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A LUCILIUS PARABLE: PRODUCTIVE DELUSION

September 9th, 2018

In the early 21st century, the technology of virtual reality and cognitive medicine had reached a critical juncture that allowed Lucilius to play a little trick on himself.

 

A compound had recently been developed by the pharmaceutical company Mondieu called Mnemectomol which removes all memory of a period up to a year, depending on a incredibly precise dose.

 

 

Lucilius hooked up an automated I.V. of Mnemectomol that would deliver a single does to his body at the end of his time in the virtual reality machine.

 

He had programmed the virtual reality machine so that it would record all of his experiences and then deliver it to an A.I. program that would transcribe the experiences into journal entries.  Lucilius had given this A.I. program all of his previous journals so that it could ingest all of his linguistic tendencies and idiosyncrasies and patterns of thinking and revelation in order to produce journal entries that were stylistically impossible to differentiate from his own writing.

 

Before getting into the machine, Lucilius took the last blank book that would be written in by the A.I. program and wrote a note to himself in the back.

 

He signed it with the date, and closed the book, chuckling.

 

Then he got into the virtual reality machine and turned it on.

 

For the past few years Lucilius had been part of a scientific research group that was probing the potential utility of quantum entanglement for the purposes of a better telephone, but the entire team was so hung up on the whole problem that research had essentially ground to a halt.

 

Never taking anything quite so seriously, Lucilius decided the group should take a little vacation, and Lucilius had spent the first half of his vacation programing his virtual reality trip.

 

It was the ultimate RPG, but it essentially sent Lucilius back to the lab.  But Lucilius had programmed this virtual reality to adhere to the tendencies of real life only sometimes.  Indeed, what else is the point of virtual reality?

 

Lucilius had wondered if all the brains of the research team had stagnated in a sort of stalemate with reality and an understanding of that reality.  He figured that since the underlying laws of the universe are probably stable to some degree, then perhaps that stability was part of the reason the research teams’ efforts to understand had stagnated and likewise reached a point of stability, albeit an unproductive one.  Lucilius figured that if his brain could have an experience of reality that was literally unreal then it might stir his brain out of that stable stagnation and into a more creative agitation that might be able to then study reality once more in a fresh and productive fashion.

 

So Lucilius had designed a virtual situation where he discovers the answer that the research team is looking for after many months of research in this unreality. 

 

Luckily, the technology of virtual reality had progressed to the point where time could be compressed and a day in the virtual reality machine would take only a minute in real life.

 

The machine clicked on and instantly the A.I. program started popping out handwritten journals that looked identical in nature to Lucilius’ real journals.

 

After twelve hours, the final journal was scribbled in and the I.V. of Mnemectomol delivered a dose that erased Lucilius’ entire memory of the time in virtual reality and the time he had spent setting up the trick and even up to and including the moment when he’d had the whole crazy idea in the first place.

 

Lucilius emerged, somewhat dazed and confused and looked around at his surroundings.  He noticed the small stack of journals that looked very much like his own.  Before questioning further where he was and how he had gotten their, Lucilius picked up the first book and started reading.  It was indeed his handwriting but it spoke of an experience he had never had. 

 

He kept reading and before long, he phoned his counterpart on the research team and exclaimed with excitement that he had an idea about what they should do next.  It didn’t make perfect sense but it was something they definitely hadn’t tried before.

 

By the time the automated Uber had dropped him off at the lab, he was nearing the last page of the last journal and already had half a dozen ideas about what they could do.

 

As he walked into the lab, he turned the last page and saw that it was a palimpsest.  His handwriting was overlaid on top of a message in the same handwriting that said:

 

It was all a dream.  Go get’em tiger.



Podcast Ep. 147: A Lucilius Parable: Productive Delusion

from
Tinkered Thinking