Fiction: ‘Existence is Futile’

68 - Existence is Futile
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Ageing is inescapable. It’s an inevitable part of being alive, and as certain as death.

But then again, maybe not.

Over a century ago, our leading neuroscientists made a discovery that changed the course of human evolution. They found out that ageing isn’t just a biological process in which our bodies experience a gradual decline in its physiology.

Ageing is controlled by the brain.

The news spread via an outdated mode of information dissemination known as social media. It was then picked up by other obsolete mediums, such as journals, magazines and newspapers. This was the ultimate discovery: we had found the fountain of ageing, and it was inside of us all along.

I won’t bore you with the specifics.

It’s as widely-known and accepted as the theory of evolution and the laws of thermodynamics. But back then, the finding that stem cells in the brain’s hypothalamus controlled ageing changed the world.

Today I woke up from stasis inside my capsule.

My dreams were pleasant, as always. Throughout the period of stasis, the computer is programmed to inject neural impulses into my brain, which travel directly to the cortex where they retrieve long-term memories.

These impulses are designed to focus the brain onto one specific task.

They stimulate childhood memories.

For months at a time, I relive the schoolyard with its overly-green AstroTurf and bright plastic playground. I revisit my grandparents’ old apartment where the windows haven’t been lined with touchscreens to control the scenery. I unwrap Christmas presents with childish wonder. And I create elaborate storylines while playing with my antique Barbie dolls.

It’s all a necessary part of the process.

It convinces my brain that I’m still young; far younger than I actually am.

As I float through the void of space, on a course towards some distant star that scientists set me on decades ago, I am taken care of by the computer. It controls the growth of food and fresh plants to give me sustenance. It keeps track of my vital signs and monitors my condition. The computer provides me with nutrition, oxygen, fluids, and all other things required to survive.

I sit here, enjoying the feeling of pure consciousness for a few minutes before I’m put back to sleep by the computer. I will age too quickly in this state of awareness. That’s why the computer only allows me to experience one hour of reality per six months of stasis.

But that’s the only way for continuity to be achieved.

This is how we solved the problem of travelling across light-years to explore our celestial neighbourhood and still living to tell the tale. The only side-effect is that I’m not really experiencing it at all. I feel mechanical. Everything is carefully controlled, from my heart rate to my neural impulses.

When scientists exposed the cause of ageing, it led to the discovery of how to live forever; or rather, how to stop time. After all, there are no new experiences in such a state.

Only a continual loop of existence.

It turned out that the cure to old age is to stop living, and to merely exist.

~ Ekaterina

9 thoughts on “Fiction: ‘Existence is Futile’

  1. Wow. This was great. I loved the turn when I realized the character was flying through space, I expected something totally different. Loved the theory, too, it might even be for all I know, and I especially liked the deeper thoughts on the value of life and existence. An amazing post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the way this begins with a ‘non-fiction’ style opening – it draws you into the sci-fi – and then returns at the end to a ‘factual’ mode. The final sentence has an interesting resonance …

    Liked by 1 person

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