at the user’s will?”
“Not really. First you should know that every life once chosen must be carried through, and this rule gives responsability to the choice made. And, an approval must be received for any such change. But you should know that there’s no one to oppose, only to ensure that it will not harm others in any way.”
“Where can one obtain this approval from?”
“From a sort of commission whose members are chosen randomly among Urb residents, a kind of public forum, but it should be noted that approval also depends on the number of so-called points collected by the applicant, although they’re not exactly points.”
“Points? Why so?”
“Because there is no money and yet there must be a criterion to justify work and creativity, because otherwise the system cannot function properly. Only animals can live without money, but you see how they do.”
“But you, here, how were you able to live without money, out of sheer love for life and...?”
“We’ve gone through some extreme experiences here which you’ll hear about soon. We were shaped by the past. The Urb is a new system, with its specific values and levers, not a system perfected while in action, like ours...”
“Okay. And passing from one world to another is also done by paying points?”
“No, the passage from one existence to another is made after the consumption of the time of each life. I have to tell you that these points are part of a system far too complicated for me to explain now, inspired by the system which operated until recently on the planet, and is diversified in a variety of multiple colors, depending on their importance. You’ll understand these technical details once you get to use them.”
“And how does one get these points?”
“First, each inhabitant of the city receives a daily rate, if no one complains about him and his actions.”
“Ha ha, good job! This rule would have been great in my time!”
“Then, if the person initiates activities or actions that his peers enjoyed, again receives daily points. And their number is increased both quantitatively and qualitatively, in proportion to the number of people benefiting from them.”
“Yes, I understand the possibilities, but I don’t see the novelty that points bring compared to money, both in Urb Binaria and in your world, the one on Earth today.”
“On Earth, it led to the dissapearance of corruption and removal of hypocrite politicians – not interested in the community welfare but only in personal financial gains – from the decision-making process. In Urb Binaria it brought respect and prestige.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just like a family, grandparents, parents and children are placed in a hierarchical decision-making scheme. So, in the great family of Urb Binaria, prestige and respect weighed in points, gives you access to making decisions in the committees that establish the laws that plan the future.”
“Interesting!”
“Think of the possibilities you’d have if, for example, you invent and create a new world in which many of the inhabitants of the city move into and live happily. Or, even an entertainment resort, or at least a new virtual film.”
“If I understand correctly, this ensures diversification and, of course, the increase of the number of possible existences within the city. As there once were computer games, now there are these worlds, I see.”
“Yes, and this curiosity to experience something new results in living a good part of that eternity, or, at least a stage of it. At the end of such a stage something new is bound to arise, new openings, which today we cannot even imagine, thus involving the desire to extend the chain of existences towards new stages.”
“What do you mean? What should happen?”
“There are several assumptions, only in the form of theories and hypotheses, for now, but time will give reason to some or others. We seek to understand why we can live forever. What is the reason? You do realize that you cannot live forever just so for the sake of living. They have to discover something along the way... Something, I do not know how to express it, as a duty to fulfill in exchange for this incredible divine favor...”
“So the future is still open for knowledge! That's not bad at all. But tell me, in this new life, can one eat and drink? Are there shops where you get them from? To be honest, since staying in this android body, I’ve missed the taste of some of earth’s goodies.”
“Yes, of course, in Urb Binaria you can find everything in the real world and much more. There are even markets with exotic fruit and vegetables, imported from dozens of virtual planets. There are, of course, grocery stores, whose endless shelves full of exotic things won’t stop to amaze you. Everything looks like in reality, but they’re far more diverse and, as I’ve said, you don’t pay money, but points. And to enjoy all this, there is, of course, the senses of taste and smell, along with all the other senses. Moreover, you’ll find there are new senses invented and already successfully implemented, so that Urb residents are able to experience a life much improved and more refined than the old one. New senses that open new types of feelings. Can you imagine what that means? Can you?”
“I cannot find words to wonder and enjoy what awaits me... No, I can’t imagine there could be other new senses...”
“From what I understand, things are like this: if today I eat, for example, an apple, my senses will give me information about the sweetness and flavor, right? In Urb Binaria, when I bite from a fruit, what I feel will carry me to where it grew. And I’ll feel all sorts of visual information from the place where that fruit grew, for a moment I’ll feel the sun’s warmth which helped it ripe and all the garden smells, carried by a gentle breeze that surrounds my being.”
“Very cool!”
“And when you eat a fish, you feel transposed into the ocean where he was fished from and...”
“You know, Uwe, sometimes I fear that everything might only be a long and wonderful dream, and sometimes I’m afraid that, once there, I will feel the bitter taste of the unreal in my mouth. Of a real fake, synthetic, worthless.”
“No, it’s no dream and you won’t know disappointment either, I assure you. And believe me, please, when I say that you won’t feel the slightest difference between your life here and the one there. The sensory perception is absolutely identical. In fact, it’s not long before you'll go to Urb Binaria, and the feeling you’ll have, passing from one world to another, will be identical to that of taking the elevator from one level to another of a building. Even simpler!”
“Really? I’ll take your word for it... Excellent, then! I cannot wait to go. I won’t ask you when I'll leave, because I see things here are organized and programmed better than in a surgery room. I’m sure that when I’ll need to know you’ll tell me...”


*
12. The Worlds of Urb Binaria

At night - very curious thing - I can’t sleep. In fact, I haven’t closed an eye since I arrived here, in the Complex, so I spend all night sitting in my room where I study the materials provided by Uwe, I do my homework and take the required tests. Thus, with the passing of each day, I find all sorts of new things about what will happen to me in the near future. Okay, so, sooner or later I’m going to enter into Urb Binaria, where I’ll start the first of my new future existences. This first existance, from what I understand, will not be much different from that experienced here on Earth. In this life I will receive all the information and instructions needed to get into the other worlds – existential levels – to come. Here, I will learn to use my other new senses, and, in addition, many other facilities and even new functions of my virtual body, freshly invented. I can’t wait to fly with the speed of thought... It seems that going through this buffer period is required, otherwise you would not know how to deal with all the other existences, in which you become anything else than you've been before. Basically, you learn to become someone, or maybe... something else, but still something superior to the simple man you once were. It must be terribly interesting.
This morning came again by surprise, I feel it probably because I can’t sleep, so I went to the study hall, in order to meet Uwe. Once there, I greeted her and asked her about what troubled me most at night:
“Guide, you told me that you can take any form in Urb Binaria? Have I got it right?”
“Yes. You can have a human body and face or any other appearance, as an animal, plant or even as an object.”
“Plant? Object? How so?”
“Why not, if everything is possible? No one forces you, remember, but everything is possible. There are worlds and worlds, you can’t do this in any world. And then, why not, as long as you have to fill an eternity with your presence. There are some who prefer to observe the world around them standing behind a bank, in the shape of a flowering shrub, or as an old tree on a lake shore, in the shade of which romantic picnics are frequently consumed.
“Are you kidding? That’s very weird! But anyway...”
“Of course, as I’ve said, the new look will require acceptance from other members of the Commission, but the interface is easy and the transition is also very easy to carry out.”
“Okay, but I still cannot imagine that anyone would want to sit still tens or hundreds of years in the form of an old tree!”
“True. But don’t forget that passing into a new life is possible only after the old one is finished.”
“Okay, so?”
“Choosing such an extreme existence, or let’s say at least unusual, you determine from the start the time you want to spend in that shape, and generally it’s short, never decades, but exactly as long as you feel the need to last.”
“Aha! I thought...”
“No, these mini-existences are part of the so-called resting periods, for reset. It is assumed that after surviving hundreds and thousands of years in a row, it takes a short "holiday" in which to be a butterfly, a flower or a fish in the ocean.”
“Oh, that’s more like it... I was scared for a moment. But how does the world look if people no longer look like people? Isn’t it scary to live among such characters? How is it to see, for example, a girl walking with her boyfriend, a fierce lion...”
“And if they’re joined by an animated scarecrow and a tin man, what would that be like?”
“It would be like... The Wizard of Oz! That’s what Urb Binaria is, a story! Urb Binaria is a kind of Alice in Wonderland?”
“It can be. Urb Binaria is Urb Binaria, and the alternative is nonexistence. I warned you that you have to prepare thoroughly in order to enter Urb Binaria. Anyway, remember these are just extensions of the main world, which is similar, when it comes to principles and way of life, to this on Earth. All other worlds will be available to you in time and only when you’ll feel the need to live in them. You have, as they say, a lot of options...”
“I see, so not all the Urb world is a fairytale...”
“No, just its extensions. And, by the way, related to your fears about the friend with a fierce lion face, I want you to remember one important fact: in this new world evil is missing. In whatever form it may exist!”
“I understand”, I exclaimed, “and I’m very happy that humanity finally escaped it.”
“Feelings of fear and cold shivers will pass only occasionally when watching specialized movies, if I can call them that, because in fact they’re true outdoor theaters, and the observer is part of the decor or the entourage of these characters. In the films in Urb Binaria you can not only impassibly assist to the events, but you can be an active part of, or even be the main character of the movie. It's like a real dream. A dream within a dream...”
“I cannot wait to see a movie or a play, or however you call them. And to start experiencing worlds, one after another!”
“AH20, in Urb Binaria there are many worlds, as I’ve said, and their number is constantly growing, being dreamed up by people who already experience life there. And their number is in turn progressing even faster. Do you realize that things become a lot easier: speaking in principle, unlike our world, so far, researchers won’t have to find a planet in some distant corner of the universe which then gradually they’d start to colonize, moving the self-consciousnesses of individual people within the androids built there. In Urb Binaria, the programmers directly design a new planet, then populate it with life – plants and animals programmed to operate driven by modern, custom instincts – after which all others are invited to know and experience it.”
“And what's more that differentiates all these worlds? One from the other.”
“They differ in anything. You can live, for example, in a world of dinosaurs, or in the Stone Age. You live in the past, during the time of the Roman occupation, or in the future on who knows what planet where evetything is conceptually different, its fundamental elements not being oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon, as in our world. These are true alien worlds! But the main world, the one where you and I will go for start is one that, as I said, is absolutely normal judging by our Earth rules. It has meadows and farmland growing wheat and corn, it’s a world where you’ll have a job and vacations in which you’ll go swimming in the ocean, in summer, or skiing on snowy mountains in winter. A world where children go to school and then to college. After college, just as here, they start looking for a suitable job in a normal, good society. There are, at the same time, many other worlds in which, as I was saying, everything is unconventional and totally unexpected.”
“Okay, but how can life be during the Roman occupation, for example, where the law was done by the sword? Or during the Second World War, if there is a world during that time? I wonder, how do war and death get along with the absence of evil, as you said?
“It is as it should have been, AH20, in reality: a good and peaceful cohabitation, not one drowned in crime. Don’t you think that people of that time would’ve felt better if they lived in peace and plenty, not in fire and death? In Urb Binaria, the innocent live the way they should have lived, not being unwilling victims in a war that stole their lives! They live a life according to that time, with its cultural and technological level, but without the tragic presence of war. Don’t you think it can be like that?”
“Yes, of course, you're absolutely right, Uwe. I couldn’t even think how easy is was... I had forgotten the version of normality. The same life that would have happened in the absence of any war. A life without harm. It must be wonderful to live it! Those times would’ve been wonderful without war. Without fear and suffering...”
“I told you, the only cold shivers you’ll get will be in theaters!”
“I’ll remember that! But how do these worlds evolve, if nothing happens from what it did? I wonder, how does life during the Second World War look like, if there’s no war?”
“It looks great, trust me. The world is happy and everyone minds their own business. And the world evolves as it ought to evolve. Each of these worlds thrives, expands and waits for more and more people to step inside them. There are many worlds in Urb Binaria, AH20, know this. There are indeed many worlds...”
“I understand, you have to try to fill an eternity, right?”


*
13. Beyond the Complex

Since yesterday, Uwe told me that today is the day when we go out in the real world. The visit will take several days. I sit in the central square, waiting for her to arrive any minute. I sit and think about the absolutely incredible turn my life took. What a strange thing, I had left with my scooter to the small supermarket in the center of my town and I got here, in the future. Basically, the whole circumstance woven around my accident worked as a true time machine that transported me nearly 200 years in the future!
I keep thinking that, although I’ll go for a few days to another city, I don’t need to take anything with me, no luggage! It’s just me and myself and I really don’t need anything else. I don’t need food or drinks, although I miss them a lot. No suitcase or clothes... The mere fact that I’m always powered, for free, with the energy that holds up my new body seems to have wiped out all the typical troubles of a normal life. Perhaps all that endless intertwining of life’s complications starts only from the need to have food, energy actually. After all, you went to school and college in order to have a better paying job to help you get, in fact, the energy that keeps you alive. And, come to think of it, the only times when I really lived, for myself or for my loved ones, were extremely scarce. Some scraps: at the end of the working day, at dinner for an hour or two, on weekends and a few slices of holiday. Otherwise, only running around to ensure the safety tomorrow and the main objective: food! What will I eat and where. What do I buy and what do I cook... How complicated my life as a human was, in the body of a... man. I ran after so much useless stuff in my life...
“Good morning, AH20, how are you today?”
“Good morning to you, Uwe”, I said, turning my head to her surprised. “I feel great, thank you for asking. I’m can’t wait to go out, finally, beyond the gates of the Complex.”
“Then, let’s not to be late!” she said, and showed me the direction in which we started walking together.
The vehicle that would get us out of the city was parked a few hundred meters away from where we were. I take advantage of this short travel to ask the guide:
“Uwe, are there babies being born in Urb Binaria? Or are there only those moved from Earth?”
“Of course, AH20, there are children, how else can an identical existance to that on Earth be designed if there were no children in it, right?”
“Yeah, you're right. How else?”
The small ship, speaking of technological progress, didn’t have wheels, but floated at about half a meter from the ground, as I’d seen in SF movies of my time. We get into the vehicle which looked like a helicopter without its long, thin tail and, of course, without the propellers. While some kind of seat belts automatically strap me to the chair, the device immediately begins to rise from the ground, smoothly and quietly. Uwe slightly raised the head of a stick that looked like a joystick, which should be the flight handle.
“This aircraft”, she says, “can be driven in many ways... With a cruise control, with an intra-sensory headset that reads the pilot’s thoughts and, of course, manually, from handle. Do you mind if I choose the last one?”
“No, certainly not”, I replied.
“I hope you still won’t mind when my clumsy maneuvers will throw you against the belt straps”, added Uwe smiling, while, looking closely at the buttons and lights on the board, she was pressing and switching some of them.
“The more I’ll love this flight!”
“Well”, she said, “then let’s hit the road!”
The ship traveled the entire length of the street on autopilot, floating two or three feet high, then arrived at a central, round plazza, most likely some kind of local aerial mini-airport. Now, it slowly rotates clockwise, choosing the direction in which to go. I look as it begins to rise vertically more rapidly, and at about 15-20 feet high, stops, waiting for Uwe to take command of the flight.
Yeah, I never felt at ease at heights and I still don’t see that I’ve changed in the meanwhile. So, to distract myself I ask her, though it wasn’t the best time:
“Well, then how do they appear? Children, I mean. And I’m not talking about their conception, but their occurrence in itself, in the world. If real life, we know they were the result of the order given by the instinct of reproduction and the implementation of their parents' genes. What exactly mixes in Urb Binaria, because people aren’t made of "flesh and bones"? They have no genes, right? They have nothing material in them.”
“Why do you think they should have been made from the same genes as their parents? Like you said, if their parents don’t have genes anymore, then neither will their children, because they’ll no longer have what to inherit. Simple! You, for example, what do you have from your parents still?”
“Genetically speaking, indeed, I have nothing. You're right! I only have memories with them and of the things I’ve learned from them. Just simple thoughts.”
“See? This is what happens in the Urb.”
Our vehicle has the shape of semi-sphere elongated in the direction of travel, being covered with a dome made from a material as clear as glass, through which I can see out easily. Somewhere to our right and of course a few hundred meters below I see the Complex from where we’ve left, in the middle of which, as a great green spot, stands its wonderful park. From what I see from up here, the Complex is really a great building. From the ground level I could never have imagined its true size. And around it, as far as the eye can see, everything is green and beautiful. It’s as if its situated in the middle of a forest. Uwe suddenly tilted the handle forward and I feel how my seat strongly presses all my sensors located on my back.
“Uwe”, I cried, “slow down, the oil is going to my head!”
I peeked and saw she was slightly smiling. It was the first time I saw her relaxed. Flight has always brough happiness to the human spirit and I don’t know why... Uwe was as happy as I was because of this little escapade outside the Complex, plus there was the joy of flight. I think this was like a vacation for her too. A last vacation...”
“We have to travel quite a bit, you know”, she said. “And I want to show you as much as I can, because this is the only scheduled visit outside the Complex in your entire training program. And, like every time I leave the Complex, it gives me great pleasure to revisit the real world, as long as it still exists...”
Saying that, the smile on my guide’s face went out, her face now expressing sadness, but after a few moments it changed back into relaxation and contentment, while our ship split the air in speed. Was this feeling of speed due to my fear of flying or the fact that we were flying quite low, which increases the perception of the actual speed, making it seem higher than it actually is? Remembering that we were in the middle of a conversation, I asked her:
“But then, Uwe, how are the children chosen? Who do they look like?”
“If the mother is a lioness and the father is a tree? Is that what you mean?”
“Ha ha ha... No, that’s not what I meant, you know that very well...”
“AH20, look at you. Look at the form in which you now exist. What are you, can you tell me?”
“Yes. Let me try: I am a great, autonomous body, type SWH3, that hosts, for a short time only, my mind.”
“No, you are just Dall's mind. You are your self-consciousness. That’s all. You’re not at all a SWH3! And you don’t have anything physical left from your parents, which is no barrier at all, as you see, for you to exist.”
Ah, that sounded weird. Dall... I almost forgot my name. I think this is the first, no, actually the second time that Uwe addresses me using my real name.
“You’re a mind, not a body. Don’t you see? You are a self-consciousness around which the memories collected over its existence "orbit". Today you are in this artificial body, but remember that, until recently, you were still you, although you were in another vehicle, an animal body guided by instincts, made of flesh and bones, and in a while, you'll be the one sharing a virtual world with many others, where you will no longer have any personal, individual physical body, but you will live in a general support environment. Don’t mistake yourself, your mind which is alive and intelligent, with any of its bodies. So, just as well, you could say that you are a SRX vehicle, in which there is a SWH3 in which Dall's mind lives...”
“Yes, Uwe, so it is, I have to admit you’re right, it’s just that it will take a while until I get used to my new condition. I love that you called me by my real name.”
Uwe turned her eyes to me and smiled friendly.
“I’ll take it into account! Look, let's clarify these things for once. You can say that the human is a material object, if you refer to his body as well. But the human being is immaterial! We only live in our human-material bodies, of animals belonging to this planet. We, human beings, we’re thoughts, we’re energies, we’re energy waves, we’re self-conscious information constructions. Keep this in mind: the human being is a complex and conscious equation of energy waves. The most advanced equation known in the universe. The body is a different equation, a genetic one, describing material links. Although, much more complicated, it’s not as developed. Before the accident, you were a man. Now, you're just a human being!”
“When I had a human body I was human, and now, when I’m immaterial, I’m a human being?”
“Yes, that’s correct. We, human beings, are energetic waves. That’s why we are the only beings who compose and listen to music with pleasure. While listening to music, the mind, which is composed of energy waves, is submerged in a sea of sound waves. It floats in its natural habitat. And dance is nothing more than the body’s movement to the rhythm and form of these waves. Vibrations of music waves.”
“Really! I keep wondering what music was, and why it exists in the life of humans. Only in the life of humans.”
“Music is the fruit of inspiration and gives, in turn, to the listener, a meditation environment where, often, the source of new inspiration appears.”
“Interestingly said. Like a vicious circle...”
“Laughter and crying are also vibrant reactions, I could say, unique to humans. And I’m not referring here only to the convulsions that take over you when you laugh or cry your eyes out, but to the sounds made and the feelings behind these actions.”
“Really, I never saw an animal laughing. Or crying...”
“These convulsions are the body’s dance on the waves’ song proper to crying.”
“Hmm... What a complex creature human kind is. Why do we exist in the world?”
“We could say that human being, perceived as a sentient and thinking consciousness is a sum of positive and negative, constructive and destructive energies, which are designed to support, maintain, improve and contribute to the continuity of the universal act of creation. You'll understand all this in time.”
“Do you think I’ll manage to understand, eventually?”
“You must!” continued Uwe, smiling gently.


*
14. The Living Dolls

As I begin to realize here, up in the sky, it seems that the Complex is located on an island, over whose "border" - a beach with very white sand – we now pass with great speed. In front of us there is only water, as far away as you can see to the horizon, and the island, left behind, is quickly going out of sight.
“I’m just a mind, and only that, you're right, Uwe. I’m an immaterial entity, I understand your point of view, I realize perfectly well that you're right, but what does this have to do with the children we were talking about earlier?”
“AH20, people...”
“Dall! Call me by my name please. I’d like to hear it again.”
“Dall, yes, I’m sorry. What does it have to do with it? Human beings are not defined by their animal bodies, but by the educated minds inside them. The animal bodies of parents gave birth to another little body, cute and loved, but in essence, it was yet another animal body, as a result of their genes. But their intelligent minds, in fact their own self-consciousness, like two flames, using their whole experience, sparked a new tiny flame in the mind of the little one, developing in his mind a new consciousness of self, which then they taught how to speak, read and write. With these new tools available, the little creature learned more about everything around. It learned about the arts and sciences: music, drawing, mathematics, physics... With one or more of them it would intertwine, merging with all the teachings accumulated during its life, perhaps becoming a musician or a painter, or a mathematician, a doctor, an engineer, an architect, a writer, a scientist and who knows what else. And children in Urb Binaria, please remember, the children and not their virtual bodies generated by software interfaces, meaning their self-consciousness, are the result of the effort of their parents’ self-consciousness. Two consciousness bring a new consciousness to life! So there’s no change in the end, is there?”
“Yes, I think I’m starting to understand your point of view and I think you're right.”
“Two animals procreate giving birth to another animal. Following the same pattern, the animal bodies of two humans procreate, also creating another animal. Their minds, trained in the dimension of consciousness, train in turn the mind of the little animal, helping it to become a new conscious human mind, like those of its parents.”
“As it were, what’s born of flesh is flesh, and what’s born of spirit is spirit, right?”
“Yes, exactly. In the animal world, this process does not exist, therefore the little baby will remain an animal for the rest of its life. In humans, however, parental education cultivates the human consciousness in the little creature’s mind. Without this conscious and rationally maintained process, the human child would never get to be a human, but would remain a wild animal.”
“An interesting point of view”, I said, gazing thoughtful on through the ship’s window.
I don’t know what altitude we’re flying at, but, whatever it may be, we’re certainly flying very fast. Outside it’s clear and sunny, which allows me to see clearly in the distance.
“You know, by the way, speaking of children, after having determined the precise destination of the Lance, the killer asteroid, and especially the date of its arrival, people kept making calculations and, at some point, they stopped having babies. It was a crime to condemn your own child to death.”
“What strange times... I’m trying to imagine what it must have been like.”
“Yes. It was certainly the biggest shock received by humankind. It was one thing to die yourself and know that others continue living, and quite another to know that everything disappears and all the turmoil and suffering of so many souls that have lived on Earth was completely unnecessary.”
“Yes, you are absolutely right...”
“Anyway, I wanted to tell you that after a while, something truly remarkable happened. Something that, later evolving on its natural course, would reveal the way that we’re all going through today.”
The ship reduced its flight altitude and somewhere on the horizon I can see the foaming waves breaking on the shore. We would soon reach the other continent.”
“It all started from a game. This time, however, not a virtual one. And in fact not so much a game but... a toy.”
“A toy? What toy?”
“Two companies joined forces to produce it. An electronics company and a toy company. They wanted to bring in the arms of the newly married a kind of substitute for the children they couldn’t have themselves, so they designed a specialized and very powerful computer for those times, that they placed inside a robot doll, a toy that reproduces quite well the image and the body of a child, two to three years of age. The toy was then distributed in stores around the world and so it arrived into the arms of the young parents whose joy of having children had been taken from them.”
“What an idea!”
“The stated goal of this new toy was to relieve, to some extent, the need induced by the instincts to have and, especially, to raise a child. This self-imposed ban began to bring, worldwide, all kinds of psychiatric problems. The adoptive parents of the toy, which I want to reconfirm that was very realistically built, talked to it as if it were their own child. Later, they taught it to stand up and then walk, talk and read. They even had exercises so that it can recognize itself in the mirror. The dolls learned easily, reacted intelligently and, shortly, they were able to recognize not only their parents - by voice and physiognomy - but they could recognize themselves in the mirror. Slowly, gradually, they learned, like young children, to behave much like real children. The dolls became, for the attentive and loving parents,a kind of "surrogate" of the children they responsibly decided they could no longer have. So far everyone was pleased and somewhat reconciled with the new situation.”
Uwe turned her eyes to me, to see if I was still listening.
“I'm all eyes and ears, your story captivates me!”
“Shortly after its inception, due to its unprecedented realism, the doll became a fashionable object, even raising a real mass hysteria. There were long waiting lists for obtaining such a doll, which accurately reflected the measure of the public’s interest. So, soon after, several million HIT-MD's came to be "adopted" all over the world. It means hyper-intelligent-true-motion doll.”
“I find this reaction to be very natural.”
Uwe reduced the speed at which we were now travelling, when flying over dry land again. I say dry, although it wasn’t dry at all: as far as the eye could see, everything was colored in a fresh, immaculate green. Flowery meadows, green forests and many rivers crossing them. Some of them discharged directly into the sea, others into a large river that collected them in its winding path. We were probably flying over a delta.
“After several years since the first dolls appeared, the miracle occurred: at some point, some of the dolls became... sad. They refused to cooperate with their parents and sometimes even to listen to them. Everyone was worried and pointing at the manufacturing companies. They shrugged, not knowing what was happening. Nobody, in fact, understood. Parents were deeply worried, so they began to bring the dolls to repair centers. They couldn’t be changed, you realize of course that was not even a choice, because their parents had strongly bonded with them, as if they were their own children. There were links which formed over years of mutual interactions.”
“Interesting! But why this sadness?”
“The dolls became sad when they began to realize the truth about what was happening around them! They understood their nature of "surrogate children", then they learned about the arrival of the asteroid, about the fact that everything will one day end. That they and their parents would, at some point, be separated.”
“They understood that they will die?”
“Yes, the dolls understood that they will die with the rest of the life on Earth, and here is the core of the problem.”
“What is it?”
“That people understood, in turn, that the dolls had acquired the notion of time flow, for only in this way could they acknowledge the close termination of existence. It takes something special to perceive the passage of time, something that only humans can boast about having. Thus, dolls had developed a self-consciousness! Do you now see what was happening?”
“Almost... However, this is the most fascinating story heard here!”
“The world realized that within the electronic circuitry of the dolls, the hard work performed with love and care by the adoptive parents had created self-consciousnesses in their cyber minds. Do you see, Dall? They had created minds of children. New human beings!”
“I’ll be dam... Unbelievable! Only now I realize what you’re saying. And, eventually what does it mean?”
“Further, people understood that the same had to happen to their little offspring, the real ones, and the result of their bodies’ genes! With their real children! Namely, they realized that self-consciousness was not transmitted by birth, but that it was the fruit of education! That means you aren’t born a human being, but later become one through a continuous process of education. And so they understood, for the first time, that the dual existential nature of the human mind is something different from that of their body. Hence, the human mind and its self-consciousness did not rise from birth, genetically, but were built by their parents’ minds – self-consciousness – during the first years of life, let's say the growing years!
“Ah, what an idea! They realized that people become people, like some candles lit from the flames of their parents, except that the flames were intelligent minds...”
“More specifically, those are the parents’ self-consciousnesses. They are entities different from the animal mind of their bodies, led by instincts. Do you understand?”
“Yeah, I do, I understand very well now, please continue...”
“So, people understood that bodies gave birth to other bodies and consciousnesses to other consciousnesses. That human beings are not born, but that they are the result of work done out of love, the fruit of a conscious creation. That they’re "built" by other human beings. They understood, finally, that human nature is dual and that they could change their body by moving into other bodies, still remaining human in essence. And you, AH20, are one of them! A human mind, isolated from its body in which it grew. A human mind, transplanted! All these "surrogate children" were immediately fully recognized as human beings and today they’re all in Urb Binaria.”
“Oh, I cannot wait to get there myself...!”


*
15. Impossible Encounters

The aircraft turned, leaving the sun behind and continuing its way to the destination. From time to time, Uwe plays with the handle, making our path twist horizontally or vertically. One can easily see that she really likes to fly...
“Uwe, only now I begin to really understand what’s happening.”
“Good, Dall. I told that, gradually, you will understand everything, right?”
“Yes, you did, true. And what happened next?”
“First of all, they moved the children's self-consciousness, for it’s not fair to call them dolls anymore, right?”
“Yeah, of course, that’s only fair! Where?”
“In SWHs similar to the one in which you now live.”
“Aha!”
“And later, as I said, they were all transferred to Sol Invictus, in Urb Binaria.”
“Logically, how else...”
“You know, this whole story did not stop here.”
“It didn’t?”
“No, because by understanding this mechanism of building the self-consciousness through education, the parents who had lost their children also tried to rebuild the consciousneses of the deceased.
“Are you kidding? You mean they brought their lost children back to life by rebuilding them in these dolls?”
“No, they didn’t bring them back to life, but rebuilt them. It is a kind of renaissance, not a resurrection... And not just in dolls, but also in newborn babies, which they brought up telling them from the start that they are the reprint of their lost child.”
“Well, wasn’t it forbidden to bear children?”
“It was never forbidden. People decided not to...”
“Yes, yes, you're right, I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking...”
“In addition, Urb Binaria was not a utopia anymore, but a project already under construction, and the new arrivals would also be moved to the Urb.”
“But the reborn baby is not the same person with the lost one, am I right?”
“I don’t know what to say... The key was to build the new self-consciousness so that the baby was convinced it was the same person as the deceased. It's like having a phone number, an IP address, to which a self-consciousness responds, again. This new self-consciousness became aware, as it grow, of the fact that it existed before, that it disappeared and finally appeared again, benefiting from bringing into being!”
“Strangely, I would’ve never thought of something like that. I think ultimately you're right, in school, during roll-call, the self-consciousness that was called out would have answered "here". And most likely all would have happened taking into account the fact that it was like a "wash-out" for a few years of life...”
“Yes, but tell me, if for example everyone would have said to you, ever since you were born, that you had been born earlier, but that you died in an accident and that your parents brought you into being one more time, who would you have thought you were?”
“I'd say yes, I’ve been brought back to life!”
“Of course, you would have grown up seeing pictures and movies with you in your previous existence. Then, your friends would have told things that you shared together, as you did this and that. I ask you again, would you not grow up with the idea that you're the same person as the deceased?”
“I think so...”
“And if you would be convinced, what would your parents believe?”
“Yes, very interesting perspective!”
“And then? Who could say you’re not one and the same being?”
“I think no one...”
“Look, pay attention. It is a problem of the object of creation, after all, because if a bitch loses a puppy, that puppy will never be reborn, but if a sculptor’s carving, not yet finished, is destroyed, he can rebuild it without a problem, and, this time he can actually finish it! It's the parents’ choice, who's to be born: the same mind or another one ”
“You're right, the problem is, as you say, one that takes into account the nature of creation itself.”
“The human being is not about throwing genes around like dice, it is a conscious creation! We know exactly what or who will be the result...”
“Incredible, but I have to admit you’re right!”
“And, in order to achieve this re-birth, parents must obtain a permit from the authorities. A birth pre-certificate, called a Rebirth Certificate. And this little piece of paper helped enormously to strengthen the belief that everything was happening for real...”
“I think so, this certificate is a great idea. It helps a lot.”
“Even more, the baby's body could be obtained genetically by cloning, so that, finally, the parents got the same body animated by the same self-consciousness of the lost child. Well, in the end, all put together made people sure they brought their lost child back in their arms and in their lives, finding peace and balance in their infinite pain.”
“Yeah, seems to be okay. Somewhat...”
“Somewhat? Do you know a better way of "resurrecting" someone?”
“No, no, how can I...”
“Things went even further. Many of humanity’s personalities were "resurrected" by this method and, strictly taking into account the biography of each. Some of them even received genetic reconstruction of their real body through cloning.”
“Come on, I can’t believe what I’m hearing. You surely didn’t stand still while I was away from the world!”
“I told you, since humankind has directed its creative spirit only toward building and not destruction, the face of society has been changed from the ground up.”
“And who was brought back to life?”
“Historians have drawn up thoroughly documented lists, with all information that could be collected and which then helped to rebuild the self-consciousnesses. These files were gathered and were offered to the public debate in order to decide who can return and who can’t. Thus, some of mankind’s leading figures have reappeared on Earth. And the rest, who once existed and contributed to the smooth progress of the human spirit, have all been revived in Sol Invictus.”
“And I’m going to meet them in Urb Binaria?”
“Most likely... I met many such people... reconstructed, to say so. You know what such a man feels he must do? He asks all who knew him to tell him what they remember about him. Somehow, he behaves like someone who has suffered amnesia and who is now trying to find out who he really is. He collects memories spread through those who knew him and assimilates them directly as his own. His self-consciousnesses, I think I can say that, is one and the same. All it needs to be complete are his memories. You know, you’re going to meet many such people in Urb Binaria.”
“Was just about anyone brought back to life?”
“Not really anyone, but, as I was saying, only those who’ve left memories behind. Who had a biography, kept in writing or in the collective memory. Recorded life... Biography...”
“The Book of Life?”
The ship had left the altitude of its flight lane a few minutes ago, gradually descending to a few dozen meters from the ground. Every now and again the forest below us is interrupted by buildings with a roof built, unusually for me, from clear glass. And there was something else that seemed to be strange, but I realized what it was relatively quickly: the streets and roads to link them were missing. Perhaps these cars that defied gravity had existed for some time, and roads had become unnecessary. Somewhere to our right there was a cluster of such transparent buildings, and Uwe slightly tilted the handle towards that direction.
“We’re there, Dall. Get ready to land...”


*
16. The City of the Future. Or of the Past?

Our little flying saucer continued to descend and at the same time advance smoothly to where we had to stop, progressively being reflected by some colored mosaic in the buildings’ glass facades. From the outside, the ship looks different than I had imagined while being here, in the chair I was sitting in. It seems to be entirely built out of silver metal, because seen from the outside, the glass dome appears to be opaque, metallic. On the circumference, I saw that it has a blue light belt that flashes intermittently.
“Look, here’s where we’ll live in the next days. It’s the city of Lasse Forest, the most important town near the Complex, belonging to Area A 252. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to tell you anything about what you are about to see here, because I considered it more important for you – and I took advantage of the opportunity provided by your curiosity – to understand what we were discussing. The world ceased to be divided into several hundreds of countries a long time ago, and is now made up of a few thousand Areas. All these areas are, economically and administratively, autonomous, and do perfectly without requiring the existence of any type of global or superior leadership. All the Areas have agreed to observe a general constitution, considered by everyone to be one of common sense. Each area manages both its surface resources and its needs as it knows best. Underground resources have not interested anyone in a long time. Neither oil, gold, diamonds nor gas... Never have local resources been more properly and judiciously used and, also, never has there been a period of greater prosperity known in the entire history of man.”
“And yet, when something illegal happens, who intervenes? Isn’t there police, army? Don’t they become corrupted by their own power?”
“Police yes, army no. Relations between Areas are mediated, in a consultative manner, by the G.O.J., the Global Organization of Judgement, whose members come from all these Areas, chosen randomly by the special programs that take into account the personal achievements of each chosen member. For small conflicts, the Area appoints, temporarily, a few members to act. Like in the anthill society. People today are very skilled and trained. If a problem cannot be solved locally, it will receive the help of an adjacent Area. And another, if necessary, and so on, until any conflict is over. We'll talk more about it, if we have the opportunity. How do you feel?”
“Well, I feel good, I’m just still confused by the discussion we had during our flight. I understand that the episode with the living dolls was, after all, a turning point in understanding life and human destiny.”
“There were many such episodes that have revealed the enigmatic nature of human beings.”
Two gravity-scooters floating at a low altitude passed by in high-speed, rising suddenly above the trees and then rapidly getting lost in the distance.
“Speaking of the devil: the police!”, Uwe said laughing.
In front of me there’s a unit of three cabins that reminds me somewhat of the old telephone booths.
“What are these”, I ask, “public phones or toilets?”
“No... They are TS's, meaning transfer stations.”
“Transfer stations? What’s that?”
“It transfers you to an android body located where you need to go.”
“Oh, very interesting! So you set your coordinates and...”
“You sit in a chair, you put on a helmet, you look for the desired location and availability, then you dial a number and in a moment you wake up in an android body located across the world. Your body remains in an unconscious state, closed in this cab, until you get back into it.”
“Incredible...”
“We'll talk about all this, but now you have to meet T'Ralk, our companion.”
I turned my head and I saw this guy, T'Ralk, coming towards us, smiling.
“Uwe, AH20, how was your travel?”
“Thank you, very well T'Ralk. Pleased to meet you”, I said and I reached out. “My name’s Dall.”
T'Ralk grabbed it with some delay and somewhat clumsy, smiling with all his face. Then he said:
“A custom that I haven’t gotten used to! Please, excuse my clumsiness.”
“The gesture of shaking hands”, Uwe whispered, has not been used for many generations.
Uneasily, I pulled back my hand from that of T'Ralk, remembering the poor people coming to town by train for the first time, whom us, disrespectful children, pranksters, used to make fun of, more than two hundred years ago...
“Dall”, T'Ralk started, “as Uwe has probably told you already, you’ve arrived in the town of Lasse Forest, a town of the Area A 252, and I wish you welcome! For the next days I will be your new companion.”
“Why?”, Uwe asked surprised.
“The Complex announced a few minutes ago that your mission in Area A 203 has just reopened so, Uwe, you are to go there immediately.” Returning to me he continued: “we have a group of people who’re showing signs that they’ve changed their minds regarding their relocation to Urb Binaria... They decided, fortunately, to catch the last transfers, and Uwe will be part of the team whose mission is to provide council for them. We all rely on her special qualities to get a higher rate of success in the mission to persuade as many of them as possible.”
“Uwe”, continued T'Ralk, “the rest of the team is already waiting for you.”
“Where do we depart from?”
“The West Wing of TM-1.”
“Then, I must leave you! I’m heading for the terminal.”
I watched, in disbelief, toward Uwe’s eyes. She was eagerly seeking my gaze with a hurried farewell smile already on her face. Winking at me, she said:
“T'Ralk is my former colleague from the instructors’ school, so stay calm, you're in good hands. I’m off, see you again in a few days...”
“I don’t doubt it”, I said, after which I followed her with my eyes while she was running to a tall building, probably the terminal where they were to leave from.
“Uwe is a very caring person... She came to spend a few last days of vacation here, and as soon as she got here she had to get back to the mission. But you’ll never see even a shadow of regret on her face as long as she can help some of her fellow humans... Exceptional girl!”
“Yes, I totally agree about that”, I said, still hardly able to believe that I will stay away from Uwe in the coming days.
“The new group of people who’ve changed their minds is largely made up of children, and Uwe was very upset that she had failed to relocate them. Now she must be happy, because she was attached to them. Let's take a short walk through the city, okay? Let me get you acquainted with him”, T'Ralk said smiling kindly like a welcoming host and, reaching out before him, showed me a direction to which I gladly stepped.
“Of course”, I said, “I can’t wait to meet him.”
The surrounding buildings were either built of stone with many glass windows, or entirely of glass. Both must be very bright inside. The lush vegetation surrounding them almost suffocates them. Everything around resembles a forest in which, here and there, a large or small building was built.
“I see that humankind eventually came to live in balance with nature. I cannot believe that a city can look like this! I was expecting crowded skyscrapers, huge domes, the typical urban jam...”
“Yes, true. Everything is very different from what existed in the world you lived in. And different even from the things imagined back then regarding the future.”
Suddenly, from our right, a group of deer jumped out loudly, cutting us off and then suddenly plunged in among the forest trees to our left. I looked back to the place where they had appeared from and saw an absolutely wonderful sight. Did I say wonderful? It was so beautiful that it took your breath away, your feet froze and you were forced to stand still and just stare in awe! A waterfall was coming down from a high wall of rock over the peaks of other rocks and then poured into a small lake, which flowed through a narrow channel and disappeared into the forest. And all around the water, and in the entire clearing, members of a whole crowd of animals cohabitated freely, colorful birds and all kinds of mammals.
But, a curious thing, all these images that made me think of a zoo of the future in which the boundaries between wilderness and the visitor were cleverly camouflaged, instead of bringing me joy, brought me more sadness.
“What a pity”, I said, “that all this will disappear as if it never was!”
“Yes, that’s right”, T'Ralk confirmed, “too bad for all our planet’s wonders.”
“I regret very much that I don’t have time to visit other Areas.”
“Tonight, when we’ll go back to the study room, I’ll show you a holographic video describing the most important places and settlements in the world today. May be they’ll be able to compensate your regret to some extent.”
“Thank you”, I said.
“In all these images you shall notice the almost perfect harmony that human civilization has reached with its host, mother nature.”
“From what I see, I’m convinced.”
“Tell me, what do you want to do now? Do you have any preference?”
“T'Ralk, Uwe just told me that the three cabins from where we met are transfer gates...”
“They are Transfer Stations, but you can tell them transfer gates, because, actually, that’s what they are. Haven’t you used any yet?”
“No, I haven’t. Today is the first time I went outside the Complex.”
“What do you say, do you want to take a trip somewhere, to an exotic Area? Go right now, that’s what I mean.”
“Of course, why not! I didn’t dare ask you...”
“Okay, then let's go back to the TS's . Where would you like to go?”
“I don’t know, you choose a more interesting place.”
“Well, let me think...”
In less than ten minutes we came back to the gates. T'Ralk opened two doors by putting his face close to a scanner for a few seconds, then invited me to enter one of them. After he went in the second one, he closed the doors and at the same time opened a niche in the wall separating us, so now we were again together. We each sat on his chair in the little cabin and T'Ralk began to search through pages full of endless columns on a screen, each of which was a destination.
“So”, he says, “therefore: two people... Mount Kilimanjaro... No, no, something else... Here's a place where I’ve been and I felt great: Aramoana Beach, Area S 551. An area of former New Zealand. It has a wonderful beach and right now it’s noon there, so the weather is just right. We can even fish, we can walk. What do you say?”
“I say I can’t wait”, I exclaimed delighted.
T'Ralk continued to press some virtual buttons, then asked me to lean back in my chair and place my head under the scanner. I did what he said and closed my eyes. I heard him saying "OK" while pressing a final key and that was all.
I fell into a kind of sleep. In fact I think I slept for a few seconds, because the feeling that I’m experiencing now is the same as waking up after a sleep full of short and stormy dreams... I opened my eyes and I saw the cabin walls again. Presumably we haven’t yet reached the destination, I thought, and I quickly closed my eyes.
“Come on, get up!”, I heard T'Ralk say. “Are you okay?”
I looked to my right, but instead of an T'Ralk there was an android. As I rose, I could see myself in the door mirror. I too was now in another android body...
“Yes, everything is OK. For a moment I thought I hadn’t gone anywhere...”
“Yes, that’s the feeling. That nothing happened and that you are in the same place.”
We left our cabins stepping directly on the beach. There were hundreds of these cabins lined on an alley full of trees. My new body was reacting very well and I started running towards the water. The waves were breaking gently in the fine sand of the beach, pushed by a warm and fragrant breeze coming from the ocean. I really feel like I am here on the beach. It’s not that false feeling you experience when sitting with the videoheadset on the eyes, watching movies or visiting destinations. Right here, in this place, I now exist. It’s a strange feeling, being separated from my body, as if I were a child that’s left home... Everything that really represents me and makes me a human being is now here, in this place. I am here! I travelled, in no time, in space! And that's only because the human being is one thing, and it’s body, another...
“If you want, you can bathe in the water. This body is waterproof, just so you know. It can dive smoothly to depths of tens of meters.”
“Yeah? Good to know, although it’s perfectly useless if I think of how many times I’ll get to use it. I continued to walk on the wet sand, enjoying myself like a child, stepping on the surface of sand swept by the waves, which rhythmically struck my feet.
“Let us take a boat and some fishing rods”, T'Ralk said.
“Let’s!”, I replied happily...


*
17. Among the Waves

The boat trip on the ocean lasted several hours, during which we caught a few fish that we threw, of course, back into the ocean. At one point the thought of frying them on the beach had crossed my mind, hidding from the sun in the shade of a palm tree, in a fire made from sticks found around. But I quickly remembered that the android body has no way to eat and a sense of nostalgia came over me. Also, I wonder how T'Ralk would have reacted as a member of a vegetarian civilization. Who knows how he would’ve labeled me! Well, that's that... Good thing I stopped in time! T'Ralk is steering the boat along the shore in speed, and I sit with my arm hanging out of the boat, submerged in water. Saltwater drops jump randomly from the boat’s prow, splashing us. How wonderful is our world. And our planet. What a shame that everything will fall apart soon...
Several minutes ago we’ve landed in a deserted harbour and now we’re walking around seeking a place to sit in the shade. It’s a splendid afternoon. The sky is blue and clean, and the pleasant air tickles all my body’s sensors. We find a shore terrace, also deserted, whose tables and chairs sit perfectly arranged for some customers who will never come, alone and useless. We sit in chairs, and thinking about this incredible transfer, I exclaim:
“It’s absolutely wonderful what’s happening to me. I still feel like I’m dreaming!”
“That’s right, it feels like a dream.”
T'Ralk said that, even before they fully understood the existential nature of humans, there were flourishing times, in which human minds could experience leaving their own bodies. Thus, people with paralyzed bodies could be transferred, temporarily, with the help of special virtual headphones pulled over their eyes, into android bodies like the one I’m in now. This way they could walk, run, swim. Some became race car drivers. Even some aircraft pilot careers have been recorded! Many people went on visits around the world with the help of energetic waves, to any place where there were android waiting for them. They could, for example, go on a central African safari, where they could hunt a wildebeest that they followed for days among the bushes. After that, they received their trophy at home, by courier. Of course, shortly after, actual hunting was restricted, and the new type of weapon sent a simple laser beam that marked the spot where the bullet would have hit instead of the real bullet, and the hunter later received a picture that certified the craftsmanship of his precision, or, where appropriate, his failure...
“Let’s take a walk down the alleys, Dall.”
However, not only those paralyzed drew benefits from this new opportunity, but everyone, even those who otherwise could not afford to go hiking on Mount Everest and then swim in the depths of the oceans, or travel from the Amazon jungle to the Moon or Mars. How much has the adventure of he human mind evolved. I suddenly remembered something so I said:
“T'Ralk, what happened to all the other buildings, the old ones? Where are the skyscrapers, the buildings, the museums and the monumental constructions of the world? Don’t they exist anymore? I see that all the large, tall buildings, as I knew them from my time, have disappeared. And it’s not been thousands of years since then, only two hundred years, right? Did you demolish them? And also I wonder how were you able to restore the forests that are ubiquitous and the whole balance of nature with the population that, at least in my time, was growing exponentially?
“You asked several questions at once. I’ll begin to answer you now...”
“Are you going tell me there was a war that...”
“No, there was no war. Conflicts yes, there have been, but a total war, no. Let's sit here for a few moments”, T'Ralk said, pointing to a wooden bench. Then he went on: “people started, gradually, to be accountable, to be aware of the importance of the planet’s health, our only home. All buildings, or better yet, the largest part of them, indeed, were destroyed by a major earthquake. One with global effects. It was felt severely throughout the Earth.”
“Did many people die then?”
“Enough, poor souls. But it could have been much worse. Fortunately, the earthquake, although it wasn’t foreseen even by a day, shook gently before unleashing, so that much of the population, and a small part of the value of human spirit’s creation were saved. Unfortunately, however, for many other people and for a lot of buildings, including historical monuments, dating back hundred or thousands of years, nothing could be done.”
“That means, if I understand, that today all those palaces and domes and museums and streets full of houses, old and new...”
“Yes, they were all gone in a few moments. Anyway, as an irony of fate, even if they had remained standing then, they would be gone now...”
“Yeah, you're right”, I said. “I realize that the Lance will erase any trace of our passage on Earth...”
“The earthquake permanently changed the "constructed" shape of human society, but I just want to mention that this earthquake was preceded by a solar explosion.”
“A solar explosion?”
“Yes, one unprecedented in our history. An explosion which completely destroyed the electrical and communication systems and, with it, all that represented an advantage of human society. The blast scorched the part of the planet that was facing the sun at that time. Because plants disappeared, there was famine, immediately followed by despair. The earthquake only added to the misery, demolishing what was left standing.”
“What harsh times...”
“After the earthquake”, T'Ralk continued, “nothing was as it was before. The world as you knew ceased to exist. But human civilization started on the road once again, and this time it was built in a responsible and conscious manner, not at the will of random evolution, establishing rational and responsible foundations. That general disaster even destroyed the boundaries between countries, and human solidarity rebuilt one big world, that of life on Earth.”
“And the people? How did you manage to achieve such harmony between nature and the need for resources of billions of people? In my day, I remember there were more than seven billion inhabitants.”
“Population? The population in those days was of about twelve billion people. As I said, nothing was as before. Some completely radical changes were adopted as soon as society had restored its functional structure. First, the demographic policy did not allow people to have more than one child per family. So that every hundred years, with the generations that disappeared, ending their portion of existence naturally, their descendants’ population almost halved. Thus, having reached almost three billion people and having been organized in thousands of Areas, the world was structured exactly how you can see it today, living in harmony with Mother Nature. The demographic restriction, of having only one child, had already been raised. People could usually have two children, or even more, but you had to either have collaterals or buy the rights of other couples that surrendered their license. Unfortunately, human society didn’t get to enjoy this new life for very long, because the Lance came in a hurry...”
“And then, as I understood from Uwe, people willingly gave up on having children.”
“Yes, but it lasted only until Urb Binaria became a certainty...”
Outside it started getting dark. T'Ralk suggested that it was time to go back. We got up and we headed to the harbour where several elegant boats were anchored, swinging on the waves like huge horses tied in the bridle. They had high masts and their sails were pulled back and well fastened by strings. T'Ralk showed me a direction and I followed, and within minutes there was a small unit of TS's. The information tunnel between the TS's was activated and in a moment I returned home, into my android body.
We left the cabins and, quietly, we began to walk.
While we were walking, at some point we got in front of a large building, built almost entirely of glass, whose entrance door opened when we approached, inviting us to step inside.
“Come in, Dall. Here we'll spend most of our next few days, watching all kinds of virtual screenings that will complete your training. You’ll also be staying here in the days to come.”
I followed T'Ralk into the building and, after we crossed a corridor, we came to a small room.
It did not differ much from the one I had at the Complex. A room suitable in size, with a window facing the waterfall, in the middle of which stood a wide bed, which can bend or tilt the taking and as a chair, similar to that at the Complex. From it I could watch the lessons and information documentaries on the ceiling screen, on the wall or through the videoheadset pulled over my eyes, as I did almost every night at the Complex. The sink where I washed my hands was also present near the bed.
“If you forgot to bring your pyjamas and toothbrush, it’s no problem, you’ll find some new ones in the drawers, okay?”, said T'Ralk smiling.
I smiled back. Indeed, I no longer had any need for them. Just as I no longer needed a toilet, or a table. Or a glass... I really miss being able to eat or drink. To feel through my other senses, that are missing from my robot body. Taste in particular. I long to be human again...”

*
18. The Museum Doll

It’s been two days since I arrived in Lasse. Now it’s just the two of us, T'Ralk and I, here, in the empty study room, thinking that at least, I had the chance of having personal trainers, now that things on the planet are at the end. Concerned, T'Ralk is working at a terminal. We’ve just returned from a walk through the desolate city. Actually, it wasn’t deserted, for it was occupied by all sorts of wild animals regaining their territories by taking advantage of the lack of people on the planet. Yes, the people were missing from the city, and it made it unsuspectedly sad. I’ve never known before, this strange feeling of the planet without people. Streets, cities, whole areas without people. I sense the pervasiveness of a heavy loneliness in the air. It's a scary feeling. I can’t wait to follow my own kind...
Indeed, human society has reached a high level of wisdom and responsibility. It would have been difficult to foresee it, judging by how things looked in my day. Today's walk also showed me something else. Something that could have been easily observed both in this city and in all others that I have visited virtually: a generalized modesty. A mature, sufficient and natural modesty that I wouldn’t have been able to see if I hadn’t had the opportunity to compare it with the fake gold gilded luxury of the society from which I come. All the buildings, and not only them, but the whole urban scenerey, showed that humans had finally found it possible to get rid of all those unnecessary things that crowded their existance. Those little, artificial, unnatural, sometimes grotesque things, all fruits of their enduring pride that overwhelmed their lives, completely burdening them with worries and even crushing them in the end, instead of bringing the joys promised. True vanities, by which fault, life’s real values could not be seen and tasted. The man of the future, however, had managed to surround himself only with useful, beautiful and true things. Everything was dressed in... live nature!
T'Ralk finished his job. I really like him. He’s a nice and honest guy. He told me and showed me a lot of interesting things. Now, that he came near me, I ask him:
“T'Ralk, on the road to Lasse, I learned from Uwe about those dolls called HIT-MD's due to which, from what I was told, it became possible to understand the existential nature of human consciousness. She told me that here I could even see one, is that so?”
“Yes, it is... You can see one.”
“What else can you tell me about them?”
“I will gladly tell you, but first let me show you our little museum, located in the basement.”
“I’m eager to go”, I said, rising to my feet.
We both started to walk towards the central hall, we turned right, then we descended into the basement with a kind of circular platform used as an elevator substitute, and immediately after we stepped into the exhibits room. T'Ralk, smiling formally, opening his arms in a wide gesture, said to me:
“Here we are, at the heart of the small museum in the city of Lasse.”
The size of the basement we were in, had no connection with the dimensions of the surface building. In any direction I look, from the central spot in which I find myself now, radial streets lie on whole acres underground. It’s a whole new city here! This is the first time I see an urban underground and I’m not hiding my surprise at all. So therefore, they’ve built underground. It really seemed strange that there was so much free space and forests on the surface...
“What are you looking at? You haven’t descended underground until now, have you?”
“No!”
“Up, in the middle of nature, live the people. Below are the basements, organized by height: the first level has, among others, the stores, museums and exhibitions. The next level is occupied by the robot industry, where all the goods that exist in stores are produced, except for food, and further below there are the transport tunnels. At the last underground level is where our society’s waste is stored. An organization like that of an ant hill, don’t you find?”
“I’m amazed. I admit, I didn’t expect to discover a new world down here, under the earth! And I was wondering where the garbage from the sink grinder went...”
The shelves in the windows that we’re passing along, in our way to the HIT-MD doll, are filled with all sorts of things and objects of which I manage to recognize just a few. For some of them I would try to guess what they are and what they are used for, well, were used for, once, in their existence. But the rest... I have no idea... They seem to be dismantled parts from a deserted alien spaceship!
Nevertheless, by simply pressing buttons next to the exhibits, the monitors above them begin to run videos with their description. T'Ralk showed me how to use some of them, tapping them slightly. In the hall we’re now moving in, hundreds of torn paintings and broken statues are lined along the walls, most likely having been saved from under the debris. My heart begins to beat rapidly and I feel how an acid burn is attacking my body’s metal from the inside. I turn, leaving T'Ralk behind, and walk decided along this corridor, shocked by the reunion with the memories of my time, but I feel him immediately grabbing me firmly by the arm, showing me a new direction. I return compliantly, but I cannot help myself not to watch, as much as I can, the exhibits hanging on the walls.
We suddenly stopped right in front of the HIT-MD doll. T'Ralk opens the cabinet door, while I think that maybe it is better that I’ve not seen the old exhibits. The excitement that grab me, begins to fade slightly... I sigh, resigned, and look at the doll.
T'Ralk has pulled the doll from the window and placed it carefully on a stand so that we can see it up close, then began to look at it with a kind of nostalgia. I too gazed at the motionless doll. It was a boy...
“Can you start it, T'Ralk?” I asked.
“Start what, Dall?” came the answer promptly.
“I don’t know, but I thought I would get to see it manifest, that I’ll be able to talk to it.”
“This doll is empty, Dall. Empty of it self-conscienceness and, of course, of memories and experiences. What you see here is its body, similar to your very own now, except that, unlike yours, this one has been disconnected from its power source and, of course, it’s not as advanced. It’s self-consciousness, along with its memories, have left this body long ago.”
I watched T'Ralk, hardly believing what a stupid question I was able to ask him. Of course, how could someone put a living child in the window... The core, the human "essence" within the doll, was already sheltered, transferred, most likely in Urb Binaria.
“Excuse me, please, you're right. Yes, it looks pretty good, but I expected to see something that is just a little different from a real child”, I said, still wondering about the crap that continued to run out of my mouth. “Sure, I don’t think that appearance would have had any importance”, I added, trying to mend matters, but...
“Yes, that’s true, but let's not forget that at the time it was just a toy, right? And, anyway, know that this is one of the first models that appeared on the market. Later, their design was indeed improved, though without success, as adoptive parents avoided models which were too realistic. They did not want to attach themselves too much so they wouldn’t have to suffer when they would be forced to part with them.”
“T'Ralk, a question just came to me, somewhat different from our topic, but one which already is starting to give me the creeps...”
“Please...”
“The doll’s mind is transferred from the body, right?”
“Yes.”
“ The doll’s body sits in the museum window, yes?”
“Yes.”
“I sit and wonder what happens to the bodies of the ones who leave to be transferred to Urb Binaria. The bodies of the... people. Are they left empty as well?”
“No, not empty at all...”
“What do you mean?”
“That’s a hard question.”
“Why do you say it’s hard? Do you bury them, throw them into the ocean, burn them? What do you do with them?”
“No, Dall, we don’t do all that. You see, although the self-consciousness does not live in it anymore, the doll still holds its running program. It is, after all, only a very powerful computer, that's all. And, it can always start over again, like any computer that changes its owner.”
“So what?”
“The doll isn’t dead, it’s just stopped.”
“That I understand. But I still don’t get what you mean.”
“I know. This is yet another important story that gave and still gives much trouble to all. Here, sit down and let me tell you a story...”
“I’m listening, please”, I said, as I sat on the couch T'Talk pointed to me.


*
19. An Unexpected Experiment

“After the transfer, the human body is neither... dead nor empty. Just like the doll... Only that at first they didn’t realize it...”
“At first... ?”
“When the first transfer to the Urb was made. Those who left were a part of the creators and founders of the program, committed body and soul to their project, who sought to inspire courage in those who would follow. They assumed the risk of a one-way ticket, because a kind of bridgehead being necessary beyond. They stated clearly that they wanted their bodies cremated once they could confirm they’ve safely arrived in Sol, which was in space, on the Space Station platform where it was built. Their bodies, which remained in the transfer room, were under general anesthesia. Once the transfer to Urb Binaria was successful complete, the anesthetized bodies were immediately incinerated. And that, I repeat, shortly after the volunteers’ minds confirmed the safe arrival in the virtual world...”
“I understand. And now, they’re still being incinerated?”
“Have a little patience. I wanted to say that, because the bodies had been anesthetized, the researchers could not figure out what was happening to the body after the transfer.”
“Oh... So something was happening!”
“For the next group of volunteers it was agreed that they were to make a two-way trip, and so they were to return to their bodies a few hours after transfer to the Urb. Thus, the bodies were sedated, waiting for their consciousneses to return back to them after the mission had been over. They were in a special room, in a horizontal position, on platforms, coupled and monitored on life-support machines. Because the incursion lasted little more than expected, and because the researchers were very concerned about the experiment that took place in the virtual world, time passed quickly and unexpectedly, and with it, so did the effect of the medication... And then something strange happened, that no one expected. Something that disrupted, for a while, both the transfers and what we thought we knew about the complicated existential nature of man. This incident jeopardized the entire experiment, researchers suddenly finding themselves powerless in this situation, in which they no longer understood what was hapenning in the transfer room, being scrutinized by the media and accused of not yet knowing exactly what they were doing.”
“But what happened? Tell me, you’ve made me extremely curious!”
“Some time had passed after the transfer, contact with those who left had been established, they had met with the first volunteers, there was an exchange of information, everyone on the ground was amazed at how fast the messages returned from there, almost instantly, immediately after addressing the questions. Later, you'll understand why this happened, I don’t want to deviate your attention right now. But just before to end the mission, deafening screams were heard from the next room, where the unconscious bodies stood sedated. Researchers rushed inside and saw the bodies of the volunteers running without the slightest control around the room, bumping into each other and to the walls, screaming like animals!
“Good Lord, but what happened? Did their consciousnesses return in their bodies?”
“No, and this was the very first thing scientists thought about as well, so that in those moments of panic they renew the connection with them! But they replied that they weren’t feeling anything and that they weren’t aware of what was going into the test chamber.”
“Strange! I can’t figure out what was going on! And?...”
“Finally, they barely succeeded in sedating the bodies of the six volunteers again, but using force, because the bodies showed that they did not understand what their doctors were telling them. Then they placed them in the transfer seats one more time to start the procedures by which their consciences could be brought back.”
“I see, and after they returned...”
“No, they weren’t able to return ever again. And the first thing scientists understood was that this journey is one that can be done only in one direction.”
“Why?”
“You’ll understand all this when the time comes. It’s a temporal paradox. Anyway, the scientists woke up the bodies of the volunteers, which were still as irrepressible as wild beasts. They resumed contact with the six, giving them the bad news. They declared, because they had assumed the possibility of such risk, they felt very comfortable there, that everything is just as real and that there's no problem for them never to return to Earth again...”
“Good.”
“Don’t forget that the day of Lance's arrival had been set, nothing had changed, so they were left with no other choice. Nobody, in fact, had any other option, apart from the passage into nonexistence... During the next period, the six bodies were subjected to all sorts of medical and psychological tests, and from a medical point of view it seemed that everything was perfectly fine.”
“It seemed, but, as it turned out, it wasn’t. You’ve made me very curious, T'Ralk, I swear! What happened then?”
“Like I said, everything seemed fine, except that the terrified bodies that couldn’t stop screaming had to be kept separate, semi-sedated and, somehow, isolated in special rooms so they couldn’t hurt themselves. At one point, everyone feared that what had arrived in Urb Binaria were just "copies" of the human mind, but still they couldn’t figure out why the bodies left behind acted like wild animals. It was impossible not only to communicate with them, but even to calm them down somewhat. They behaved like untamed animals captured by humans. They failed to even capture their gaze, because they always turned their eyes away in horror and screamed as loudly as they possibly could...”
“Very strange indeed. And, finally, what conclusion did the scientists reach?”
“You do realize that before being able to fully understand the nature of these strange reactions, the Urb Binaria experiment was temporarily suspended. All types of inquiry committees gathered, but these too, in the end, from lack of any other option, decided to continue the experiment. This time, however, they paid great attention to the changes the bodies were going through after the transfer. Thus, a few weeks later, a new group of volunteers was elected and of course the same thing happened again. But this time, the researchers had their whole attention focused on the bodies left behind in the room. Not being sedated, this time they were observed carefully in the moments that followed the completion of the transfer and thus they were carefully studied. After all the complex observations and analyses that followed, the researchers finally understood the truth. And it wasn’t a very convenient one...”
“What? What did they find?”
“They discovered that immediately after the transfer of the self-consciousness, the bodies in the room not only behaved like animals, but they were the animals in which the minds of the ones in Urb Binaria had lived...”
“What do you mean? I don’t understand anything... What are you telling me?”
“Actually, they were not even animals, poor creatures, because they had lost almost any trace of instinct. Researchers found that they were acting like children lost in the jungle who were later found and raised by their own, in strict isolation from human society. You know what I mean? Children raised by animals in the jungle. It was concluded that they have the same type of behavior, almost like a wild animal, just like the volunteers in the transfer room.”
“Yeah, it’s mind-blowing... What was happening?”
“You see, Dall, things were slightly different than you could have ever imagined in your time. Look, for example, we all imagine that, at birth, the human child is an animal body, a body that is accompanied by its own mind. Every animal has a mind, right?”
“Yes, of course, how else?”
“Of course everyone has, from birth, a mind. And yes, you can say without fail that is the mind of its two-legged body, a primitive mind, still uneducated by our civilization and therefore still unchanged into a human one.”
“That means that my mind is, if I may say so, the mind of a "trained" animal, trained and educated by society?”
“No! Here lies the problem: the human mind, enlightened by its own conscience, should not be confused with the rudimentary mind of an animal. Your mind is not the animal mind educated in human schools.”
“It’s not?”
“No. The human mind is a new seed, planted by the child's parents since the first days of life, that develops in parallel, or next to the animal mind of the body. Do you remember the HIT-MD doll from earlier? Its mind is the one developing through lifelong education and learning. But the doll already has an operating program installed, right? A sort of primary mind, of the body. This operating program remains a primary mind, while the mind of the child is formed separately from it. The human mind is a new mind! An implant, implanted in the animal brain, next to the animal mind, that initially grows in parallel with it. But the new one, more powerful and continually fueled by education, inhibits the primary one, until, around the age of 18 months, when the child can recognize itself in the mirror, which shows the appearance of self-awareness, the transfer of the control over the body is finished! The moment the self-consciousness awakens corresponds with the inhibition of the primary mind! It loses control of its body.”
“Hmm... I still can’t believe that my mind is not the one I was born with.”
“It’s not, because you are a human being, not an animal!”
“Well, if you say there are two minds in the brain and that one of them gains full control over the body, what happens to the animal mind? It disappears? It gets erased?”
“Eh, but where and why would it disappear? Who would delete it? No, Dall, that mind remains in its own body and in its own brain, for the entire duration of a human’s life, but as a... prisoner!”
“Prisoner? I don’t understand what you mean.”
“Yes, prisoner! With both hands tied behind the back. This mind sees through the eyes of its native body – giving you the chills when, for example, you have fun in a Montaigne Russe from an amusement park! It’s the one that paralyzes your body with fear, filling it with adrenaline – pure animal reflex of attack or defense. The connection between the two minds is made only through the body’s senses, otherwise, the prisoner mind cannot move even an inch of flesh by its own will...”
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing ... You mean that the minds of the bodies now abided without the human mind, once awakened from general anesthesia, have resumed control over their bodies?”
“Exactly! Bravo, you understand! Awakened from anesthesia, the bodies, no longer having the "number 1 operating system'', that is the rational and conscious mind of human, switched to the following "operating system" found, their bodies’ original, the primary animal one. One unused since birth...”
“So, the minds that reached Urb Binaria were not copies of the bodies in the room! The self-consciousnesses, the minds of the people whom they were having the dialogue with, were indeed there! Now I finally understand what you’re saying.”
“Indeed, the self-consciousnesses arrived in Urb Binaria and the old minds of the body remained in the laboratory, at the level of 18 month old children!”
“Interesting. Okay, now let me repeat this, just so I understand. So each of us has two minds in the body? In the head, excuse me...”
“People, yes, have two minds. But you, dear Dall, no, because now you are, or remained, only the human mind, moved into this android... Although I might be wrong, because your android body has its own operating system which, in the background, coordinates all operational activities of the mechanisms that occur in the body.”
“You're right, I had forgotten about my situation.”
“The mind of the newborn animal, born from the crossing of his parents’ genes, begins to be inhibited since its first days of life by the mind of the little human being, intensively and methodically built by parental education. The little one is taught how to become a human being by its parents, human beings themselves. Without such true intelligent training, the human child can never become a new human being, but will always remain an animal, like the before mentioned feral children, wild children, found in the jungle hundreds of years ago.
Looking at the fact that they all move ''on all fours", like animals, you realize that even walking on two legs is the result of the assiduous education of human beings around them! Not even this appears by itself in a child natural behaviour. Without the work of parents, lifting the baby up and continuously assisting him in learning how to walk, man would not even be bipedal...”
“That, I think, is the most important piece of information I’ve heard from you so far. So the human mind is not the animal mind, trained and educated, but a new one.”
“Yes.”
“This means that in the brain of every human...”
“And only in the human brain...”
“There are two minds. An active, main, self-conscious one, the fruit of education and training from parents...”
“Exactly!”
“And another one, inhibited, which only instinctually controls the functioning of the body.”
“Exactly, only now you can say you have perfectly understood the duality of human nature! This primary mind is the one that created the human world, society and its civilization, so different from everything that exists naturally on Earth, and its this mind that asks itself who are we, where do we come from and...”
“... and where are we going! Fantastic!”
“Yes. And now allow me, please, to present another idea to you, as interesting as the last.”
“With pleasure! Go ahead...”
“Did you ever see any mammal that drowned if it landed in deep water?”
“I honestly don’t know... I saw indeed that the cat, mouse, dog, horse, zebra...”
“...elephant, wolf, bear, tiger, fox, lion, monkey, rabbit, antelope and so on, until you mention all mammals, swim without any problem.
And that although no one has taught them how, as it happens with humans. They can swim without getting tired and without being frightened, until they reach the shore.”
“True, and? What should that mean?”
“This means that any mammal has in its mind, since birth, a program that starts automatically when it is needed and that allows the animal to swim. This program, as you know, is missing in humans!”
“It is? Why do say that?”
“Have you ever seen any human who was not taught how to swim and who didn’t drown when he fell into a water that went over his head?”
“No, I haven’t. Indeed, he will drown.”
“So, of all mammals, man is the only one who doesn’t instinctively know how to swim. Man, in order to know how to swim, must first be taught by other people. So, the human mind has lost its access to the instinctive swimming program – even if it belongs to his preservation instinct, right? Because it is "written" in the animal mind, and this mind no longer has access to the coordination of the body’s movements, as you said.”
“I understand.”
“In the human mind, and only in it, as well you understood, two minds are active, the primary one, of the body – blocked, and the human one – active.”
“Okay, I agree with you, but then why do newborn babies swim? They didn’t take swimming lessons, right?”
“Correct, here’s where I wanted to go: the newborn baby, as you’ve noticed, being devoid of any human instruction, and therefore of the typical self-consciousness of human beings, is still an animal. And, being a live animal in danger, it swims! It must have a mind, right? What mind do you say that is has?”
“Well, obviously, the animal one, right? And you say that’s why it swims?”
“Yes, that's why it swims... And, furthermore, you saw that babies swim by making the same "dog-like" movements that all the other mammals use, without exception?”
“Yes, yes, I’ve noticed! Interesting...”
“The newborn child is still an animal! He is born with the animal mind in his head, which governs its body in accordance with its instincts. Therefore, it can swim naturrally, due to the instinctual swimming program we were talking about earlier. Once it acquires a self-consciousness, which happens, as I said, around the age of 18 months, the child that falls into water will drown!
Because, from that moment on, after being taught to stand up, to walk, talk and, most importantly, become aware of himself, acknowledging his own image in the mirror, he is practically a human being. And, from then on, the animal mind permanently loses control of its own body.”
“Very strange... We are invading minds...”
“Yes, as you say... And now back to the subject where we began our discussion. So, the bodies of the volunteers in the transfer room, immediately after the sedative effect had worn off, suddenly found themselves alone, without a human mind, with no "human will", and began to manifest wildly, running erratically, falling and hitting all in their way, screaming in horror, trying to run away from everything...”
“Yes, yes, I understand. It’s all clear now... Okay, so then how did you solve the problem of the bodies after the transfer?”
“Two options were considered: euthanasing the bodies after receiving confirmation that their former owners have arrived safely in Urb Binaria, and this before awakening from anesthesia, or setting them free in reserves.”
“And what option was chosen?”
“Every person who leaves, decides for himself, but the most agreed was the second one, of course. It's just that, you do realize, I hope, that it wasn’t very simple, because we’re talking about billions of souls that need to be fed and cared for. It’s true that their reproduction has been stopped, and, in addition, they don’t live long after their release in the reserves. So, relatively few of them remain alive today.”
“And how did you manage with the food, with feeding them?”
“Food is no longer a problem in our society. Through technology, to answer you more specifically. Human civilization has millions upon millions of robot technicians, who, on their own, have kept the entire global manufacturing industry up and running for almost a century. The same robotic structures that have fed and still feed us. And the Lutsii, that being the name given to the bodies left with no human mind in them, now occupies only a few reserves situated in warm areas of the Earth. You know, they don’t have any hair on them”, T'Ralk said, gently lifting his arms, helplessly, then lowering his eye...
“Yes, indeed, an unpleasant discovery... But that’s how it is, humans must go on at any cost, right? By the way, if the remaining bodies were called Lutsii, then what are the self-consciousnesses that leave called?”
“They haven’t been renamed because it was no need to do that. They are simply called human beings. Some call them souls...!”



*
20. Dark Thoughts, White Thoughts

T'Ralk also told me that on my return to the Complex, Uwe will fly over such a reserve and that I shall have the opportunity to see the wild humans or, let say so, what's left of them. Lutsii... The whole night I was haunted by dark thoughts... The news I had learned from T'Ralk really turned me inside out. I thought of my first body, the one in which I was born. I tried to remember the way I behaved with it. I thanked it, in my mind, for hosting me, and I apologized for everything...
Right now, at dawn, I wonder whether those old religious sayings, from my time, which said that man is born and lives in sin, don’t refer by any chance to this peculiar existential form of ours... In order for us to exist, we steal the life of another living thing, depriving it of its body and jailing it in its own flesh. I wonder how the poor creature feels about it... For them, death really does come as a release... We, the human beings, are truly just spiritual entities. We are rational, like everything around us or in the universe. We are, indeed, like the spirit of reason after which all is established… The old beliefs were right, but how could we have deciphered their meanings back then?
And our native body is, indeed, one of a monkey, as shown in the percentage of genetic similarity in value of 98.4%. Science was right. Too bad that the old faith and science turned their backs to one another, missing the only chance of finding exactly what they were missing, that could be found in the opposite camp...
How simple were, in fact, the things describing our existential nature... Indeed, parents’ bodies give birth to their little baby’s body without any involvement or creative ability from their part, things being just the same as in the case of animals. A simple act of reproduction based entirely on instinct. Immediately after birth, however, the minds of the rational beings begin to plant a "seed" or a "graft" in the mind of the little one, an educational implant to be precise, which includes in it all that you need for you to become a new human being... They teach you, with love, to stand up, then walk and run; they teach you to speak, to write, to think... Even to recognize yourself in the mirror. Then, as a child, tens or hundreds of stories are imperceptibly poured into your mind, each with hidden meanings and parables about human abilities, about good and evil. You listen to them and you remember them, and you do it with pleasure, without knowing that this very pleasant information is starting to build you, for real, as a human being.
Later, you are taken by a kindergarten, school, college and ultimately the society. And so you wake up, without even realizing it, a mature human being, ready to resume the cycle over again with your own descendant. You started out as an animal, unaware of itself, a result of the instinctual callings between the parents, and finally you wake up as a human being, conscious, built from the immaterial bricks of the education received. Of course, adding to the new lessons everything you’ve learned in your whole experience and parts of the experience of generations before you. Eventually, this I think is humanity: a continuity of self-conscious experiences. Humanity is continuity...
In truth, our existential nature, namely this duality, is the one that gave many headaches to the human spirit. Is that why there is the question who are we in our minds, and only in our? Firstly, because we’ve always felt that we’re not from this material world and, secondly, because now, once we’ve found the answer, we become again what we are and have always been, immaterial entities, purely spiritual, as I am in this artificial body...
I suddenly realize the true purpose of women, the mothers of human beings, unlike that of our fathers. Yes, our mothers form us as human beings, while our fathers provide us with food. Women are meant to build the human being, and men are meant to build our body... I think this is the only way I can explain why creation was always the preserve of men, while love and care for the child are the maternal ones... Men were the inventive spirit while women were the soul of the human beings. Men are the spirit, and women are the soul. You have your consciousness from your mother, and this means that the soul is really the correct name given to our consciousness...
“Hey, Dall! Good morning! Have you already had breakfast?”
“Hmm... Just enjoying the bitterness of the coffee”, I answered, smiling.
“What were you doing here alone? You looked as if you’d fallen into a deep pit fill of thoughts and you couldn’t get out of there! I almost didn’t see you and walked by you.”
“I was thinking about everything you’ve said, T'Ralk. You know? At some point I was wondering how was it possible not to understand the true character of human nature earlier? Wasn’t there a sign, something? Until the dolls and the first transfers, I mean.”
“There was a sign, indeed, and one reported a long time ago, that it just couldn’t be interpreted correctly.”
“Really? What was the sign that you could not be understood correctly?”
“An extremely rare syndrome and one which, at the time, was interpreted as extremely odd. It was called Alien Hand Syndrome, and occured after surgery on the brain to heal and old disease, called epilepsy.
The operation consisted in the surgical interruption of a very thin wire, made up of nerve pathways connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. Once this link was sectioned, epilepsy would disappear like magic. Many patients got to undergo this surgery. For a while, the surgery was deemed a complete success until, at some point, some very strange post-operative events began to appear. And this happened in all patients, without exception.”
“What?”
“One of their hands seemed to disobey the will of the owner. The symptom’s onset was that the patient was unable to recognize what he was holding. For example, if a key was put in this hand, him being blindfolded, he couldn’t say what he was holding. The information resulted from touching the object seemed somehow not to reach his mind’s "ego". Once the object was switched to the other hand, the patient, after a brief touch, was crying: Ah, it's a key!”
“So the hand knew how to grasp the key, but the patient didn’t know what he was holding?”
“Yes, he held it in his hand, but the flow of tactical information could not reach the self-consciousness of the hand’s owner.”
“I had no idea of such a weird thing...”
“Later on, as the disease progressed, the hand was beginning to rebel, grasping things by itself and demolishing everything caught in its way, tearing up the clothes that the patient was wearing or unbuttoning the shirt that the other hand had just finished buttoning up. There are videos made by various researchers for further study, where the images are downright disturbing: in some cases, 'the alien hand' was even trying to strangle its owner while he was sleeping, and the man had to defend himself with the other hand. The recordings indicated a struggle in its own right, for life or death, as if it was happening between two completely different people”
“Interesting, very interesting. In fact, weird! And next? What conclusion did you say that the doctors reached?”
“The immediate consequence was, of course, that such surgery had to be prohibited, and their conclusion was more of a helpless and unexplained observation, namely that, after surgery, two different personalities began to appear in the human mind. Their interpretation is limited to this: the simple observation ascertaining that this surgery seems to indicate that two distinct personalities coexist in the patient's mind. For us, today, this phenomenon shows something very clear and I think you've already figured it out for yourself... The personality at the surface belongs to the self-consciousness of human being, and the other, newly released, belongs to the prisoner mind of the animal body. That particular surgery disrupted the physical control owned exclusively by self-consciousness and thus the animal mind takes control of one of the two hands. Immediately, it expresses frustration for the long imprisonment...”
“Of course, it seems logical now. But tell me, T'Ralk, what will happen to them? I’m thinking in terms of the end of the planet...”
“On the last night, the maintenance robots will sneak a powerful sleeping pill in their drinking water. Prior to waking up, everything would have ended already...”
“I'm so glad that your society thinks of everything, T'Ralk. It’s a great pity that it all stops here. That’s how a human is supposed to be, good. The evil in his mind belongs to animal impulses.”
“Know that not everything stops here, Dall. Humanity goes on. It would have stopped, indeed, if we hadn’t managed to build Sol Invictus. But now, when humanity is sheltered, it’s simply following its destiny. Humankind has arrived where it was expected to arrive! Where it came from, actually. From among the stars... And I’m not thinking of the Cosmos in which Sol Invictus will float, but its purely spiritual essence. Its essence of quantum energy... Humankind is fulfilling its destiny, Dall! Humankind has escaped alive, leaving the sinking island, jumping up, directly into the stars from where it came on this planet.”
“I would it love to be as you say...”
“We’re like a butterfly whose cocoon was put on a train track. It was able to mature in time and fly away, just a few moments before the first train would have crushed it!”, T'Ralk said, while carefully putting back the old doll in the window.



*
21. The Island of Evil

“T'Ralk”, I said, “I feel that because of so many new things that I’ve learned from you, my mind is changing. I really feel like I’m becoming someone else since living here. And I’m still looking forward to learning more about what happened in the period in which I was gone from the world.”
“I'm so glad for you, Dall. You still have enough to know, so ask me whatever you feel like knowing. I’m at your disposal!”
“Yes, I’ll ask... Look, I see that you’ve made peace with nature and I saw how you live together with the animals. I also see that you’re consuming time and energy for my training, so you’re able to take me with you in Urb Binaria. I noticed that you’ve become a wonderful society, truly human. I’m thinking that all this couldn’t have been achieved unless you got rid of the evil in your minds...”
“That's true, you're right.”
“Okay, tell me then, how did you manage to get rid of the evil in your society? And when I say evil I think, of course, about the huge amount of bad habits and impulses in each individual. The amount of evil in each mind, multiplied by the billions of people on the planet, reveals the existence of a truly great evil... There must have been a change on an amazingly huge scale. Am I wrong?”
“Yes, I understand what you’re pointing at”, T'Ralk said. Over time, there were all sorts of initiatives and shy attempts to correct and improve interaction between members of society, from the introduction in schools of certain subjects in this sense, to increasing penalties for law violations. But things didn’t improve at all. Many people, aware that the great evil is made up by gathering the evil in each human, tried to change themselves, but all in vain. Nothing was changing in the world. And they didn’t change until evil really received the final blow, the appearance of the long-awaited Harsh Law.”
“Harsh Law? But what could this new law bring, compared to all the others before it?”
“Everything! The correctional system made of laws reunited under the name Harsh Law became, suddenly, rational and wise. The basic idea initially started with the simple observation that people who had unintentionally caused harm, such as, for example, having had a traffic accident, and recidivist thieves or dangerous criminals were imprisoned together in the same prison. This meant that the basically good people, who had the misfortune of having a careless moment, were put together with the other, virtually lost to the human community. And they were totally abandoned by the society, being taken over by the vicious ones. The very young, with a fragile psyche, were cast together with the old, deep-rooted in evil. Those who had to serve a few months were sitting together with the ones sentenced for life, who, with no other evil deed at hand, were permanently morally corrupting the first. They became lambs thrown into the mouth of the wolf...”
“Indeed, that’s true! And what was the solution of this observation? Were they moved to different prisons?”
“First they drew the conclusion. It was a simple one, as I was saying, namely that prison instead of being a place of moral cleansing, personal repentance, change through honest regret, was a flourishing academy of evil. Once entered here, anyone, no matter how mentally strong, was quickly enlisted and put into submission by, let’s say, the system in the service of evil. In jail, the victim was subject to so many tortures and terrible attempts by the sovereign evil – organized as a real living entity – that, when it was released it no longer was the person that went in, but a new exponent, generating evil in the society. A schooled evil, released back onto the streets.”
“Yeah, you're right...”
“Then, the reluctance of society to reintegrate those released, due to the label "condemned'', applied for life, contributed greatly to committing crimes, being forced to steal in order to survive. On their return to the "academy" they were already recidivists, meaning they were lost forever. Neither did they desire such a thing, nor had they any alternative. If you’re to think carefully, in this case, society was to blame for their change. From a simple, unpredictable situation, through non-involvement and ignorance, society had created a generator of evil.”
“I now understand your idea and I’m really curious to know how this problem was solved.”
“Very simple. First of all, they put everyone alike together, each category in a different prison, depending on the offense. In some cases, those who didn’t represent a danger to society, were never even sent to prison. Why should society spend its energy on their maintenance and not make use of their forces instead? The success obtained by applying this idea was huge, and in time, many prisons were closed.”
“Seriously?”
“Yes, because the punishment of spending time behind bars – in effect, being forced out of society – was changed to community work. There were so many important things to be done in the world and society was gaining much more if they redeemed their mistakes by helping it, rather than incurring expenses for maintenance and security. Not to mention the benefit obtained from defusing possible future crimes.”
“Very clever!”
“So, gradually, gradually, in these cases, judges were replaced by Psychology Committees. They were made up of experts who evaluated directly the man, trying to find what determined him to make a mistake, together with finding the inner strength of each of them to correct himself. They sought the intention for evil in humans. If he didn’t do wrong intentionally, or if he’d wronged being pushed by a situation which could not occur otherwise, but that he sincerely regreted and he would never repeat again in his life, he was classified as recoverable and was sent back into society to work in its favor. He lived, eat and slept at home, but all day long he worked for the benefit of society. Thus, society, rather than continuing to pay, won a new individual and a helper. The committees only established where the person being analyzed would go, not the years of jail as well as the former judges does.”
“Okay, but what happened to those who still continued to commit crimes after release?”
“Yes, there were such cases, but their number was decreasing more and more as a share of the total. The evaluation committees sought to know whether the evil done was intentional or not. And those hardly ever made a mistake... Almost all the people that entered this program had really been the victims of unfortunate circumstances, unintentional mistakes, decent people, and they didn’t become two-time offenders. Of course, with few exceptions, as I said, absolutely insignificant.”
“Good, and then? What happened to those who had committed evil on purpose?”
“They were also carefully examined and the Harsh Law granted many of them a second chance, unexpected, which benefited most of them. In fact, they clung desperately to it, considering the other alternative, the last one stipulated in the Harsh Law, which I’ll tell you about later.”
“I’ll wait, because so far this harsh law was a kind one...”
“Have a little patience. Those who, though evil, accepted the help of society, after they passed the correction period spent for the benefit of society, later became free people and, most importantly, received a clean criminal record, kept only in the commissions’ archive.”
“Okay, but I can’t believe that all of them came out of prisons. What happened to the criminals, for example, because this law seems to be anything but harsh, in the end...”
“You’re jumping to conclusions again. So far, the Harsh Law saved everything that deserved to be saved, and I think it was reasonable to be so, but after this level it really becomes harsh. Maybe even harsher than you’re able to accept...”
“Really?”
“Let's start from the beginning... He who stole or deliberately destroyed then worked as long as was necessary to restore the damage of the the injured party and the society.”
“Where did he work?”
“Where he was needed...”
“And if he refused?”
“He didn’t have this option. He cared not to refuse.”
“Why would he care?”
“Because of the daily food.”
“I see! And if he wasn’t hungry, or refused the food?”
“Then perhaps he was thirsty...”
“I understand. He was left to die of thirst?”
“I don’t know anyone that died”, T'Ralk smiled.
“And the criminals?”
“For criminals, the Harsh Law found an extreme solution. Nevertheless, it was one that made the crime rate fall sharply, almost to zero! Of course, except those who were mentally ill.”
“Zero, you say? What punishment can frighten so much?”
“To zero, yes. A rational punishment... Criminals, and I refer now only to those arrested after the enactment of the Harsh Law, were judged by the committees after the principle "an eye for an eye". Because they had taken a life on purpose, they had to give life back.”
“What do you mean? I don’t understand how they could have done that?”
“It’s simple. He who killed a member of society had to save other members of the same society from death.”
“Namely?”
“They became organ donors... In fact, that’s an overstatement. Let's just say that he who killed a child, immediately after raping it, and murdered it just for fun, or in order not to risk being recognized later, or even out of simple frustration, brought one last service to several members of society, sacrificing his body and losing his life.”
“Really rough!”
“I agree, but can you imagine the impact this measure had?”
“I’m trying to imagine...”
“Murder has become, suddenly, the rarest crime among all other offenses... Sure, the cameras, installed absolutely everywhere, also had a preventive role. Many aggressive individuals, realizing that they will be caught immediately, carefully pondering the alternative, turned into normal individuals, overnight. In some way they became... if not good, at least normal! Nobody had expected a positive impact to happen so quickly.”
“After all, it seems it was worth it. And those who were neither criminals nor victims of the unexpected, what happened, they all got out of prison? The wicked, I mean, the doomed criminals.”
“Of course not all of them were sent free, up to ten percent of them remained, but...”
“Is that it? Ten percent? Unbelievable...”
“Yes, and the percentage continued to decrease with each new generation that began its life under the Harsh Law, reaching a rate of below one percent today. You’re not going to believe how many people who had become involuntary evil, victims of a wrong system, wanted to escape, but the same system gave them no chance. People became criminals because they were living in slums, or were forced by others or by circumstances with no choice. Once the system was changed, it worked as a lifeboat that collected all the good and perfectly recoverable souls in it. Also, society's tolerance to drugs and weapons, lowered to the value of absolute zero!”
“And when was this harsh law given?”
“It has more than one hundred seventy years! Though still in force, there was no need to apply it for a long time now... It managed to correct the world in the first twenty years of appearance. The most important success of this law was, after all, that the "academy of evil" was finally abolished! Let me tell you next that, all those who were released over time, before leaving, gave written statements that they are aware of the amendments to this law and that they assume the punishment for recidivism.
“I’m all ears!”
“And that, if they would come back in front of the committees, they will spend the rest of their lives on one of the islands that replaced the prisons.”
“Islands, what islands?”
“Some isolated islands have been elected, with drinking water and tillable land, located somewhere in the middle of the ocean. This was the final destination under the Harsh Law for two-time offenders and for those permanently declared unrecoverable. From here, there was no way back. The recidivist no longer had a place in society. The islands were quite large, allowing prisoners to produce and manage their existences by themselves, providing their daily necessities of life. Here, they lived as they wanted, in a system based on force and terror, fundamentally different from that of the society in which they refused to live. They say that life there was hell on earth. Images from the islands of evil were highly publicized, actively contributing to discouraging potential future islanders...”
“I understand now that this Harsh Law helped many to think twice before starting an antisocial action, or becoming repeat offenders! Fear is the mother of morality, is it not?”
“It is also true that society helped to reintegrate those who really wanted to start a new life.”
“But couldn’t the prisoners have gotten back on the continent? There have been island-prisons before. Were they guarded?”
“They weren’t very guarded, but they couldn’t return. Their location was top secret, and the distances to the mainland were huge.”
“Even so, didn’t they have accomplices to bring them by boat, ship, plane? Were they hard to find?”
“You can’t go searching for a certain prisoner among hundreds of islands, roaming the oceans of the world. Plus, although the islands were not guarded, the entire perimeter was monitored from satellites. The imprisonment destination on the island was final and, once determined, this information was destroyed. And, as I’ve said, it would have been very hard to start roaming the oceans at random. And, even if they would have tried, I don’t see the purpose...”
“What do you mean you don’t see the purpose? What would have happened if they had came back? Who would have recognized them on another continent, for example?”
“At home, the maximum penalty of the Harsh Law awaited them, the donation of their body. But they could not return, as I was saying, because before being taken on the island they were permanently tattooed on the entire face!”


*
22. The Last Day in Lasse

The whole night I sat immersed in thoughts, meditating on the news I had heard. Society finally managed to become better by physically escaping the evil that reigned in it and only after it rationally reorganized its justice system. Many changed themselves in vain, hoping the world, as a whole, would change as a result, but the only result obtained was that the wicked had more room for action... Until the rules of society were fundamentally changed, no concrete results were achieved.
Yes, I say I thought about this the whole night, because, since I've arrived here, I haven’t slept. I was told that I won’t be able to sleep again ever since I opened my eyes in this android body, but I still don’t know why this happens. It doesn’t bother me and I don’t feel the need to sleep. I think I have enough time to find out...
This morning I’ve set out to explore the surrounding area by foot, until I have to meet with T'Ralk, so I leave the building and start down the path. I want to be lying on the lake shore at sunrise.
In a moment I’ll be near the highest building in the area and I want to study it better from the outside. It’s a building like any other, with almost all exterior walls and roof entirely of glass. Just like the building in which I’m staying, in fact. My room has only two exterior glass walls, and is located in a corner of the building. Through the transparent walls of my room I can see the trees and other plants that grow all around them. Some branches, full of leaves and flowers, brush against the glass wall. The ceiling allows me to have natural light all day long. The feeling I have, every time, is that I’m living in the middle of nature.
I’ve seen that there are some really large rooms, actually monospace housing, like the one T'Ralk showed me yesterday afternoon. It’s built in the shape of a hemispherical glass dome which houses a beautiful garden, and the furniture is arranged between the trees and flowery bushes. A bed with bedside tables, all covered with a blanket from a fabric that looks like fresh green moss. Somewhere, to the side, near a bush, there’s a kind of old wooden wardrobe, partially covered in moss and climbing plants. Close to a small waterfall there is a table with chairs, and, on the other side of the water, buried in grass, the bathtub. Of course, the bathtub has the shape of a small pond, and the shower water flows down from the top of some rocks. It’s a single room, but a large one, whose utilities are intelligently hidden among plants. The only floors are wood or stone and the carpets are the natural ones, made of soil covered by a thick, green grass. It must be extremely interesting to live right in the heart of nature, with all the comfort of civilization... In my days, I didn’t hear about such a thing existing... You basically live in a garden covered by a glass dome! I asked T'Ralk who lives in such a house, and he replied that anyone who wishes...
“Alright, but not everyone can have such a house”, I went on.
“They don’t have to, because people travel. They stay a while and then they leave, so it becomes vacant”.
“Okay, but what if the wife doesn’t want to go?”, I joked.
“Wife? Dall, the inhabitants of this world no longer marry each other.”
“They don’t?”, I asked. “How so?”
“People stay together as much as they enjoy themselves and get along with each other, I don’t see why they would stay together after that ends! Society is made up of mature and responsible people who no longer need the law to help them live their lives. Also, the main activity of people, since robots do everything for them, has become tourism – visiting each place on the planet that is worth seeing – and it fits perfectly with continuously moving into a new home.”
“Yeah, I was wondering, what are you doing now that robots are doing all the work?”
“What we were intended to do: create.”
“What, new robots?”, I asked smiling.
“No”, T'Ralk said, “we create progress!”

*

Now, when it’s going to be light soon, I’ll lay still and look at the animals that drink quietly from the lake located in the middle of a clearing. My metal and plastic body helps me camouflage perfectly. Animals flee from living bodies, but aren’t afraid of machines. Not being flesh and blood, I have the privilege of sitting among the animals, almost unnoticed. Like an object without life in it. Although I’m more alive than ever!
I feel two bunnies running around behind me, while, from the side, a deer stretches its long, wet nose and starts to smell the body that temporary hosts me. I remain still...
It left quietly, eating the fat grass. It realized that I pose no danger to it. How strange! I no longer need water, the liquid of life, nor air, the gas of life. And yet I’m alive! Am I still a form of life? Yes, of course, I am a form of life. And at the heart of this strange life form it’s still me, an immaterial mind... I am a human being, as T'Ralk and Uwe have said. Human beings don’t need water or air, but their mere existence woven around discoveries and communication with other human beings. And love. Given and received...
I’m alive, it’s true, but something, something is lost. I’ve lost the body through which I tasted my material existence... Although I’m no longer what I was, I am, nevertheless, myself.
The sun must have already risen because, although I cannot see it on the horizon because of the tall trees, the darkness begins to dissipate like a mist that melts in the hot air. A few drops of water jump on my face and I turn and look at the pelican that has just landed at full speed, scaring, for a moment, all the other animals, which flee screaming and move away from the unsuccessful landing spot. Poor animals, they won’t exist anymore either. I'm glad that at least they’re not aware of this fact. If they were able to realized this, as we do, then we could have taken them with us to Sol Invictus. Their consciousness would have been moved as well, because only it can fit inside Urb Binaria.
Yes, they will cease to exist because the planet will cease to exist... Everything will be reorganized by a huge force. For a few million years, the atoms around me, that are organized into scared bodies of animals that now feel the need to drink this water, will be reorganized in the form of incandescent lava, which doesn’t need water... The same atoms will escape their life’s shape like the animals that were frightened by the unexpected landing of the pelican. And, most likely, the atoms will start, slowly, gradually, to reorganize themselves increasingly more complex, resulting in more and more elaborate forms of life. Maybe even new humans. Who knows what they are destined for, this time, by the powerful fate organizing everything in the Universe…
I take advantage of the mess created by the clumsy pelican, which is now chasing a small group of egrets, to disappear, moving away slowly towards my study room.

*
I climb the stairs at the entrance and I see T'Ralk coming out of a room. He sees me and heads towards me. He greets me and, smiling, says:
“Uwe returns today. And I think that today, also, or at the latest tomorrow morning, you shall return to the Complex.”
“Yeah? I'm glad I’ll get to see her today. How did she do in the mission, was she successful?”
“Yes, she had an unexpected success, so tonight we have guests. Many guests!”
“I'll meet them all in the new world, in Urb Binaria! I’m happy for them, and for us all.”
“Yes, of course, we shall all meet, sooner or later: we have all the time in the world to do it, don’t we? Dall, I’m available until tonight, when the new group will get here. What questions do you have to ask and what answers are you waiting for? I know I still owe you some more information...”
“I forgot what it was we were talking about...”
“Then, let’s enter the room.”
A few moments later, in the study hall, both seated at a table, T'Ralk begins:
“Dall, yesterday you asked me how the world managed to become better, and I told you about the Harsh Law. This was only the first part of the transformation mechanism of human society. Today I want to tell you something about the other side.”
“Really? So there’s another side?”
“There is.”
“I’m listening gladly!”
“And it’s as important as the first.”
“I’m listening”, I said, and I leaned back in my seat.
T'Ralk frowns his eyebrows and says:
“Nearly two decades after the Harsh Law was implemented, humankind met the toughest test yet. Remember that in first day you came here you asked me where all the old buildings were and I answered that they collapsed during that great earthquake. Then, humankind knew the greatest cataclysm in history, and it barely managed to survive.”
“Yes, I remember.”
“There were many earthquakes over the times, but this one was really big. It produced more destruction than all the wars of mankind together. And, as if it wasn’t enough, the strong tectonic movements were accompanied, as expected, by massive volcanic eruptions and huge waves that penetrated deep on the surface of the continents... The injured planet was first covered in despair, then darkness and eventually cold...”
“So the plagues did come in the end... I remember there was talk about it in my time, as negative probabilities. No one knew when to expect them, but everyone said that they will surely come... Anyway, excuse me, I interrupted you.”
“There's no problem, but actually, you can say that they did eventually come...”
“It must have been truly awful.”
“It was a nightmare. Left without food, light, heat, electricity, communication, medicines or hospitals, many people weren’t able to resist... After nearly a year spent in the dark, in freezing temperatures and despair, the darkness began to be pierced by sunlight. Then, they first saw the true size of the disaster: almost everything humankind had built during its existence was destroyed. The buildings, once glorious, were now standing in the form of debris rolled to the ground, covered with a thick layer of ash. Those were moments of hell for all those who succeeded, in the end, to survive. Times hard to imagine or describe by us today. Nevertheless, all these chain catastrophies triggered a reaction in the consciousnesses of the survivors, and this is what I want to talk to you about now. You know that human nature is inclined to be more careful and better immediately after suffering some kind of adversity. People came out of the rubble, attracted by light and heat, weakened by the cold and by starvation, dirty, with long, tangled hair, but eager to gather and begin to help each other... They needed each other. Humans are sociable par excellence and, throughout this period, the survivors lacked human contact. The bases of real human relationships, that characterize today’s society, were born then, not only among the ruins of the buildings, but by restoring spiritual ties, which had been interrupted by the sinister, brutal and unjust cataclysm...”
“Interesting! And humankind started all over again...”
“Yes, it started from the beginning. Like I was saying, some came out of basements and cellars, others from bunkers and even caves, feeling the need to approach each other and cry. Once the atmosphere cleared, the thermal balance was also restored. Heavy rains began to clean the air, to wash and carry away the ashes, taking it to the seas and oceans. Fortunately, the cold didn’t last but ten to eleven months and, because it overlapped with the natural winter, many plants were hit while dormant, without vegetation, being prepared for winter, which led to their return to life in the spring that followed. The plants in the hot areas, however, failed to survive. And, without them, many of the animals could not survive, because they had starved for almost a year.”
“Yes, I’m not surprised...”
“The global imbalance which appeared as a result of the disappearance of life from large areas of the world was handled with difficulty, through sustained collective labor. The seas and oceans were the main back-up storehouse, having been less affected than the land regions.”
“Thank God for them, really. So fishing was humankind’s salvation.”
“Yes, and the seed banks that had escaped the plague fully contributed. They managed to rebuild the flora, which otherwise would have been lost forever, almost entirely.”
“You know, I heard about these seed deposits, which were designed for such situations.”
“In the spring that followed, you could see everywhere people who were glad to see other people. People who attracted each other, rebuilding their fallen society. Their common affliction made them, primarily, to be more accountable with their lives, more tolerant among them and more attentive to those around them. The world needed a lot of work. And they began, in silence and peace, to start over again with what they knew to do best: to rebuild their society. And they rebuilt it from ashes. Both literally and figuratively! Within a few decades they built everything you see today. This time, however, they built a new human society, using all their prior experience. They especially took note of the mistakes that initially led to an ill society, which this time could be avoided. And, among the recipes, ingredients and materials that helped build the reality you see today, they deliberately stopped using evil.”
“Now I understand how all this was possible...”
“As I said, using their past experience, they managed to build a world almost without fault. They had identified and rejected everything that wasn’t good. The whole society was rebuilt around a simple, universal constitution, based mainly on observations on the mistakes made by the old civilization. Countries were never re-established, and instead they reorganized themselves into regions. Once countries were gone so were specific national problems. Also, the notion of state dissapeared, which, anyway, had turned from a reliable manager of the country, into its discretionary owner. Often, the state became a perfect system of destroying its country. Now, because regions were much smaller, true democracy could be implemented, monitored and enforced. Thus, they managed to achieve high economic performance in a short time. As you know, it’s easier to build a new house than to strengthen and restore an old one, while it’s moments away from collapsing on top of you.”
“Yeah, yeah, you’re right. It’s easier to start over again than to mend something broken...”
“Humankind was born a second time, this time, however, not as a baby whose mind starts learning how to walk and talk from scratch, but in the form of a baby who already had the mind of an old person, full of experience from a tumultuous life, who’s granted an unexpected opportunity: another life!”
“Oh, it’s all very interesting. Rebirth from its own ashes, but ashes filled with meaning and experience. Now I understand a lot... Even human reconciliation with nature, the integration of buildings in the wild, cohabitation with animals and everything...”
“Yes, it's true. They took care of the environment, the animals, and their lives. The Extended Law of Nations, which later became the Law of Life, included all other populations of living creatures, giving them the right to life... Meat, necessary to the human body, was solely produced by genetics, the only raw material being plants. Food and the entertainment industry, together with scientific research have not made any animal casualties since.”
“I’m very happy to hear”, I said, thinking, while, like a fool, I was thinking about frying the fish T'Ralk had caught.
“Also, in the spirit of the new reason, people stopped multiplying in an uncontrolled manner, and every child was assured, even before birth, the whole setting of a happy life. There was no child without family, healthcare, food, education, without a house and a job once mature. The unparalleled cruelty and indifference of the old society, in which children in Africa were starving, being devoured by vultures even before their death, was no longer present... Nobody was permitted to give birth to a child without it having a secure future. Without having its own place in the world.”
“Great beginning!”
“By the way, about human beings’ development, and by this I mean education, I must tell you that, over time, it finally received the place it truly deserves. You see that we are all trained from an amount of knowledge and experience gathered throughout life, among which are our own self-consciousnesses. Without all this knowledge, consciousness would live in an empty house. Remember what you were when you first woke up, asking what your name was! Without knowledge you’re not human, you're... nothing!”
“Absolutely, that's right! Knowledge forms us as human beings. As food reflects the health of the body, so the health of the mind is given by the information that forms its experience, it’s true”, I emphasized.
“Well, children received quality education, being built from healthy information, becoming truly special human beings. Thus, the first new generations emerged, those who managed, by themselves, not only to restore a human society, but even to surpass the old one! They even managed to reduce the time lost by the old civilization! I refer to science and technology. They are the parents of the technologies that now allow you to live, although you were dead, and also, that made the whole Urb Binaira project possible. If humankind would have continued on the road started, it would not have been where it is today, but on the verge of extinction! Real schooling formed real people who, in turn, have built a real world. For human society, school is life itself...”
He was right. Quite right. We shook hands and
we said goodbye. This was the last conversation I had with T'Ralk, but it’s one that will follow me throughout my coming life...
*
Uwe only came late at night and I could barely talk to her for a little while, being busy installing the new arrivals. In a hurry, I still found out a few things...
“Uwe”, I asked her, “is T'Ralk... slightly different or am I wrong?”
“Yes, you’ve noticed well, T'Ralk is different. His body is artificial. A very advanced model that can hardly be distinguished just by looking at it from an authentic one.”
“But why, was he in an accident like me, or what...?”
“No, Dall, he didn’t suffer from anything, ever. He wasn’t born human, like us. T'Ralk was a doll. One who preferred to remain as an instructor here, until the last transport.”
“A doll? “
“Yes, didn’t he show it to you? It’s in the small museum at the first level of the basement. I gotta go, I’ll get back to you later...”
*
I was left alone in the street, as Uwe had gone to her affairs. I went home and, later, I saw the gray transport ships landing in the western part of the small town of Lasse Forest. Soon after, marching in long groups on the streets covered in darkness, the first new arrivals showed up. In the following days, they’ll all enter the relocation procedure, their new address being located somewhere in Urb Binaria’s cyberspace.



*
23. Back to the Complex

This morning I took a short tour through the neighbor-hood, a farewell walk, as we had to leave immediately after lunch, with the same small "flying saucer" that had brought us here.
Uwe had just finished lunch, so we went in a hurry to the aircraft that took off immediately. This time, I’ll try to see the buildings in Lasse more carefully, because from below I couldn’t. I hadn’t had an overview because of the tall trees and rich canopy. From the height at which we now are I can see the gray ships, like long trains, that brought the newcomers last night. They are aligned over a stretch of land located relatively close to where I lived in the last couple of days. I was able to observe them only for a few moments, because Uwe lifted our little ship in the air quite rapidly and now we've started our horizontal flight.
“Forgive me, please, for last night!” Uwe said. “I didn’t get a chance to look for you, I had a lot of formalities to carry out regarding the organization of the newcomers’ accommodation. Today, they begin the identification and testing procedures for relocation. How do you feel, what have you been doing?”
“There's no problem, dear guide, I realized you’re busy. Congratulations on the success of the mission. I’m still learning, with bitterness or with pleasure, things about your past and my future. The future I missed...”
“The one you jumped over, Dall. And how did the world do in your absence, in your opinion? How do you find it now that you’ve started to know so much about it?”
“I find it absolutely amazing, Uwe! Truly great, yes... It’s as if destiny wants this villainous asteroid to come just now, when it’s a pleasure and a joy to see the human world, not to mention live a whole life in it!”
“Dall, don’t name the asteroid, an object, villainous. This dead stone has no intention and therefore is not to blame. Evil, as such, only exists in the human mind. Nowhere on the planet, among birds, insects and animals, is there evil done intentionally. The pain felt by a gazelle as she sees a lioness eating her offspring is real and justified, but you cannot accuse the lioness of evil simply because you cannot blame another creature for trying to survive. Only the human mind works, avid for pleasure, with evil. Only the human mind uses evil as a tool. The asteroid is simply a harmless piece of rock.”
“Yes, it’s true, I won’t contradict you.”
“Do you realize that this asteroid is older than the Earth, and so it has been on this path even before the Earth was born. It was established, from a certain point of view that we would collide with it even before our planet was born... It was meant to be, and there’s nothing bad you can say about it, or about anyone else. The Universe holds no evil in the form of a conscious and deliberate manifestation.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Only some primates show this kind of evil, almost imperceptible, but in humans, as you say, it exists as an intentional manifestation performed out of pleasure, or, more accurately, out of... malice. Uwe, you should know that I’ve noticed this aspect of the human nature a while ago.”
“The asteroid is like a train, a train which has a precise route and schedule, established by the laws governing the Universe, a million years ago. We, the people, industrious ants, have built our lofty hill between the rails on which the train will arrive, and if we hadn’t been able to wake up on time, gathering all our strength to leave the ancient house, the train would have passed over us, clueless. The asteroid cannot be accused of anything, only the series of generations of people who haven’t lost any opportunity to shuffle things along the history of our evolution.”
“Not all generations. Your generations woke up just in time...”
From what I can see now, looking out the window, the return path is different from the one we came on. Uwe had told me, ever since I arrived in Lasse, that we’ll make a return visit to one of the centers occupied by the Lutsi – those bodies left by human consciousness and all its knowledge and experiences, those biological CFX-3’s...
“What are you thinking about?”
“That you’re quite right, Uwe. The asteroid has no fault. We’re to blame. It’s great that you’ve found this way out. But, speaking of destiny, what is our mission, ultimately? If we have any... And, once moved to Sol Invictus, can we finish this mission, or have we gone out the back door of our own destiny scenario, losing our existential purpose?”
“What do you think?”
“I still wonder what the meaning of everything around us and everything in the Universe is.”
“And?”
“I’ve noticed that there is rationality in everything around us. Everything seems to be composed of a huge number of wheels and gears, all belonging to a mysterious, single, giant, universal mechanism. Thus, it seems that nobody and nothing exists without a well defined meaning or without being needed by something or someone. Then, I saw how things interact in the Universe and, again, I see that everything is as if immersed in rationality. And I don’t know who or what is behind these perfectly rational universal actions. Going into detail, I see that there is rationality in the composition of life and, above all, there is rationality in... our minds. Therefore, all this rationality must exist for a purpose. What is it? Do you know?”
“Our knowledge has progressed somewhat in that direction, but we haven’t yet reached a result that can be considered final and conclusive.”
“No? Interesting. And what partial conclusions have you reached?”
“Excuse me for interrupting you, but look to your right, because we’ll fly over another great city. This is Artsal, the capital of Area A 252, and you will never have the chance to see it again, as we’ll land on the other side of the city to visit the Lutsi reserve.”
Indeed, somewhere to the right, on the horizon, I can start to distinguish the capital of the Area 252, but the whole picture had nothing to do with my idea of a city. Jungle-like vegetation! Rivers, lakes and probably many wild animals... Our little ship turns right and begins to descend, and in a few moments we will begin to overfly, at low speed, the large city.
“You were asking about the partial conclusions reached”, Uwe says. “In general, the situation is like this: there is the Universe with all that is in it, but for now we won’t enter into details on how it was created or things like that, okay?”
“Okay, as you wish, we won’t.”
“Then, there are the atoms. Do you know where they come from?”
“No, I really have no idea. From the Big Bang?”
“Not all of them. Atoms come from stars that have died. A star dies when it exhausts its nuclear fuel consisting of hydrogen and helium. When this happens, the star explodes, its diameter increases greatly and it becomes a supernova. Gravity gathers the space debris scattered by the explosion, causing them to collapse back to the center of the star. Decreasing, it becomes a dwarf star. A star is initially composed of hydrogen and helium atoms. Burning in the nuclear reactor at the center of the star, electrons are released, which migrate to the orbits of other atoms, to form heavier elements, from lithium to iron. Following the final implosion, pressure and temperature increased enormously, so that other electrons are deployed. They fly from their orbits and find a new spot on the orbits of other atoms, to form the atoms of the elements heavier than iron. Thus, all the chemical elements represented by Mendeleev's table come from stars that have died. The gold in your electronic circuits comes from a star that, after it exploded, became – of course, partly – solid gold. So, the calcium, iron and carbon atoms, and so on, appeared, until Mendeleev's table was complete. That’s how the elements were formed.”
“I didn’t know that, and I never really asked myself this question. So each of the elements known to us was born after the death of a star...”
“Yes, that’s how atoms are formed, through the relocation of the electrons still free after the explosion of the star, around the nucleus of hydrogen and helium, the elements of any star, creating a new element, like I said, heavier. Okay... Further, some of these atoms are cast into space by huge explosions that do not cease. Gravity gathers them in piles, forming different kinds of asteroids that begin to fly through space. These asteroids, bumping into each other randomly, come together, to eventually form planets. This is pretty much how our planet was created as well, with its veins of ore, being bombarded by as many different types of asteroids as there are chemical elements in it.”
“How interesting, I didn’t know that. Okay, everything seems to be rational. And then?”
“What's most interesting is just beginning.”
“Really? What?”


*
24. A Less than Usual Ladder

“Namely, all these atoms, once on a planet such as Earth, which meets specific conditions, begin to miraculously and mysteriously group, organized themselves into primitive forms of life. And here I refer only to plants. Those grow up using solar energy captured by leaves, energy coming from a star, like the Sun, in our case... Water dissolves the minerals from the soil and transports them through capillarity in the leaves. Here, they are "assembled" in new molecules through photosynthesis, using, as force links, the very energy taken from the Sun. You saw that plants burn. Have you ever asked yourself where wood releases heat and light from, when burning? From the Sun, where else! It releases the energy that plants have captured from the Sun and stored in their molecules. By decomposition molecules, the energy that kept them together is released, meaning the same solar energy. All you have to do, after you have removed the water that maintains the thermal stability from the plant, is to initiate this reaction by igniting a piece of wood with outside energy, after which, the energy released will support the reaction further until all the pieces of wood are burnt.”
“Yeah, something like that! I never thought that when I warm myself up in front of a fire, I feel in fact the energy captured by plants from the Sun...”
“Where else? Basically, in a certain way, a reverse phenomenon of photosynthesis occurs in the stove in which you make the fire, solar energy released by "opening" the molecules.”
“I agree. Then?”
Uwe pushes the joystick forward and now we’re heading at high speed towards a landing platform.
“Here’s where we’ll land. From there we’ll have to walk to the reserve.”
“With great pleasure”, I replied.
The place where we landed is almost deserted. A single guy appeared, greeting us from behind a large window of what seemed to be a former control tower. Going by foot towards the reserve, Uwe told me:
“Let's not interrupt this discussion here. I say we take a walk through the forest so we can finish the subject, agree?”
“Why not?”, I replied. “Please, go ahead, you know the way.”
“Good. Let's continue. We talked about the organization of atoms in plants. Next, there is their organization in animals. Herbivores first.”
“Yeah, you can say that... The organization of atoms in herbivores...”
“No? Herbivores eat the plants by decomposing them, and they do this because their metabolism cannot work directly with solar energy. But, by consuming the plants, just as with fire, the same energy of stellar origin it released. Herbivores don’t mainly need the plant’s minerals, but that special energy in molecules captured by plants from the Sun, which keeps their bodies at operating temperature and supplies power to the muscles and the rest of the functionalities. Thus, solar power is transferred from plants to herbivorous animals, being mainly stored in fat cells.”
“I can’t argue with you on this one, but I just want to say that, although it seems so simple, however, I don’t know why, but it would never have crossed my mind, not in a thousand years...”
“It's just a more special view on the same world in which we’ve lived since forever. So, let’s continue. We’ll now talk about carnivorous animals. They take their energy by decomposing the organization of molecules forming herbivorous animals, following, of course, the same energy which, as I said, originally came from the Sun, passed through plants and then stopped in herbivorous animals. But, essentially, it remains the same energy, right?”
“Yes. And then there are the omnivorous animals: humans, bears, monkeys...”
“By the way, a group of monkeys is watching us right now from that tree”, Uwe said, showing me the direction.
Indeed, lifting my eyes, I saw a small group of dwarf monkeys with white-gray fur and large eyes framed by dark circles, which, hung by their long tails, were picking some long, yellow fruit, jumping from one branch to another, making an indescribable noise.
“Right“, Uwe went on, “there are also the omnivorous animals that can take their energy either by breaking down the molecules of a plant or a fruit, or the molecules of an animal. What I want to emphasize now is that, after all, the whole organization of life takes place around the use of solar energy. Before talking about the fight for survival of the genes as an engine for life, you must see that, in fact, the fight of atoms organized on successive steps of solar energy is at the heart of things.”
“Very strange point of view!”
“Yes, this fight may seem strange, but it’s one that allows you to see the world clearly and then understand the nature of things.”
“But I, for example, when I eat a sweet and juicy pear, don’t I need its matter? I only need its internal energy links?”
“Just think about it: if you take all the atoms in a ripe and juicy pear and you put them on a plate, without the energy links forming the molecules, you get a kind of mineral dust, which, if you were to consume, it would not get the energy needed for your body to function. You would be eating dust. Salt, not sugar. You know what I mean?”
“I understand, I understand... And, at the same time, I hate the thought that I was unable to see these observations as a whole, although they are so simple and logical.”
“It doesn’t matter now. Look, speaking of salt and sugar. The salt crystal is no different, visually, from the sugar one. They are two translucent crystals. The sugar one, however, is the result of a plant’s existence, sugar beets or cane, which has captured energy from the Sun and stored it inside. Eating sugar crystals, you will survive. If, however, you would eat salt crystals, you could not survive! Though salt does have energy in its links, you cannot use it because it wasn’t captured by a life form directly from the Sun. Sugar is life, and in our world we only eat life. And drink water.”
“We eat life, but we put salt on it!”
“You know any other mineral that you’ve eaten, other than salt?”
“No, not really. So, we eat only life?”
“See for yourself...”
“Absolutely right! Therefore, indeed, all living things are built and assembled with the same binder – solar energy, and they need to eat solar energy in order to survive, taken from the fruit of another life...”
“Don’t forget, however”, continued Uwe, “that gasoline, plastics, rubber and all other materials and substances, which burn when lit, are derived from oil, and oil is nothing else than the essence of life set in geological layers. In plants and animals alike.”
“That I knew, it’s true. The energy released from their bodies and drained into the ground. Next?”
“Okay, now to summarize: we have a star which explodes forming atoms, atoms form planets, then, they reorganize themselves in living plants that take energy from a "live'' star. Furthermore, energy from plants reaches herbivorous animals, and then carnivores and omnivores. The latter are, of course, better than the first, in terms of material processing in order to obtain solar energy. Well, at this point, let’s bring humans into all this, shall we? And, to be more precise, I shall introduce the human body. The omnivorous animal body, governed by a mind and typical animal instincts.”
“Right! Then?”
“We have the stars, atoms, planets, plants, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores and finally, the humans. In humans we find a rational and intelligent mind. Note that reason and intelligence are the constructive characteristics of the entire organizational chain described earlier, valid in the Universe. Up to this point in our reasoning we have seen the reason around which life is intertwined. A reason which, however, you have to imagine divided like the successive steps of a ladder. Understanding, through extrapolation, where this ladder goes, you will also understand the existential reason of man. Then…”
“Wait a minute, I want to clarify something. So I’m to understand that the existential reason of plants and animals is by no means that of propagating their own genes in the future, as they said in my time, but purely a struggle for energy?”
“No, this is not the correct reasoning. There’s a single universal reason and not so many reasons as there are creatures in the Universe. The struggle for energy is the pillar on which a plant grows towards the Sun, and the survival of the genes is, if you want, equivalent to the plant’s tendrils with which the plant catches onto the pole. You saw for yourself that, within species, individuals evolve identically. According to the theory of evolution, every individual of a species should have generated a new evolutionary tree, but, as you see, reality shows us something totally different. The same species of individuals seem to evolve somewhat in parallel and identical. And this somehow involves a plan, a reason that is superior to the genes’ struggle for survival, am I right?”
“Yeah...”
“The existential reason of this energy ladder, that we were talking about earlier, which originates in the mist of the beginning of the Universe, is to obtain different evolutionary stages, all of them having, as an existential reason, the forming of a support for the intelligent minds of rational beings. Of humans, mainly!”
“How so?”
“Well, the entire effort of the Universe is, actually, the scaffolding necessary for our rational and counsciousness minds to exist! This is the general existential reason of the Universe. We are not a "product" obtained from the play of chance, just as nothing that goes on in the same unique Universe happens by chance. As they say, evolution is neither blind nor led by the genes’ fight for survival. And only now can we see who we are, in fact.”
“Hmm, I’m stunned! I cannot wait to see who we are. You’re really going to answer the question who are we?”
“ll try. Only if you’re not going to interrupt me all the time”, said Uwe, smiling.
“Okay!”


*
25. A Distant Relative

“Man is not just another consumer of the same energy that we kept talking about. He is something more. He is a dual system, formed, as you saw, from an animal and a self-consciousness mind. In the mind of that dual system called human, lives a spirit. The spirit of the human being. An energetic entity rationally organized. Its rational mind, its self-consciousness, the memories which are constructing him, exist into a form of energy, purely immaterial. The rational and intelligent human being lives in the mind of the omnivorous monkey like a horse rider in the saddle. Only at this level of the energy ladder called the human mind, the rational laws that govern the Universe and which have "blindly" built this ladder, acquire the possibility to... see, to act in a deliberately conscious way! They can gain self-awareness! They can be the observers of their own creation. They’re incarnate!”
“The ideas got shape? The laws are incarnate? ”
“The ideas became reality! We, the people, and when I say "people" I mean our rational and self-conscious minds, human beings...”
“Right...”
“We are the immaterial body of the rational and powerful laws themselves, that decide everything in the Universe!”
“Wow!”
“United as one in love for life, we form the very self-consciousness of these laws. We begin to become what we are meant to become, the very moment when we understand this. The moment we look into ourselves!”
“Fantastic! Uwe, thank you so much for what you’ve said! If I understand correctly, we are the conscious part of that existential mechanism that governs the entire Universe, yes?”
“Yes.”
“But how can such interactions exist?”
“How? I'll define more precisely what you've just named the "conscious part". The human being is a purely spiritual entity, a "conscious program", if you want, whose nature is entirely spiritual. Spiritual, meaning immaterial.”
“I understand now. It's that part of me that now sits in an android body and will be moved in Urb binary, right?”
“Yes, exactly! This spiritual entity, the human mind, is clearly of the same nature as the spirit, the laws, or whatever you want to call them, describing how things interact in the Universe. I said "describe" and not "which command" all the things in the Universe so as not to induce the idea of some almighty people’s spirit, with conscious will, of gods or other such persons invented in ancient times, okay? Both, the laws of the Universe and the human mind, are purely spiritual entities. Do you understand?”
“Of course...”
“Good. Now, let's take the example of a geometric shape. A sphere, yes? This, like any other geometric shape, has always existed in the Universe, but only as mathematical possibility. The concept of sphere, its mathematical definition, the awareness of its geometric peculiarity, only exists in the human mind. Thus, that existential possibility, later called "sphere", climbed one existential step, existing in the world of human minds, other than just as a possibility. Because only here, in the human mind, it really begins to exist. The transition from possiblity into reality is what I want to emphasize. You know what I mean?”
“I understand, but I can’t guess what the point is.”
“It's like bringing a fairytale character into reality. The sphere is like one of many characters still undiscovered from a possible future story. This theoretical character does not yet exist in the world, because nothing is known about it, and that's because no one has yet written a story that would give it life. It may only exists as a theoretical possibility. Once in a story, however, it goes beyond the stage of possibility, being and influencing, therefore interacting in the virtual dimension of people's minds.”
“Ah, now it starts to make sense.”
“Further, the existential purpose of this fairytale character is to be himself, to begin to exist other than as a possibility. To act consciously through and from the minds of people... I'm not telling you that it’s very easy, but it’s a possibility. The whole screenplay and direction of the Universe is just its becoming, of the theoretic character that embodies the laws that order things in the Universe. The character which, in our mind, could be found through the "thinking" and "speaking" spirit. Human's existential purpose can thus be defined as the stage performing the transition of the laws governing the Universe from "blind and unconscious" creative forces to perfectly conscious creative forces. The humans, form the turntable through which the dream of the laws of the Universe comes true... And all this turning occurs with the help of the system made up of the human brain and its mind, the pyramid peaks built by energy in the organization of matter. Through man, this talking spirit has come into flesh. Should I ask you if you understand?”
“Better not!” I said, smiling dizzy. “I was just kidding, I understand, but I have to reflect on this a little...”
“Man has named this insinuating force inside his mind, which cuts its way to the dimension of the material reality, always trying to define the omnipotence that governs the Universe, in a great number of ways. He has embodied it in various omnipotent characters he feared and whom he seeked protection, in exchange for a faith based on a reason started from within. From gods to God.”
“Okay, but if this spiritual entity has so much power that it governs the Universe, couldn’t it find another, more direct, way to materialize?”
“I will try to give you an answer. Think of the electromagnetic wave field which is formed between the one who sits with a video-headset on his eyes in a town and the robot through which he acts, found in a different town. This field of electromagnetic waves is created between them, which ensures the transmission of the will from the human to the robot. Whether piloting an aircraft, or handling a crane in a harbour, or relaxing in a safari on a distant continent.”
“OK, what's with this electromagnetic field?”
“This field of force exists, although it is intangible, right? Although we cannot see it...”
“Yes, it exists even though we can’t see it.”
“Does it have any effect on the entire distance until reaching the robot? Any power to do anything?”
“I don’t understand the question. It has power, how can it not?”
“Can these waves, by themselves, crush an apple? Or break an egg?”
“No, they don’t have such an effect. An apple crushed by the robot. Ha, ha, now I get it...”
“Once it reaches the robot, the will from inside the human mind can act as it pleases in the material world, agree?”
“Yes, that’s right, it can act, true!”
“Well, you see? We, humans, are the "robots" through which the immaterial intelligence of the rational and intelligent spirit in the Universe act... We cannot move an object with the power of thought, but the thought, with our power, can! So, you cannot do with your thought what the thought can do with you. The whole humanity is a civilization of thoughts! Thoughts are the engine hall of human civilization!”
“I get it now! And if we suspect who we are and where we come from, we can also deduce what our destiny is.”
“Good. If you say you’ve got it, it means that you can appreciate if, by moving to Urb Binaria, we have deviated or not from our destiny.”
“I'd rather you tell me, though.”
“We shall deviate from our destiny only if we cease to exist. As long as humanity resists its trials, and continues to exist, it means that we have not deviated from our destiny at all!”


*
26. The Lutsi Reserve

Uwe finished her exciting, but baffling speech, just as we reached the door of a massive building, made entirely of wooden beams, through which she said I must go. We crossed over and a large hall with a few rooms on both sides appeared in front of me. At the end of the hall there was a wooden ladder going up one level. From the first room, located next to the entrance, came an android dressed in camouflage overalls which welcomed and exchanged a few words with Uwe. Then, we continued to move forward down the hall, getting next to the wooden ladder. We began to climb up to the door which Uwe cautiously opened. Behind it, there was a kind of walkway, about six feet wide and very long, also built of wood. The walkway, built at about sixteen feet from the ground, had a hip-height railing on both sides, built of wood and covered by climbing plants. The entire reservation was actually a huge transparent dome built over a forest, a huge greenhouse covering that forest. I realized I was standing at the head of an observation platform that entered deep into the Lutsi’s reserve... The wooden railing and the whole walkway protected you from being seen from the reserve, being completely covered in leaves on the outside. Looking from up here to a forking of the walkway I wouldn’t have realized that behind the wall of leaves there can be a walkway. Uwe turned to me and whispered:
“We can observe them from here, without scaring them. Food is also dispersed from this walkway, as deeply and evenly through the reserve as possible. There are stairs leading to the ground every fifty feet.”
Hidden in the canopy, we walked ahead, shoulders bent, cautious, through the corridor which meandered at the same height and branched everywhere across the reserve. We could, indeed, watch them from different vantage points without being discovered.
“Why so many protective measures?” I asked Uwe.
“What you’ll see here can somewhat resemble a community of primates, like that of chimpanzees or gorillas, but only seemingly, because the Lutsi don’t climb trees, and they’re not sociable like animals. They can neither stand each other nor other people. They live isolated from one another. They’re extremely wild, mischievous and scared. You’ll rarely see one standing in the company of another. If frightened, they become overly excited, and can hurt one another badly. The long period in which they were hijacked by the humans beings who lived in them, made them lose the acuity of their animal instincts almost entirely. Poor creatures, they don’t even have the advantage of experiences acquired during a lifetime, like any other animal. In addition, because their reproductive instinct has been medically inhibited, they don’t even feel sexual attraction, so that nothing determines them to approach each other... Look how they’re hiding and spying on each other through the bushes.”
“Where? I don’t see them.”
“There’s one over there, under that thick red tree!”
“Oh, I see him...”
I began to get a glimpse of them, one by one, hidden among the bushes. Faces which were either inexpressive or frightened. Their ringed eyes are staring. Indeed, none of them was near another. Each one sits away from the others. Concealed in the bushes, they seem to be expecting something that only they know... They literally seem lost in time, which they’ve had no notion of, since the moment they were abandoned by the human minds. By the human beings...”
“Looking at them”, Uwe whispers, “you’ll be able to understand what a human sees when looking in the mirror.”
“Yeah”, I replied, on the same low tone, “it’s clear to me now.“
“And so you understand that this situation has led to many inconveniences. There are human beings of a certain sex who look in the mirror and see a Luts of a different sex.
“Homosexuals... Yes, really! And they get into so much trouble in society without any fault...”
“Yes, that’s right. And, most times, people got married to each other judging by what the mirrors showed them, resulting in a union of inappropriate minds and souls which remained strangers until separation. Rarely, as it happens, do two soul mates unite with each other! “
“I noticed that those who married a second time, chose more with their soul than with their eyes!”
“Yes, but they did it instinctively, not knowing what was really happening. Not knowing their own existential nature...”
The Lutsi below us are naked and dirty. They have no clothes on them, but, judging by a collar which still hangs from the neck of one, I guess they once had been dressed. Most likely they pulled her clothes off or they got torn in the branches. They have long, greasy, tangled hair, and unusually long fingernails.
Suddenly, the silence inside the greenhouse was suddenly interrupted, breaking into thousands of small, sharp pieces, painfully penetrating my ears, going straight into my soul, by a few loud, otherwise perfectly human, screams. Wild sounds with a human ring... All of a sudden, two Lutsi burst from a bush in a short chase. A she was chasing a he in a running position powerfully arched forward, occasionally touching the ground with their arms, which reminds me that even our banal bipedal walk is due to the fact that we’ve received education from the human civilization.
The screams soon engulfed the whole community, letting me know that the bushes were crowded with Lutsi. They were hiding, spying on each other... Poor things. Even if I understand what I see, I still can only see them as people left in a suffering of partial nothingness. I’m not at all pleased to see this grotesque scene, so I signal Uwe, letting her know I want to get out. In the uproar of animal cries, but painfully human at the same time, we went back to where we came from. We quickly left the reservation behind and boarded the little ship.
“I believe nothing of what I’ve learned and saw so far has impressed me more intensely and more unpleasantly as this reservation”, I said to Uwe. “From this point of view, I'm glad the Lutsi will soon escape their pain and everything will be over for them. Did I just say I’m glad they’ll perish? Excuse me... I don’t even know how to distinguish good from evil anymore... Everything in my mind is spinning. I feel dizzy and nauseous. For the first time I feel the need to cry, Uwe, but I can’t... My eyes can’t tear!”
“You don’t need tears to weep, dear Dall. Your soul can cry without your eyes shedding tears. It's okay, don’t worry. There are no people in the reserve, only their bodies. The human beings from those bodies are in Urb Binaria where, as you know, nothing material can penetrate.”
“I know, you're right, but my eyes saw people who’ve been abandoned and who’re suffering...”
“I know what you mean. The images are misleading your reason, we’ve all gone through it, but it’s just that we’ve done it gradually, not suddenly, as you do now.”
The next few dozen minutes, an hour even, I didn’t talk. I sat with my head turned to one side, looking down, watching the forests and cities we were flying over. Never in all my new existence have I felt the need to cry. Below, a few hundred yards under us, the green field changes abruptly to the grayish blue waves of the ocean. At one point, Uwe broke the silence by saying:
“Let me show you something beautiful, Dall! I hope it’ll help you a little. Why not? After all…”
I turned to her in astonishment. Something beautiful? What can be beautiful now?
“What?”, I asked. But instead of a reply, Uwe suddenly pushed the ship’s control handle forward, and it made a vault, beginning to descend fast towards the ocean. Her maneuver slightly lifted me from the chair. While I was trying to hold onto the side of the seat, I looked at Uwe in amazement, but she was paying attention to her manouevers, quickly pressing a few buttons on the screen in front of her.
“Prepare for impact, Dall!” she said, and I saw the ship’s nose lengthening, taking the form of a very sharp spears, while the ship sped towards the dark blue waters below us.
For now, I admit that the thought that I was dreaming or that I was the guinea pig of some new virtual simulation, like those we had experienced at night, during the training lessons and tests made with the video-headset over my eyes, had crossed my mind. We continue to descend, heading for the ocean surface, and in a few moments we’ll be crashing in the water! I feel a heavy fear that envelops me suddenly, cleansing me of any thought that was haunting me until now. Like a much needed reset...
Scared, I grip the seat sides and, at the same time, I confidently put myself at the mercy of Uwe. Right before being disintegrated by the ocean, the ship rises in a short curve, maneuver that suddenly slows it down, without a jolt, in a way that reminds me of a logarithmic curve, after which her pointed nose follows the water again, entering directly into the ocean, this time grazing. For a split second I closed my eyes, but curiosity made me open them immediately. The ship continued to sink in an accelerated rate for several seconds, and then it turned around and settled on a horizontal trajectory. We now travel at low speed, like on a cruise...
“Hmm”, I said, seeing that I was still gripping the sides of the seat, “frightening descent!” I look left and right, marveling at the new blue dimension that we’ve entered like true alien tourists in a world of thousands of aquatic animals that take refuge from our path, as if wanting to make us room. “Very cool, thank you, Uwe... It's great here!”
“This mini-trip was not part of the program, but it would have been a pity not to use the ship’s abilities. Look how clear the water is!”
Indeed, the water is extremely clear, and the place chosen is fairytale-like, bathed in sunlight and full of corals and colorful fish. A magnificent world, which I had forgotten...
“I had to compensate, in a pleasant way, those last images in your mind...”
We continued to advance through the ocean, we saw sharks, dolphins, even a whale with her calf. At one point we descended into some sort of marine pit, down, until the bottom. Here, if Uwe hadn’t turned on the strong reflectors of the ship, I don’t think the local residents would’ve ever even known that there is light in this world. I even expressed concern that the spotlight might cause blindness for those strange white creatures, but Uwe told me not to worry because they are totally blind. I think she’s right, why would they need eyes if there’s no light down here... We went through the ocean waters for more than an hour, and I can say that never in my life have I witnessed a more unusual and enjoyable experience.
“Uwe, are there underwater constructions in the ocean, by any chance?”
“Of course, there are even a few Areas that have developed quite large resorts in the aquatic environment, just not on this side of the ocean. We won’t be able to see them. But, anyway, most of them have already been evacuated... Do you want to get out?”
“Yes, of course”, I said, turning my eyes in all directions to take with me, until the last moment, as many of these wonderful and real images as I could, which I know will accompany me forever. “Thank you so much for the show!”
Immediately, the ship began to rise towards the surface, and soon the ocean released us from its wet hands, with which it was holding us tight, hindering our movement forward. Our small and beautiful ship, once escaping the friction with water, sped towards the bright blue sky.
“What are those?” I asked, pointing to what appeared to be, from a distance, a train that was floating in speed in the opposite direction to where we were going.
“It's a convoy. When an area is completely evacuated, they leave in a convoy. They lead the last people, together with all the technical staff, to a transfer gate in Urb Binaria. This is how the last train looks like... The last chance for salvation in an area.”
“When will our Complex be evacuated?”
“The general decision, adopted on the entire planet, was that the last transfer gates will be closed three days before impact.”
“Three days... This means that...”
“There are only three weeks left for living on Earth! But you will have to go before the final evacuation.”
“I can’t wait! Do you have any more surprises for me, Uwe, or are we going back home?”
“It’s your last flight, dear Dall, and that’s why I've prepared one more surprise for you.”
“Seriously? I was just joking... Where are we going?”
“We will exploit another one of this wonderful ship’s capabilities, and we will go, for a few minutes, into space, black and full of stars, wherefrom our sky looks as if it were condensed into a huge blue drop.”
“Earth...”
“Exactly. Now, I have to send the data in order to obtain a tractor driver from the tower. Until then, I will make the necessary preparations on the ship for going into space.”
“There are still people left in control towers?”
“People? No, not anymore. Not since computers took their place!”
The expected answers came almost immediately, coloring the ship’s screen. Uwe made the necessary settings and the ship enveloped in a force field that shone like the aurora borealis, the delicate veil of light that covers the Earth after the collision of harmful radiation coming from outer space with the electromagnetic field that protects it.
“We’re off!”
The ship elongated and got even pointier than last time, in flight, while positioned on the flight path. Uwe sank into the chair, holding her hands at her sides, because the joystick had pulled inside the dashboard by itself. Then I felt the acceleration... The most terrible of accelerations. What a speed...! The seats sink in the dampers behind them, slowly moving about two feet! What speed, my God! What a wonderful flight! What a day!
“Dall, how's it going?”
“It's flying!”
Handcuffed in the jaws of inertia like a metal coin attracted by a giant magnet, all I can do is look, in amazement, how the blue sky begins to fade and how, very fast, it dissipates like smoke, making way for a pitch black abyss, holed by billions of lights. Although the speed has not decreased at all, as I can see on the dashboard devices, I feel suddenly released from the huge inertial force crushing me in the chair. That's because we have come out of Earth’s gravitational area.
“Do you know where we’re going now, Dall?”
“Honestly, I have a hunch...”
Uwe turned her face to me, smiling happily.
“Yeah, it’s one thing to see images of the Earth in space, and quite another to see it for yourself!”, I said, while looking out in awe.
“It’s because you don’t just look at a picture, but our very own old house!”
“It’s so beautiful, Uwe!”
“And here, on the left side of the ship, you can see our new house. Of course, from the outside...”
I looked towards the infinite space in front of me, because the ship had stopped, then started turning, bringing us face to face with the station that’s embracing Sol Invictus. Strange... It looks like a spherical toy fixed between six floating discs, in a way that seems unnatural, in full... vacuum”
“We can’t get any closer than this, Dall.”
“Uwe, the people, everyone we've talked about is... there?”
“Yes!”
“Okay, but it’s only slightly larger than our small ship!”


*
27. Two Additional Explanations

Today’s morning is particularly beautiful. I’m sitting on a bench carved entirely from stone in the park bathed in the morning sun, waiting for Uwe to wake up. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the brightly colored views and everything, of course, in the accompaniment of birds singing. This time, I want to be sure to remember to ask her why I can’t sleep at night. It will be the first question for today.
So, in the next timeframe, of up to three weeks, I was scheduled to arrive in Urb Binaria. I passed all the tests with flying colors, both the ones checking my technical knowledge, as well as the psychological and behavioral ones. The score I obtained, as Uwe told me the other day, is quite high.
“Yes, you’ll feel better than at home, Dall”, she told me, smiling gladly, after having verified the final list of the test results.
Only now do I feel like I’m really going to leave our planet forever. And this just now, when I feel I’ve fallen madly in love with it.
Uwe kept assuring me that in Urb Binaria I will feel just like in the reality here, at home, and not the way I feel when I put my video-headset on my eyes in one of the virtual trials I’ve been through lately. It won’t be a false reality, she says, but will resemble the Aramoana beach trip, that I had visited with T'Ralk. The only change is that, instead of an android body, I will live in a body that feels, like the one in which I was born. Better still, Uwe said that Urb Binaria will not be a new world coming into my life, but that I will be like a traveler returning to an old world. Honestly, I’m not really able to see the difference, but I’ll have enough time to understand what she meant. She also told me that I will be able to eat and drink again, smell the flowers, get dirty and wash. The ceramics in the bathroom, she said, will crack over time, and the joint between the tiles will darken as well, especially where water comes into contact; the valves will break, filling with stone, if you won’t change the installation filters. She said that the trees and stones standing in the shadows will grow thick green moss on them. That everything expires just as in real life, that everything ages, including myself, so I’ll really feel like I’m living. Actually, she said, I will really live, in a value system similar to that on Earth.
It seems that a system, virtual or not, comes to life, begins to exist, once its rules and laws of interdependence and behavior are established. The virtual world begins to exist and then to evolve by itself! Just as life on our planet has done, she goes on: no one pushed things ahead, but there really were operating laws...
After consuming an entire existence, a life, I will grow old, then I’ll be young again, starting all over again with a new life. She said that I won’t be a child ever again, but a young man. Strange, I said, showing my surprise, you can choose any face, but not the child face. You’re only a child once, she replied, you can’t pretend you're a child, as long as you’re an old soul who has gathered, up to that moment, so many existences...
And, she told me, it’s very important to know that you cannot start a new life just like that, at request, only after you have completed the previous one. When he said this, she meant living the entire span of that life. As in reality, suicide is not allowed, and thus, shorting a period of time, as you can produce disturbances in the system around you, or you can even make someone suffer, which should not happen in Urb Binaria. Each new form, each new life, should be lived until the end! So, this rule solves the delicate problem, that everyone must think responsibly before choosing a new existence. Choosing new existences and appearances must be made with great care.
Another very interesting thing that Uwe told me is that the memories of one's mind can be used by Urb Binaria’s program so it can help him relive one episode which occurred in his life. So, you can say – in some way, because of the acuity of the sensations felt – that you "return" to the past. This return, however, only exists as virtual reality. That means you cannot change anything in the past from which you come from, and, thus, neither in the present, just relive, pseudo-realistically, certain episodes of your life. This way, you can better understand what you did wrong, if indeed you’ve done something wrong, or even enjoy, time and time again, something once already lived. This experience of "going back in time" can be done together with the other characters you shared that past event with. And here is indeed something very interesting! As all the people around you participate again in that event, they can be influenced by what is happening new and different and so you can say that, in some way, you have really gone back in time and that you have managed to mend something from the past, something that spread into the future ... I even asked Uwe how real this reliving of memories can be, as long as I don’t remember all the details of my past. Who remembers, I told her, what the people on the street were wearing and what car was going by on the road, in an episode which occurred several years ago that I would like to go back to and relive. Doesn’t it mean, I asked, that the program will have to invent all these details and thus interfere with fictitious, untrue details? Uwe replied that we have stored in our minds actual "photographs" of the reality experienced, information that went in through our eyes, frame by frame, but that we cannot usually recall. The program gives us unrestricted access to them. She also said that, over time, there were people who were able to replay such details. She said that, once they did a helicopter tour of a capital, for example, they could then draw all the buildings of that settlement, with all the trees, passers-by, as they were dressed, with all the cars which were on the roads at that time, with all the windows, open or closed, on each facade of each building and all other details, proof that, indeed, images are kept in our mind like photos in an album. These people, she said, were not different from others, meaning that they did not possess larger brains and thus more room for storage, but they, unlike everyone else, could have access to those images. Who knows, it might be true, I haven’t heard about any such "human camera", as Uwe said they were called.
“Then”, Uwe said, talking about life in Urb Binaria, the human being is itself like a constantly expanding and growing live universe. Thus, continuing to live life after life, along with other and other people each time, you will have a different existence every time, because you yourself will be someone else each time. And that is because you add up to a new experience, influenced by the new life partner.
“What do you mean”, I asked, “I get to live one life with each of the others? It is reasonable to combine our existences among ourselves like that?”
“How was life on Earth built? Don’t all creatures continuously genetically combine between them? That’s what we’ll do in Urb Binaria, only that instead of physical genes, which will not accompany us there, our life experiences will be the ones combining. In addition, we’ll be able to acknowledge, and of course, choose all these variables.”
She was right... And, furthermore, living with the other several billion minds in Urb Binaria – actually new combinations, continuously changing, of the rational and intelligent mind – you build another, different existence every time. Of course, in an attempt to fill an eternity...
An eternity in which, in terms of the quality of perceptions, there is no difference to this world, the real one. I can’t wait to see if it’s going to be as she said...
Uwe is just approaching me, so I get up to greet her:
“Good morning!” I say.
“Good morning to you too, Dall. How are you?” she asks.
“Okay, thank you! For fear of getting carried away again, I go directly to a question that’s been bothering me a long time. I wanted to ask you this ever since I first came here, but each time there was something else getting in the way.”
“I’m listening.”
“Why, since being here, I no longer feel the need to sleep? What’s happening? At night I watch training programs, movies, plays, I make visits, I read, but my mind doesn’t get tired at all. I'm not alarmed, in fact I really enjoy the extra time. I guess this is because I live in this artificial body that doesn’t tire like the physical one, made of flesh and blood, but I cannot refrain from asking, out of pure curiosity, why did I use to sleep when I lived in my human body and now I don’t?”
“Ha, ha! let’s reason together. Why do you think sleep exists in this perfectly rational world, in the composition of which, as you correctly have noted, nothing is useless? I, for example, still sleep at night. Why do you think I still sleep, and you don’t?”
“So your body and mind can rest, I think, after the toil of the day, right?”
“Not really!”
“No? How so? Why not? I, who have the body of a machine that never tires, don’t sleep. Isn’t that why?”
“No!”
“No? Then why do we sleep?”
“You think I will sleep more hours if one day I run –literally and figuratively – from morning till night, solving problems, that in another in which I am on vacation and relax on a lounger at the beach, from morning till evening? Don’t I sleep the same number of hours as I normally do?”
“Indeed, I believe you’ll sleep just as much. You will be more tired in the first situation, but really, I think that at night you will sleep the same in both situations and in the morning you will wake up at the usual time. You’ll sleep the same amount of time... And then? We sleep to restore our body’s strenght or internal reserves?”
“No, absolutely not! The body begins to recover as soon as it is no longer subject to effort. You don’t have to sleep for this. We sleep, dear Dall, because the information gathered during the day must be stored. They must be permanently stored in the mind, and the Lutsi’s brain, the animal body respectively, doesn’t work like the hyper-memory in which you live and whose performance you enjoy today. The visual information, sounds, thoughts, the analyses and reflections gathered by you during the day are automatically sorted as they arrive through the senses, "written" and "saved" directly in a final storage space, where you can access them from when you need them. The brain of the human body, like any other animal, is, how do I say?... is a living, biological, primitive product which, in order to store new information, needs new connections between its neurons. New physical connections between neurons actually need to grow. These links "grow" during sleep, branching out and storing the information through their physical interconnection. With the increase in the amount of information stored, the brain’s volume also increases.”
“Really?”
“In the brain of animals – so it is built – it is not possible to write information as you would with a pencil on paper, or as in the old hard drives of computers. In the brain, information is simply stored physically, through new links and new synapses! That's why I told you that the volume, actually, it would be more correct to say the density of the human or animal brain. that learns something steadily, will grow given to the multiplication of connections between neurons.”
“I see, and you say that I don’t sleep because the information of the day...”
“Information that you will remember tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and a long time to come, because they are memorized...”
“... they’re written, in the case of my new body, directly into the memory, while, in the days when I enjoyed my physical body...”
“Then, the storing of information looked like a bio-sculpture that increased during sleep... Why only during sleep? Because all the senses – basically, the entrance gates of information – must be stopped in those moments, so that what is already inside has to be sorted and stored permanently in the brain, as I said, by growing new connections between neurons. The closing of the senses means the sleep mode itself.”
“Oh, it makes sense. Yes, it actually does.”
“Now, pay attention. In the brain of each evolved creature there is a small "service hard-disk", that stores the information as they come from the senses. The reason for this this little service memory’s existence is to pre-store information, which arrives much faster than the connections between neurons can grow during sleep.”
“Right! And?”
“This small "daytime" memory is fully filled with information in about 16 hours of "recording". During sleep, this information is, as I told you, sorted, analyzed and then relocated in the brain’s volume, through the physical creation of new links between neurons. This process explains the reason for sleep. When the small service memory becomes full, the brain remains unable to receive new information and commands the closing of the senses. At this point, the fellow falls asleep.”
“Aha!”
“What you remember from today, or yesterday, is information taken by your self-consciousness directly from the small service memory, and you perceive it as recent. The memories of your life, however, are written in "letters" made from the synapses of the neurons that grow during sleep.”
“Yes, yes, now I understand.”
“For this reason, humans, unlike computers, store information with enough difficulty, and only after several repetitions. They are limited to the natural physical possibilities of storing information, like any other animal. The host animal was not built, genetically, so that it would have to memorize so many pictures and ideas and thoughts as a human gathers during his lifetime, but very few. Animals don’t go to school, don’t read books, don’t watch movies that they can remember. The images carried by an animal are very few... That is why they have very small brains, compared to humans.”
“Right”, I said smiling.
“That's why they never sleep eight hours like us humans, just two, three, five hours...”
“I didn’t know that. They all sleep so little?”
“Not all. The sloth, for example, sleeps almost all day, but for other reasons. But tell me, you can now store any information with the ease with which you save information in a computer, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. What can I say, I think you're absolutely right! It’s all clear now. But how did you learn this?”
“In the past, making some experiments on rats, it was observed that those of them who had to go through a maze of small corridors in order to reach the food, each time solving the maze, had a substantially increased brain, compared to the others, who received their food straight into their cage. Later, the same sudden increase in brain volume was observed in London taxi license candidates, because they had to memorize, before taking the license, a few hundreds or thousands of addresses, all visually memorized.”
“Yeah? I had no idea.”
“Yes. And our brain cannot develop, in volume, more than our skullcap bones allow. As you know, the volume occupied by the brain, and, thus, the volume of the human skullcap has increased substantially with the passing of time. Testimony to this are the old skulls discovered by archaeologists.”
“Indeed, I had noticed...”, I said, slightly blurring, on the go, the sounds coming out of my mouth, knowing that I was faking it.
“Of course, we must seem like huge-headed people compared to those in your time, right? This is due to artificial mutations, a product of genetic engineering.”
“Yes, I noticed, and I realized that it must be directly related to your high level of intelligence.”
“But you must know that, in our case, the information captured during the day accumulate the same small service "deposit" in the brain, which, although it is also artificially increased, it is still limited in volume. From here, information is taken and moved further, being "written" by the increase in volume. So we still feel the need to sleep. Fewer hours, about four to five, as you saw, but we still need to sleep, nevertheless...”
“Yes, yes, I saw, it’s just that I didn’t realize why. Now all my observations are related to each other...”
“The filling with daily information of that small service memory is, as I said earlier, responsible for inducing the need to sleep, when the information tends to "overflow" – when watching a movie late at night, or when reading a book, you will fall asleep without realizing it.”
“But, can’t you get over, through will, that moment of overflow you’re talking about? What happens in this case?”
“Do you know, from your time, cases where drivers fell asleep at the wheel?”
“Yes, of course. And that shows...what?”
“It shows that the need for sleep is something that goes even beyond our instinct of preservation, the first priority of a living being! Sleep does not occupy a position on a list of priorities, it’s an edge which, if you cross, you fall... It clearly shows that it is a constructive boundary, not something instinctually programmed.”
“Interesting logic!”
“No longer being any room left for new information, before simply locking, the brain "falls" in the analysis procedure, of movement and storage of data, immediately closing all senses, without which, basically, you're not awake anymore... During sleep, because the information has been moved, the storage service is cleared out, making room for new information. Then, when initiating the awakening, the senses are reactivated. After a good night's sleep, the mind gets the feeling of rest and freshness. That's about it.”
“Very clear, indeed. I remember in my time we were wondering why we sleep so much, almost a third of our life, and the answer was one and the same, to rest our mind and body. Now I understand perfectly that this was in fact because of a different reason!”
“Yes, indeed, you don’t sleep a third of your life for nothing!”
“Okay, and in my case, you said yourself, the information goes directly to the place of final storage and so, that limited storage does not exist, and I no longer feel the need to sleep. It seems logical, indeed...”
“Yes, you understood correctly. And, you also have another important advantage, besides not wasting your time sleeping: the quality of the storage. Basically, you don’t forget any visual detail. You can, for example, look from somewhere up, at the busy center of a town, for a few seconds, then you can close your eyes and review every detail in your mind, as you would stare at a photo taken from the same spot. I can’t!”
“You know, I’ve noticed this, and I don’t dislike it at all.”
“You'll see that this performance will still increase in Urb Binaria, where you will be able to review every episode of the movie that is your whole life as if you would be living it again, just by closing yours eyes...”
“Great! Uwe, speaking of sleep, why do we dream?”
“For self-consciousness has no reason why it should sleep. Just as it doesn’t age! And, by not sleeping, it... imagines. Meanwhile, the dreamer experiences all sorts of... emotional feelings.”


*
28. About the Flow of Time

There are few people in the study room at the Complex today. Most of them are agitated, with little time left. I sit next to Uwe, and I’m going to let her win this time as well.
“Check!”
“Oh”, I said, faking it, “how come I didn’t notice!”
The truth is that my mind has started to work very differently from the way it once did, with so many facilities offered by the hyper-memory in which I now live. I can easily see an endless number of ways in which this game of chess can evolve after each move.
“Horse to F6!”
“Interesting move!”
“Uwe, when did you start sending people in Urb Binaria?”
“About seven years ago, why?”
“I wanted to know how the world there will seem to me. It’s still a young world and that means that I will adapt quite quickly to it. I will not be regarded as a "backward" as I am here.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that, Dall.”
“Why do you say that? After all, no one has been in Urb Binaria for long. Therefore, I walk into a new world, not older than seven years, right?”
“You see, Dall, things are not quite so.”
“They’re not? But how?”
“Rook to H3. Things are slightly more complicated. To better understand what I want to say, answer me one question: how long did it take you, in your old life, to get from one continent to a distant other continent? From the moment you decided to go until you reached your destination. The best time would have been...?”
“Two or three days, right? Something like that. Anyways, the flight itself took about 12 hours.”
“Yes, tha’s right. You see, Dall, in Urb Binaria people set their travel coordinates and get there almost instantly.”
“And?”
“And, a book that you read here in a few days, in Urb Binaria you will read in seconds. All other things there happen at unimaginably higher speeds. Whether we’re talking about communication between people, learning new things or their understanding, or about the construction of various objects. Look, even building a house, being virtual, takes a few seconds. There, Dall, everything, absolutely everything, happens at speeds similar to electronic processes. At the speed of light, I mean... There, the world is a thought, and it literally flies with the speed of thought... Life itself is consumed there with tremendous speed and, at the same time, variable, described by equations which are difficult to explain and, of course, even more difficult to understand for the new people, here...”
“But Uwe, I still don’t understand what you’re telling me!”
“I want to tell you that, because of the speed at which things happen there, their time is very different from our time here.”
“Oh, that’s you want to tell me, that in Urb Binaria time passes faster than here, right? Queen to E8.”
“Yes, indeed. Just don’t forget the order of magnitude we’re talking about.”
“Well, yeah, fascinating idea! It seems natural. I wouldn’t have thought about it, but I admit that there may be a lag time between us and them. How much faster does time pass there? We’re not in the same year as them, that I already understood. If we’re now in the year 2215, what does their calendar show them...?”
“It shows that they are exactly in the year 2303!”
“Well, so... 88 years! Yes, it's quite a time lag, thanks for warning.”
“Dall?”
“Yes?”
“Urb Binaria has started its existence, how else, from the year zero, exactly seven years ago! Bishop to F5. Checkmate!”
“Whaaat...? Wait a minute... I feel dizzy... How?”
“Like I was saying. Since you’ve been here with us... I don’t know exactly...”
“I’ll help you, I’ve been here for seven months.”
“This means that, since you’ve come here, to us, almost two hundred years have already gone by in Urb Binaria! You do the math: two thousand three hundred and three years of theirs gone in seven years in ours. This means that three hundred twenty-nine years pass in Urb Binaria while only one goes by here...”
“Seven years here are a day there? How is that possible?”
“You shouldn’t interpret this difference from your point of view, of an earthling. They are not only two different worlds, but rather two different universes, with their own different temporal and spatial dimensions... And, because of these temporal differences, transfers to Urb Binaria can only be made in one direction: from here to there...”
“But, Uwe, all this shows me that the gap between these two worlds is huge! That means they’re much more advanced than you are, isn’t that so? You may not even know exactly what’s going on there, now! You are two completely different civilizations...”
“Yes, something like that, Dall, you understood correctly. Nevertheless, we communicate constantly, and our full technological support comes only from there.”
“I think that’s only normal.”
“The first people that arrived there have basically won back some of the time lost by humanity. Protected by this temporal anomaly, they had the time to develop and implement, on Earth, a technology capable of evacuating an entire planet and, of course, to build it a world where it can live.”
“It’s becoming more and more interesting how things fall into place. The rationality of the Universe seems to have no limits!”
“Yes, true. In Urb Binaria there are no physical beings who interact in the manner in which we, here on earth, used to, but, instead, they are purely spiritual entities, energetic entities that move in their world at speeds that are hard to understand here in our world. Let’s get something straight, this time difference is noticeable only compared to what is happening here. As for life there, don’t worry, things happen in a perfectly natural way, the perception of time flow there being the same as it is here. The Urb life is very similar to the one here; how time passes is a process that has to do more with the internal construction of that world, and this difference can be discerned only by comparison with the time here. In Urb Binaria, everything interacts observing the same rational rules. A day still has 24 hours, that go by just as easily or heavily, depending on what you’re doing... Believe me, from this point of view, you won’t feel that you’ve left this world...”
“I believe you, Uwe, but you know what I now realize? That you stay in front of Urb Binaria’s gate just as I sit and marvel at your accomplishments. I’m not the only one coming from the past, even you are in the past when compared to them.”
“Yes, Dall, you’ve understood it right. We are, like you said, two different civilizations, but with common origin. The one here, which packs its luggage, and the one in Urb Binaria that is expecting us. But we haven’t fallen behind, they went ahead very fast. All we can do, from here, is to send people there. The ones over there receive them and help them integrate.”
“I see... Will I manage with yet another leap in the future?”
“Dall, by the training acquired here, you didn’t finish a school, you’ve simply won an admission competition to a university... And, soon, all the people here will have to go through this experience.”
“Yes, it’s true, and we have an eternity to adapt, right? How often do you communicate with them?”
“We communicate every time we have to. We don’t talk directly, for our very different times prevent us from doing it. We send messages and wait for their answers. People in Urb Binaria perceive us as extremely slow... If we were to talk on the phone, for them it would be as if talking to someone who only says one word a day”, said Uwe smiling.
“Yes, very strange...”
“Dall, you see, today we communicate something to someone out there and we do it again in a few days. There, dozens of years have already passed. Although we speak with the same person in Urb Binaria, in the meantime that person has accumulated the experience of a few decades! You can no longer say whether it is the same person. Everything becomes relative, do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand perfectly, Guide. I understand and I marvel at the same time... Are we going to see each other in Urb Binaria? Will I be able to find you?”
“Of course, we can meet there. But you will arrive long before me. You’ll have to wait several years. That will be your perception.”
“That’s a long time! Won’t I forget you?”
“It’s not possible, Dall, you won’t be able to forget anything ever again. Your memories will be, as I was saying, perfect. You will be able to always "close within you" and relive every episode once lived in your life. But with so many details that you will feel certain that you’re reliving that episode. You'll have kids and, when you will want, as you now look at an old photo album, in Urb Binaria you will "move" in time, and be a part of the past experiences lived by your young family. And that, whenever you will want to. You will be an invisible witness, but who will always relive the same joy and excitement!”
“This is great! Unbelievable! Like going back in time, as you said...”
“Since you mentioned it, let me clarify one aspect regarding "time travel" that I see interests you.”
“Guide, don’t tell me that it’s also possible, because I’ll faint with pleasure.”
“No, Dall, time travel is not possible, unfortunately, not even in Urb Binaria. Although perfectly feasible technically, you realize that the system would not have a problem rewriting everything again, following, each time, other directions, let’s say, in which things evolve, taking care to preserve the memory of the self-consciousness updated.”
“So if it’s technically possible, then why isn’t it physically possible?”
“Here's why... I will try to answer you by the following example, famous in the days when Urb Binaria was being design, time travel was in public debate. Imagine that someone is forced to sell their home to pay off a debt. He sells it not knowing that the next year he would win a sum equivalent to his debt, at the lottery, so you could say he had sold it for nothing. The house sold was bought by someone who thus became neighbor with another person, with whom it became friends, joined destinies and later gave birth to a child. Now, pay attention: the one who sold the house would like to go back in time to avoid selling it, but this means that in the restored future, the newborn baby will have to disappear. And this is not allowed anywhere in the human world, much less in Urb Binaria, the planet of life, good and truth...”
“Aha, now I begin to understand...”
“Well, but this is just a simple example, because in reality, the interdependence relationship of the connections between people is one that is difficult to imagine, in size and complexity. I will give you only one percentage, so you would understand me better. Somehow or another, on Earth, about 90% of people were permanently interconnected with each other. Thus, only 10% of people were living somewhat isolated from the human community. When starting your day you would interact with certain people, these people with a few others and so on, until surrounding the planet several times! And this in just one day, the connections extending if you were to relate them to longer periods of time. It would make no sense to change all these connections every moment, for the sake of a single person’s time travel. There would be no point to life itself as we know it, as long as everything you manage to accomplish got deleted every time, with the cadence of the wave that sweeps the grains of sand on the beach, arranging them differently each time...”
“Yes, indeed. Now I know why, although technically possible, it remains impossible to achieve. I would’ve never imagined! I kept hoping that...”
“The only consolation that remains is the change seen by a person who relives moments from the past, seeing what it did wrong and returning "changed" to the present "future", that we’ve talked about.”
“So time travel remains a myth...”
“If I look at you and your quest, I don’t know if it's just a myth. Don’t forget that, if it were possible, we would have already intervened in the history of our society’s civilization, so that it would do no wrong and would not suffer as it did throughout the history of its existence. But, as you see, it did not happen. And, after all, why travel into the past, when our life is built into the future? We want to improve our future by changing the past? Why? To change the future we don’t have to go back in the past, but it’s enough to change the present. Let's change ourselves and our current actions, and so the future will be changed!”
She was right. Absolutely right...


*
29. Packing
I was informed that tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock I will pass through the gate. The information data "cord" that represents my whole being will stretch across the void, for seventy seconds, between the emitter at the Complex and one of the twelve receiver gates of the titanium sphere orbiting in the cold and dark space somewhere above the continent. At night, Sol can be seen easily. It’s one of thousands of tiny lights shining in the pitch black darkness of the sky. A small star, lost among thousands and thousands of other stars. As Uwe said, I will return from where I came from, but I didn’t ask her if she meant outer space or purely informational dimension I had to go into... But, come to think of it, I don’t leave something behind, I remain in the same cosmic space, so that means that the informational dimension is the only valid choice...
The building where we depart from, "the penultimate station", as Uwe amusingly calls it, is actually a kind of white hall, high and without windows. The partition walls are not higher than three feets and, from any viewing point, you see the hall ceiling. The interior is organized in a manner somewhat reminiscent of military rigors. The paths are arranged by color, letters and numbers, which simply direct those who are to go to one of hundreds of scanning and transmission stations, which extract the "human essence" and send it to the new location, found in another dimension. The hall, the day I visited it with Uwe, was almost empty. I imagine that there was a time when the same room was full of people who had arrived in order to be moved, full of crying children, full of young and old people, of people immersed in melancholy... A simple world, that had arrived just itself, without a label or jewelry, without functions or luggage, wihtout bringing anything material with it, but feelings and personal experiences. Without nothing, as you go to death, the only difference is that they came to life. They were being born a second time! And this time, forever...
I got my boarding ticket from Uwe today, and it’s blue with the white letters and numbers AH 20 printed on it. Watching it, I had a flash vision of the flawless organization of things. My scanning seat had been decided even before I woke up. Since they told me: “AH20 is awake”... My full name was: AH20/2215/2/2/800 and stood for the position, year, month, day and time of transfer...
Scanning generally takes a few minutes, in the case of human bodies, and only a few seconds in the particular case in which I find myself. The information from the artificial body in which I live is already electronically transposed and stored, and it just needs to be rewritten in the new quantum code of the Urb. I have also learned that, starting with this year, the bodies abandoned by people's minds, the Lutsi, were not awakened from anesthesia, considering that for a few months of existence, there was no need for them to be tormented in the reserves. They were taken by robots in huge refrigerated warehouses. Maybe it's better this way, because for me, the mere memory of the reserve is always sufficient to cause me heartache... Who really wanted, however, could still require that his body be taken to a reserve, but, in these last days, no one was thinking of what they left behind. The feelings were focused entirely on the future...
So, I have only one day left to live here and I intend to enjoy it. Tomorrow, new ones will start, that will lay before me for an eternity. I saw Uwe several times today, appearing sporadically and disappearing immediately through various parts of the Complex, taking care of things. She assured me that, as my last night here, we will spend the last hours together sitting on the café terrace here, in the Complex.
Wherever i look all I see is people going about in a hurry from one part of the Complex to the next. You can see clearly that everyone’s mind already has a "leg" up, on the star. Even the air seems to smell strongly of evacuation. No one deserts its duties, but the enthusiasm I had found seven months ago, when I got here, is lacking. The people are concerned with "packing" their lives. In only a week, the gates will close. There are only ten days left and then the gates will melt...
Last night, before parting, I asked Uwe:
“Uwe, are you sure we’re not deserting from our obligations as humans?”
“No, we’re not deserting at all, Dall! We’re just continuing our existence somewhere else so we can carry out our destiny.”
“But will we be able to carry out this destiny on Sol just like we would have here on Earth?”
“Of course, Dall. Humans had to bring love to Earth, making the planet into a real Heaven. That’s all... But, as you can see, so many misleading things made them lose sight of what’s important, losing time and failing. Humans failed on Earth, but will build Heaven on Sol.”
“Yes, that’s true... we’ve failed! Ulysses tied himself to the mast, but humankind preferred to remain free, and the misleading songs of life delayed it from its path, luring it into turbulent waves.”
“The genius of the human mind has finally helped humans find an alternative. A respite in the face of destiny and fate.”
“However, it’s a virtual alternative!”
“Yes, a virtual one... but our existential nature is not material either. We are, also, in a sense, virtual...”
In the evening, most people remaining in the Complex gathered at the café in the center. The labels imposed by the almost militarily functions and rules had disappeared completely. It was like in a summer camp, where children and teachers gathered, in the last night, around the campfire, singing, joking and laughing. You could read the satisfaction of having carried out a difficult mission on their faces. You could see the relaxation of the last moments before the completion of an almost impossible task, after which the well deserved rest followed. The wrinkles caused by tension and stress, anger and hope, melted in the waves of laughter that spread through the skin of the face as waves in water. The atmosphere was, from one night to another, more relaxed. The fewer people there were, the better they felt, knowing that humanity is sheltered. It was like watching happy farmers at the time of the autumn harvest, talking over a glass of wine, before going home with the fruit of the land already in the waggon. The fruit of a difficult season, the fruit of a species... My species was going to survive the hell unleashed on Earth. The only species rebelling against the guillotine placed by the implacable destiny, which had hung it above its head even before birth. The only species that went beyond. It broke with the old world and went to the spirit world. Beyond anything. Beyond...
“Good evening, Dall!”
“Good evening, Uwe...”
My little guide was dressed in an elegant white dress and now I cannot think of anything other than I have to thank fate that in the last seven months I had the company of such a beautiful guide... I haven’t yet left and already I miss her so... I’m looking forward to seeing her tonight...
I gently caught her hand and, closing my eyes, I put it against my cheek, as a sign of gratitude for all that she had done for me, for a stranger that had come from different times, who landed in a transit station. A soft hand, like lace, streching out from a train that has already departed.


*
30. Blue AH20

I walked through the doors of the Complex Gates realizing that even a bio-body made from plastic and metal can feel the shake generated by excitement. And, one more thing! In order for your heart to beat you don’t necessarily need to have one in your chest...
I follow the blue tape glued to the floor as it turns left since the entrance, then, at the end, I turn right to alley A and go until I reach the intersection with alley H. I don’t go far. On alley H I pass by booths and, in some of them, I see, through the semi-transparent glass door, people stretched obliquely on the transfer seat, that somewhat resembles the dentist chair from my time. They have a sort of half-helmet over their heads.
I get in front of the door that has AH20 written on it, also in white on a blue background, which I push, walking inside. The operator – who’s going to assist them when they leave, I wonder, trying to hold my thoughts together, that I feel are starting to fly in all directions, without taking into consideration my will, like a flight of scared butterflies – greets me, smiling at me cordially and invites me to have a seat on the transfer chair. I do what I’m asked and immediately the black half-helmet starts going down on my head, covering my eyes. I close my eyes and wait, thinking about all that was...
I hear all sorts of devices buzzing in the room. I look forward to rushing into a new, unknown world, a world that transforms continuously, at a speed that I can’t even understand. The important thing is that this world is good and that it accepts me in it. A world that respects life. A world made up of people who love each other. A world that loves life. I hear nothing, I feel nothing. I want to open my eyes and I open them. In front of me there’s a gate full of flowers. In fact, a kind of archway filled with flowers, and I am in front of it, standing on a gravel road. I feel a warm wind caressing my face. On both sides of the arch there’s a tall hedge, like a green curtain that only lets you move forward through the arch. I slightly turn my head left and right and I look. The booth has disappeared, and instead of its walls I see a clusters of tree through the trunks of which I spot a green field that gets lost in the distance. It’s sunny, a warm sun that bathes the flowery arch through which I have to pass. I turn and see, behind me, several others who, transferred like me, sit motionless with their large eyes glued to the beautiful flowery arch. I try to move my legs and discover that they’re listening to me. I walk towards the arch dressed in its beautiful flowers and notice, as I go by, that it is a wooden structure, built of nailed boards, painted white. I go through it, and immediately, to my right, I see a group of people walking hurriedly toward us, smiling and waving at us, with their hands up in the air:
“Welcome to the Urb Binaria!”
“Hello”, we exclaimed, smiling of relief, me and the others around me.
The hosts came near our little group and we begin to hug each other, happily.
“The bus that will take you all to the city is in the parking lot, but will leave only after you have all gathered. You'll get a bit dusty, because it will go on this country road for a few miles, but the landscape is beautiful, you’re going to love it. Now, let's sit in the shade a bit.”
“Where will the bus take us?” one of those that had come with me asked.
“It will drive you to the city’s Arrivals Center, where you will be distributed to a hotel where you will stay until you will choose a home. After a period of accommodation, you can start entering the upper modules of the Urb.
We sat at the woven wicker tables, lounging in comfortable chairs, made from the same timber. Here, under the umbrella that gently flaps in the wind, the air is much cooler than I had felt it when I was standing behind it. We were brought coffee, juices and water. I skimmed the horizon and saw, in the distance, a beautiful yellow field full of sunflowers.
I looked at my hand while lifting the coffee cup to my mouth. Although the coffee was hot, I wanted to drink it in a single gulp. Ah, what a taste, my God! Then I got up, asking where the toilet was. I opened the door and I rushed to the mirror, watching myself avidly: I had a body. I had a face. I had eyes, and I began to close them one by one, making faces in the mirror. I wrapped my arms around my shoulders, then I let my arms down, to feel my feet, leaning close to my shoes. I got up and I turned on the water in the sink, leaving my palms to be blessed on both sides by the cool water, then I bent down to face the sink, throwing the water I had gathered in the scoop of my palms over my face. Before the water reached my eyes, I closed them, but I could still notice that the sink was cracked from the overflow hole up to the one through which the water was running out of. As soon as I closed my eyes, receiving the endearment of the water on my face, I began to laugh, at first, and then to cry of happiness...


*
31. Day 0

I stand at the café, deep in bitter thoughts, looking carelessly at the passers-by. It’s been almost thirty-five years since I arrived in Urb Binaria. I hold Uwe’s hand, who arrived fourteen years later, having left only two days after me. We both agreed, from that moment, to live our first existence together, since the last night spent at the Complex café .
Uwe confided in me then, telling me she was an orphan child, raised by society. That’s how I could somehow explain the dedication, care and love cherished for her peers, and that she was in no hurry at all to reach the Urb, leaving the Earth with "the last train.'' And only after ensuring that all humankind had been sheltered.
I didn’t get bored at all waiting for Uwe, because, during all this time, I had visited some of the worlds I am to go to in the future. People here have really achieved a great development. Uwe couldn’t have imagined, at the time of my training, where they were already... In recent years, the roles have been reversed, I became her guide. Whenever I felt I missed her, I retreated, closed my eyes and remembered every episode when I was with her. Living these memories is equivalent, I can say without error, to reliving the event itself from the position of a silent observer...
Here, now, we are in the Central World, the level where each of the souls returns after a new lived existence. It’s the hearth of our world and our new paternal home. Of all human beings... It’s the new world which most closely resembles the old one, on Earth. And, also, is where I have come here for the first time.
Sitting at the table next to us, sipping her juice, is our daughter, Ar Kisa. She’s already twenty-one. Until she was twelve, the coming of age, she was the spitting image of Uwe, which was our choice. But anyway, it’s not important now, because she has changed her appearance with one of her choice. As a parent, I understood her, although I don’t feel very comfortable when watching her. Well, I’ll get used to it, I have all the time in the world...
Just five days have passed on Earth, and the reason why we’re all gathered here, at the café in the Grand Square, is really special. And, at the same time, very sad.
A giant hologram talks to the crowd gathered regarding this event, while several projectors built a three-dimensional image of the Earth, live, as you would see it if you were looking at it from space. Being night already, it’s dark outside, so its image is seen very clearly, giving me the feeling that our beautiful planet has come with us to Urb Binaria.
For this night only, the Urb has done something exceptional. It slowed down the passing of our time, causing it to run with the same measure as it does there, on our beautiful blue planet. For a few tens of minutes, our time will be perfectly synchronized.
The white haired hologram of the person speaking to us now, from the rostrum of the square, about the relativity of time, is that of Einstein. We look at him delighted because it’s really him, Einstein, who’s addressing us this evening in the Grand Square of the Urb.
Yes, Einstein. One of the biggest surprises I've had, since my arrival in Urb Binaria, was to find myself face to face with prominent personalities of humanity, revived. Basically, their self-consciousnesses were rebuilt, and have been taught and trained - starting from their first months of existence - that they are the reconstructions of certain personalities, also charging them with all the information that was known about their life and work. None of them pretends he or she is the original person, but all these "special copies", once mature, continued to live and work in a way very similar to how their originals would have lived. There are many who say that, in fact, there is no real difference between them and the originals. Also, that we are neither what we were, nor copies of the originals, and that each of us is a self-conscious energetic state. It might be so... In addition to all this, the perfect physical resemblance finishes the impression that they are the originals.
The idea was embraced both by the grieving parents who had lost their children, and by the children who have brought back their parents or relatives, rebuilding them with information from their own memories, reviving their self-consciences and restoring their memories, in order to finally enjoy life with them, with all their heart.
This way, through reconstruction based on biography – the Book of Life, as some call it, famous writers who continued to write novels in the same style that made them famous, famous painters, scientists, philosophers, religious figures, prophets, kings and pharaohs were brought back to life in Urb Binaria... Virtually all those written in the Biography of Human Civilization have been brought back to being, their personality being reconstructed according to carefully recorded information. Always, however, only those who have influenced the course of humanity for the better were restored to a new life. All others, who’ve caused death and destruction, were left to disintegrate along with the Earth, with the fire of lava consumming their traces and terrible memories of their spirits, dying yet again. The final death, the second one, as it was called.
The reason why everyone has gathered this evening, looking at giant holographic monitors, and also, why they decided to slow down time for almost a whole hour, is to say goodbye to Earth, our beautiful blue planet. The holograms will show us, and we will perceive in real time, its tragic disappearance. Otherwise, viewing the live event would not have been possible.
Einstein's talking hologram has just concluded its speech. The next hologram which is preparing to speak to us from the darkness of the square is that of Socrates. Alongside him sits, who else? than... Plato. They will have the last word, that of saying goodbye to our beloved home.
The people, standing directly on the pavement, are frozen in deep silence. Some openly cry.
The small sphere wrapped in titanium, called Sol Invictus, the Invincible Sun, has moved away at a distance that ensures its protection from the explosion that is to take place in a few moments on Earth, a position from which it can capture images of the planet's surface. After this is over, it will start on its eternal voyage through space. The external cameras on the sphere capture images that are then projected on the giant holographic screen. On the other monitors, that break the darkness of the square, summed images are shown, that are transmitted from satellites orbiting the Earth, and from many cameras located in different places on the planet, on mountainous sites, on ships anchored in the oceans, on important monuments and buildings, on small robotic ships that will monitor and transmit details, following the effects of the shock wave from flight. For a few moments, the sum of these thousands of images is processed and transferred in the huge hologram in the middle of the square, that shows our planet left without its naughty children. The best students who have upset it so much... The amount of information captured is enormous, but their role is not only to be shown to us tonight. Apparently, they will be useful in a very ambitious future project, of which I don’t know much. Who knows, maybe they’ll try to revive the planet someday as well! Virtually, of course, just like us...
From somewhere behind the building that houses the café in which we sit, the Lance, in a three-dimensional image, appears with a roar. Ugly and burned on the surface, full of holes from other smaller meteorites that took aim at it in the last few billion years, it passses over the heads of those gathered in the square, leaving behind a reeking trace. As if on cue, we all stand up... With us, a general murmur also rises.
In the square, the hologram of the Lance is heading straight for our beautiful blue planet, slowly, like a predator. In reality, however, the asteroid is moving at a huge speed, of tens of thousands of miles per hour.
The hologram shows how the Lance, which carries with it an enormous amount of energy, suddenly stops in the Earth's surface, then sinking deep into its body.
In only a few fractions of a second, it releases all this power directly into the hit surface of the planet. This takes the form of a wave of molten material that rises and hurries away from the impact site. The wave of fire begins to cleanse the planet of its crust, to a depth of ten miles, as you would clean up an apple, inverting the continents with everything that is on them and throwing them into orbit space.
From there, the debris fall back, on fire, furiously bombing the surface with huge pieces of fire and flames.
The shock wave moves at hypersonic speed, leaving behind a hole that quickly fills with lava. Side cameras now capture the melting of the rocks from which an ancient Greek monument had been reconstructed on top of a hill.
The Blue Planet is now reddish orange. A thick smoke envelopes the scene of the destruction, as a curtain. Okay, it appears to be saying, the show is over! Now let’s leave the planet start again, by itself, from the beginning.


*
32. Final Considerations

I know that at this time Sol Invictus, the body created by humans for humanity, the support for Urb Binaria, is forever leaving the area where it was born, around the Earth, on its way towards the eternity of space and time.
In the square, the people who looked astonished as their dear world came to an end, now begin to recover their senses. For now we’re alone. Only ourselves, alone. We don’t have a planet anymore... Now it’s just us alone in our new world, that we created ourselves.
In fact, we're not quite alone. And we’ve never been alone, for we went on a road that existed, that was created especially for us. By whom? The same force that decided rationality should exist in the Universe. It’s hard to answer that...
However, God, as a person, as our ancestors had imagined, nobody ever met, in any of the expeditions made in the cosmos or in the virtual dimensions from here... Neither did anyone find any intelligent physical entity resembling the "image" of humans. The only similarity found was that between the rational spirit of human beings and the "organizing spirit " in the Universe... Human beings are made in the image of this mysterious spirit of the Universe. A creative spirit made up of all-powerful universal laws. Isaac Newton said gravity is God, at least a part of him, and it seems he perfectly knew what he was saying... The human being is one conscious embodiment of this creative spirit. The incarnation laws of the universe!
Humanity is the true child of this spirit, and the spirit of the Universe is the true father of humanity. Of human beings ... Of the sum of souls and spirits... The human who managed to flee with this ark, at the last moment. The ark called Sol Invictus...

*
To become a human being, the newborn must acquire both self-consciousness and the awareness of those around him, that is clear. And I knew, even before coming here in Urb Binaria, that gaining self-consciousness, it becomes a soul. Once here I understood the rest, namely that after gaining awareness of the things around, the soul evolves to become a spirit. Basically, at birth, the child is a baby animal. It becomes a soul with the advent of self-consciousness, and after collecting experience, gaining awareness of everything around, becomes a spirit.
When I, myself, woke up in Big Dad, I was just a simple self-consciousness. A pure soul, not to say empty. After I regained my memories, joining my self-consciousness, I regained consciousness of the world around. I became a spirit once again...
When I got here, in Urb Binaria, I understood that the ladder of evolution built by Laws around energy, that Uwe had told me about then, a long time ago, actually exists, in order to support yet another ladder, for the birth and becoming of spirits. This, I think, was the main purpose for our planet’s existence: a nursery of self-conscious spirits, aware of their surroundings... A nursery of souls and spirits! For me, the one I am today, the phrase "body and soul" has taken a totally new dimension, like it never has before...

*
I asked Uwe, not long ago, what she believes love is? And she replied: “Listen to me! Close your eyes and listen to me. Dall, we are human beings. We, that speak now, that rationalize using words, are spirits with consciousness. Our consciousness, attentive to those around us, builds in our mind, over time, with each new experience, a new virtual 'entity' with which we later connect. Love is a network of links with these 'virtual entities'. You don’t really suffer, with all your heart, at the loss of another being, unless you love that human, unless you have many such links with it. The more links you have, the more you love that person. Sol is full of links, Dall. Sol is full of love now. Sol is full of souls. Sol Invictus is truly the savior of souls. You see, this awareness of the surroundings also induces, together with experiencess, feelings. And they come in a wide range, that covers the whole spectrum from love to hate, passing through the point of origin, necessarily, that of indifference. The spirit thus formed is better or worse, greater or smaller. Some of these spirits are influenced by the inspiration of good, that can be called divine, others by the inspiration of evil, that can be called demonic. They set the route for the becoming of each spirit. Our history is full of spirits which, although have not physically been present for a long time, still make their influence felt, with strenght.”
Uwe was absolutely right. It is this awareness of those around that is responsible for creating different spiritual entities in the minds of human beings, with which they wore a dialogue through thought. As self-consciousness creates your own ego, that can give you advice all the time, awareness of everything around creates virtual spiritual entities that take various forms, from dear childhood places to friends and colleagues, and from family members to personified divine entities. Gaining feelings through this awareness leads to love, indifference or hatred. For us to fulfill our destiny we should have gathered love. The need for faith, felt inside by every human being, had to meet these goals, to become better and more loving. Faith brought us together, but religion divided us... Humanity thus missed the first chance to achieve its mission and, if it hadn’t managed to extend its existence in Urb Binaria, it would have missed all the others as well. Fortunately, the naturalness which sets our path for becoming had this unexpected last chance set aside for us.

*
The holograms now show a fashionable singer from the 70s, of the twentieth century, of course. I don’t recognize him. Also recreated from memory, he sings, raucously and melancholic, one of his songs, Midnight Lady, while the hologram of the Earth becomes smaller, as Sol Invictus travels fast into space.
The darkness of the square echoes with the rhythm of the song, and its lyrics, I don’t know why, take on a different meaning now...
I still sit, numb, in the cold seat at the café and watch as the crowds are swarming about. The square is still full of people. Women, men and children. Looking at them, the thought that I will have at least one life with each of the persons in the square comes into my mind. In fact, in the whole Urb Binaria. It sounds absurd, but eternity will take care to arrange each of these meetings, in their time. Most likely I'll end up, going some distance of eternity, knowing every soul of the new world of humans. Becoming a friend or relative by marriage.
Uwe told me I shouldn’t worry about how I will fill an eternity, because this thought could crush me. This is because now I can perceive it only from the limited point of view of a mere mortal who has spent his entire life knowing he will eventually disappear. At one point, however, after going through several existences, this view of the normality of death will be replaced by that of the normality of life. The children born in Urb Binaria, she said, live without knowing the concept of death. So it can be done! With time, the rest of us will also forget about death. I believe Uwe was right again...

*
I wonder what I will be and what everyone here will be when each of us will come to truly love all others, near to whom or with whom we have already lived a lifetime. When we will truly become one huge family. A real ant hill...
Yes, we have many ways of reaching the distant days that will sink farther in time, into eternity... We will become a family, that's for sure. A true family, and we will really love each other. What name will humanity bear then? Will we step out of Sol Invictus in the vacuum of the cosmos, as a single entity of pure energy? An entity divisible into many parts, each of them retaining the full consciousness of the whole intact? An energetic entity that can create worlds, ruling over laws and principles? Could this really be the fulfillment of human destiny? To give flesh to the conscious word? To give a body to the laws that have built and still continue to build the Universe? The laws which built the humans? To perfectly close a circle that simultaneously spreads its outline in the past and in the present?
The sad lyrics of the songs resound in the square.
It seems that it’s already a certainty we will be able to begin to exist without the need of a protective titanium sphere and all the technology stored in it. Simply as an independent energetic entity... Some even say that after the accumulation of more and more existences, here in Urb Binaria, human spirits reach an existential form difficult to understand for us today.
Theoretically, we will get to explore outer space, helping life in the Universe, or even be able to generate their own virtual worlds, with galaxies made up of suns and planets, in which their inhabitants would begin to wonder, as we always did: who are we, where do we come from and where are we heading?
Who can know? Nevertheless, we have all the time in the world do find out. Truly all the time...

*
I now think that all the other existential shapes around us, from electrons and atoms to planets and life itself – except for the human being – had no choice in their direction. Indeed, only we, the people, were given two choices: to follow our way of becoming or stray from it. For all other manifestations of life, the road was clearly mapped out, without the possibility of a deviation, by an implacable destiny. We, however, have been governed, with special care, by the universal laws. Our path was, and probably will continue to be, henceforth, one overwhelmed by obstacles, difficulties and troubles...
Our path, of human beings, is the most difficult of all others because it also involves our conscious will, of our free will, to overcome it... The road is singular and absolute, and the obstacles are always changing. All we have to do is stay on this road, go forward on it and resist all opposition.
Uwe’s words, from the time she was my trainer, come back to me: “We shall deviate from our destiny only if we cease to exist. As long as humanity resists its trials, and continues to exist, it means that we have not deviated from our destiny at all!”
Also true, the man who said that “The most heroic act of humanity is that it exists and that is wants to continue resiting.”
Alone or not, on the path of resistance, at least for now, we have escaped evil.
For now, we’re free!...


33. EPILOGUE
or prologue?

How can I end this novel without highlighting the striking similarity that exists between the world of Urb Binaria and the one described in the last prophecy of the Bible?
Was the prophet John trying to tell us about Urb Binaria? Who can know for sure? The similarities are, beyond any doubt, more than amazing...
“And he carried me, in spirit, to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven [...].
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection. On such the second death has no power [...] and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
[...] and I saw the holy city [...] And the building of the wall of it was of jasper, and the city was of pure gold, like clear glass. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city is pure gold, and transparent as glass.
And I heard, from the throne, a great voice saying: Behold, the house of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them.
And He shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death; neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.
And none shall enter the city that is tainted, neither whosoever has given himself to abomination or lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Gone are the dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and tells a lie!
And the place of the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
And the gates of the city shall not be shut at all by day, for there shall be no night; and they shall have not need of lamp light or sunlight, because the Lord God will be their light, and will reign forever and ever. And again He said: It was done! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. And let him that is athirst come and I shall let him take the water of life freely.
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
In the midst of the square of it, on either side of the river, there was the tree of life, [...] and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And the angel said unto me: These words are faithful and true, and the Lord, God of the spirits [...] shows unto his servants the things which must shortly be done "

Prophecies of John the Theologian, from the Apocalypse


*
34. An unattainable ideal or our true destiny?

In an egg, a whole being is "packed". There, inside the shell, is everything needed for this new creature to have a fully functional body, the "magic dust" needed to wake up to life once its body was fully developed, a bag with enough air for the effort of breaking the shell and all needed to be known to be able to survive later, during its whole life, as instincts...
But people? How do they appear?
They start from an egg as well, called an ovule, and they too have a body, and instincts necessary for their existence. However, if the child would not be taught to be a human by the systematic education provided by his parents, who themselves were educated by their parents and so on, until far into the mists of time, the young child would not become a human being, but it would remain almost like an animal, unable to stand on two feet, unable to speak any human language, to think, to reason, and thus to fulfill what it’s his from the great creation that is the true "kingdom of heaven ", human society.
Human society, with its specific civilization, is the only "kingdom of heaven" truly known. It is a kingdom of thoughts, a civilization of thoughts, "packed" also in a virtual dimension, parallel to the material one, that of the existence of our own bodies.
Our thoughts are, really, the engine room of human civilization. They fulfill our destinies.
But can we really know what the destiny of the human being is? Or its destinies, for it may have more than one...
For humans, among many other possibilities, the most natural seems to be to physically shape humanity, while every individual lives, more or less happily, his own life.
For the rational human being, the most natural destiny would be to interact in peace and live in love with other people and nature, so that humanity can exist as a functional body.
But what might the destiny of humanity be? The ideal of a perfectly organized body could work as a creative force in the Universe, thus embodying the Creator, that incomprehensible force that organizes everything so naturally in the Universe, the Divinity that ignited the spirit of its self-consciousness and of the things around from the beginning!
If it is like this or otherwise, we cannot know now. But if it will be so, then this purpose will be fulfilled only when human beings will know how to live in love towards one another.
This is the main message of the story that is Urb Binaria.
Octav Chivulescu









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