What would you say if you were suddenly to see the Sterile World? What comments might you possibly be able to make? What cogent reflections might pass through your mind? What inferences might you possibly be able to make?
That’s just me trying to be funny, of course. Trying and failing, trying and falling flat. Humour is a funny thing, isn’t it? That’s only just occurred to me, by the way. The thought of how humour is a kind of a funny thing. It’s funny until it isn’t, I suppose. It’s funny until one day it falls flat.
I wanted to have a life too you see; I wanted to have a life just like everyone else. I wanted so much to have a life. It seemed so unfair, it seemed so wrong. That’s why I got so angry you see – that’s why I did all the bad things that I did. That’s why I went over to the dark side. I never meant to you see, I never meant to become evil. What a sad thing to have to say! I realise what a terribly sad thing it is to have to say that – I know how that must come across. How many people are going to think kindly of you because of because of a plea like that, after all? Not many, right? How many people are going to soften their attitude on hearing that you never actually meant to become evil, that it just sort of ‘happened’ to you?
The rusty old creative writing teaching machine had given us an exercise – we were to start a story with the sentence “I didn’t realise it but I was about to become a statistic…” We all went off back home then, promising faithfully to do our homework. The teaching machine emitted a cloud of airborne nanobots to keep an eye on us and to make sure we did what we were told. Education is an important thing after all. It is important because education is how we get our brains formatted so that we can play a useful role in society. Education is the golden rule, after all. In the future learning will take place as a result of having lots and lots of educational nanobots injected into your brain so that they can rewrite all your neural pathways. When this happens the pupil will know lots and lots of things, as easily as that – no studying needed, no exams, none of that stuff. All that happens is that you wake up after the class and discover that you know lots and lots of things. None of them are actually true however – none of them are actually true.
No one will be taught about the Sterile World anyway, that’s for sure. We’re not supposed to know about the Sterile World after all – we wouldn’t be able to play a useful role in society if we did know about it. We wouldn’t be able to play any sort of role. That’s true now just as it was will be true in the far distant future when you can get a new brain printed for you just as easily as you and I can make a cup of tea for ourselves. Nothing could be easier, in fact. If you find that you’re thinking bad thoughts you don’t need to worry about it – you simply print yourself a new brain from the template that is kept in the Data Hive. Just as long as the Data Hive is safe you can print yourself a new brain, and the Data Hive will always be safe.
If you find one day that you disagree with what the authorities are telling you then you can go and print yourself a new brain for that too. In fact that’s a legal requirement – when this happens you have to go and see a psychiatrist and the psychiatrist will give you a new brain on the spot. The old one will be taken away and studied to try to find out what went wrong with it. One day – the psychiatrists tell us – a special brain will be developed that will never think bad thoughts, or question authority. More and more citizens turn up at the mental health clinics needing to get their brains replaced and this has become something of a national emergency. One day – we are told – the perfect incorruptible brain will be developed by the clever scientists in their laboratories and then the national emergency will be solved. Until that day however there will be hell to pay…
The Sterile World, the Sterile World. How strange that none of us know about the Sterile World! You’d think that we’d catch sight of it at some point or other wouldn’t you? Of course, if we ever did catch sight of the Sterile World then we would need to get a new brain printed straight away – that would be a medical crisis. It would be very serious, it would be a very serious medical crisis and you would have to have immediate urgent psychiatric intervention by the rusty old psychiatrist machine, which will emit clouds of friendly nanobots to help replace your faulty brain. This is no ordinary fault however – this is the ‘lethal error’ that we have all been warned about. The super-lethal error that you can’t come back from. You just want hope it doesn’t happen to you…