“Your technology will fail you,” the light said. She wasn’t sure if it was a human voice. It sounded electronic.
It continued. “The rule of simplicity is thus: the fewer parts a mechanism has, the lower the chance of a breakdown. And yet no lever is unbreakable, no fulcrum uncrushable.
“You have convinced yourselves that by getting away from physical mechanisms you have somehow placed yourselves above this rule. This is untrue. Metaphysical parts have just as much chance for failure as the physical, if not more. An addendum to the rule should read: the more intangible the part, the greater the degree for failure and the more likely the need for a repair.
“What you haven’t seemed to come to grips with is the temporal nature of your existences. Your individual efforts all amount to dust in the long run. Your social systems haven’t yet evolved to the point where you can make collective and permanent changes to the fabric of reality. The more you progress in your compartmentalized nations the greater you risk the total loss of all your great advances.
“By not understanding the value of time, you put yourselves at incalculable risk. You do not appreciate the past, and you cannot quantify the future.
“An average member of your collective has a reasonable mastery over the immediate moment and the few that follow. Before and beyond that are a hazy mystery that you only occasionally graze but never grasp.
“This condition sets your entire species at a major disadvantage over your competitors. In the grand scope of the known universe, the cultures that have survived the longest and achieved the greatest successes have been those that were able to understand their positions in time, take hold of their resources, and plan for the longest possible term.
“The real irony here is that a great number of you wish for immortality! How dare you even dream of such a thing when you cannot even account for the next solar year? What would you even do if given such a gift? Timelessness is one of the most powerful traits of a sentient species, a pinnacle of galactic science, and it is reserved for those most deserving such a privilege.
“Everything you have done in the past thousand of your solar years has been epic. In many ways you have crawled out of the mud from which you sprung, and your grasp of scientific principles has given you amazing vehicles in which you have progressed.
“In the last twenty of those years, a fraction of a fraction of your total timeline, you have sewn up your terrestrial space with a global network of information. You only allow your privileged to access this network, and a vast amount of misinformation passes along its conduits, but it is an incredible achievement nonetheless as it is one of the first steps towards dissolving your physical borders and moving towards a single social consciousness. I applaud this, but it is still in its infancy, delicate and fragile, prone to disruption and abuse, and like much of your technology it is horribly inefficient.”
“He’s not wrong,” Steve said.
“How do you know it’s a he?” she asked.
2014.10.26 – 2023.06.17