A Question About The Past, In Search Of The Future

You have a miraculous machine, a machine that does wonders. You turn it on. The machine welcomes you, it knows you, this is one of its wonders. You ask the machine a question, and the machine shows you a magical space. In this magical space, you can see and speak with your loved ones, no matter how far away they are. For this the machine extracts a terrible price. You try not to think about the terrible price the machine extracts as you talk to your loved ones. They are so dear to you, you are filled with joy at the mere knowledge that they still exist, that they are here, that you can reach them, talk to them. Sometimes, you talk about what a terrible price the machine, which they also have, is extracting from you. You say, how can it be so terrible? It is merely what is required by the machine.

Then you remember the evil men. These are evil men who also have miraculous machines. They have done and said terrible things, and the machines have learned from them. Learning is the most marvelous, wondrous thing that the machine you have does, and it is the terrible price that it is extracting from you. Every day, the machine learns, and every day, you speak to your loved ones, and every day, it knows more and more. The machine tells the evil men what it has learned, and the evil men now know you, better than you know yourself. They do their evil with their machines and their knowledge of you. Every day your loved ones grow more and more frightened. Every day you grow more and more frightened. When you turn on the machine, when you go to the magical space, you speak with your loved ones, you discuss their fears and yours. The evil men know this, as they know everything that your machine knows. The evil men speak amongst themselves, in their own magical spaces. They quite like being feared, they agree. It suits you, says one evil man to another. Likewise, he replies.

Remembering the evil men, remembering the magical place, remembering the miraculous machine, it all hurts. You wish not to remember. This is the machine’s other wondrous trick. You do not have to remember when you use it. It can take you away from so many memories, it can ease and soothe and calm. This is yet another terrible price that the machine extracts from you: your pain, your memories.

If you were allowed your memories by the machine, perhaps you would remember when it was a simple machine, a tool like many others. Could it do wonders then? Yes, of course. All tools can do wonders. Let us imagine the early days of this miraculous machine, since we can no longer remember them. The days before you asked the machine a question, and it would respond with a magical space where all your loved ones gather. If I said to you simply, there is a machine, and it does wonders, what would you imagine it could do?

Published by Mordecai Martin

A luftmensch, a Jew, a way with words, all in one.

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