Friday, February 10, 2012

The Ideal of Memory (Part1)

"You saw the Kite once, didn't you?"
Jon pondered the question while looking out of the window. Reeds swayed in a shallow lake, the cylinder curving up sharply behind.
"Yes. I was fourteen. One of the kids in my class got hold of a self-unpacking copy and sent it to me."
A small attachment icon unfolding in the desk space to reveal a flat, hi-res image. An orange kite over a small wood on a desolate hillside. A deep sense of completion and a profound, unthinking rage.
"It took four people to restrain me. I was in deep therapy for a year afterward."
"And the boy? The one who sent the image, I mean?"
"He was executed."
Water features were a ubiquitous element of post-Ruin life. Large, complex ones in public spaces, smaller, more conservative ones in private. The doctor had what seemed at first sight to be a cylinder of flawless glass. Touch it, however, and it would be revealed as a non-turbulent flow of water.
She'd told Jon that it was called "The Ideal of Memory."
The doctor stood up. She was small with pixie-like features and tightly curled auburn hair cut into an asymmetric cloud. She walked to the window and stood beside Jon.
"Some people deliberately seek out the Kite. They regard it as a sacrament, a gift from the Tessellation. What do you think?"
Jon could see a lapwing among the reeds. The bird fussed around, looking for food.
"I think the Kite is a joke. A neuro-transmitter cascade resulting in a fugue of aggression, caused by an image of Earth immediately pre-Ruin. What else could it be but an incomprehensible alien joke?"
"It could be a sign. A difficult to interpret mnemonic designed to show us what we could lose by our indefinite lifespans."
The doctor had finally got Jon's full attention. He turned towards her, stooping slightly to look into her eyes.
"I don't understand. What does the Kite have to do with life extension?"
"Live as long as you have and the topography of memory becomes an exaggerated badlands with sharp peaks of frequently recalled mnemonic loci separated by ravines of forgetting. The Kite is the ultimate bad memory. A huge mountain dominating everything. It's an image of the logical outcome for an un-optimized mind."
"Bad memories linger and scab over, good memories fade. I'm familiar with the concept. It's why I'm here after all."
Jon glanced over at his minder, a soccer ball sized ball of micro-manipulators condensing to darkness at the center. It rested on a chair, shimmering as if caught in a breeze.
"Just give me the word and we can start right now. The bush robot is fully prepared," the doctor said.
"We have enough from you for full mnemonic repair to be a success. Your depression will lift, I guarantee it. You'll no longer be under twenty four/seven surveillance."
"And I'll no longer be me," Jon said.

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