Regression: Chapter One

“…for the great majority of the religious, heaven and hell are incidental to right and wrong … in short, right conduct, is the prime factor of religion.” -The Iron Heel.

Life in the year four thousand, three hundred and fifty-one does not differ much from life in the year two thousand. Humans have not changed their nature, which they share with other animals: The pursuit of happiness. The same as animals in their natural state must struggle to attain their happiness, humans must struggle to obtain theirs, and that’s why it’s called a pursuit. Humans, the same as animals, can relinquish their right to this pursuit and live a comfortable life, the same as farm animals do, till they’re butchered or forced to labor. Humans from the year two thousand did not defer that much from animals, and that’s exactly why they still held to religious believes in souls and other contrivances that separated them from the animal kingdom. Actually, men used to work for money, which they then exchanged for goods necessary to live. The link between labor and life was there, but it got lost in bureaucracy. Some people mistook the means: money, for the end: life. Thus they behaved like farm animals, whose sole end is to get fattened and slaughtered. People today don’t work for money but for free time, which is the new gold standard. In this way, the hours of labor could be reduced to ten hours per week, which is the current average. Hours of labor depend on the strenuousness of the job; thus, there are people with strenuous jobs who work a mere two hours per week, while there are others with more pleasant jobs who work up to twenty, which is the maximum allowed by law.

At first glance, this might look a little like capitalism, in the sense that it seems to be a meritocratic system, but it’s not. People choose whether they want to perform a complex activity or a simpler one, and there is no value judgment, so there is no more merit in being an engineer than in being a gardener. The aslant view of capitalism was that an engineer could build many gardeners which may take care of many more gardens, so the engineer was therefore more important to society, but we know better about life’s meaning now. A robot can never replace a human because it can’t think as a human does and therefore it will never contribute that much to society in any area. A robot can only be designed to perform its task, while a human is there to interact with others and therefore contribute to the pursuit of happiness. Robots only make good machines, and machines are only used to do the dirty work no human wants to do, such as washing clothes, dishes or cleaning the house. Gardening, however, is a pleasant activity for many, and the fact that it’s pleasant gives it market value, which means that no one in their right mind would think of despising a gardener nowadays, or of studying long only to get a degree that says that you’re smarter than others. Smart, to us, is to invest our time correctly.

The current system is simply called post-capitalistic, and it’s based on the concept of sharing economy which started to take off around the year two thousand and ninety, with the depletion of Earth’s natural resources. It defers from communism in the simple factor that there is no redistribution of wealth but simply a more collaborative approach towards the exploitation of resources. It’s rather enhanced capitalism than communism. No one is forced to do anything or to give up anything, because liberalism is a key value of society. With that in mind, wild capitalism and the correlative destruction of the environment stopped being issues and the meritocratic paradigm fell in disuse. Of course, the law of offer and demand on which capitalism is based is still valid today, and that’s why more unpleasant or less popular jobs are paid with more hours of leisure. Keeping in mind that we live in a sharing economy, you must realize that most things are for free, that is, available with a subscription fee. Everything is by subscription nowadays; there’s nothing that you could buy cash. If you think of the ultimate end of capitalism, monopoly will pop up in your mind. It happened: All services were monopolized by the second century of the second millennium and a fee was demanded. Imagine you ever want to eat, then you need to pay a monthly fee to go to the supermarket, the same as you need to pay a fee if you ever need to go to the hospital. At the beginning, these fees were relatively high, but ultimately, they lowered consumption till it stabilized in what we call nowadays in economy: the minimal necessary balance, that is the amount of money that covers all the needs of consumption at the minimal possible price. This state of affairs is logical and easy to imagine. Monopoly is actually a good thing, because it regularizes prices. Now the only factors are demand, exerted by society, and offer, exerted by the monopolizing company. But we must keep in mind that this company is also made up by members of society, who are only reasonable people. They want to provide with a service that’s appealing to society but profitable for them, so they trimmed it of its superfluousness. We say that the collective economy lowered consumption, but this was rather a cultural process. People just gradually stopped consuming superfluous products because it meant more hours of work. What really helped lowering consumption was the correction of the distortions of capitalism. Offer and demand became more predictable with time so there was less economic speculation: gambling stopped in general, as a pastime and as business. Again, this was a cultural change: Life had become more stable. There were less and less military conflicts, less and less fatal diseases or accidents. Conscientiousness and responsibility started paying off, so gambling was discouraged by society. Bravery wasn’t to pick up a gun, but to steadily work the land or contribute to the progress of humanity. Even the primitive brain understood this, and women gradually stopped selecting their partners according to stamina and testosterone and inclined towards intellect and harmonious beauty. In that sense, we can say that it was an evolutionary change too: We basically stepped up in evolution.

My name is Efrain Zieliński and I live in Warsaw. It’s the tenth of February and I currently wake up around seven am, with the sunrise. It’s a practice the world has adopted so as not to lose contact with nature. Everything is done according to the circadian rhythm, because people have become more prone to depression and mental diseases with the pass of time. Dark places of the Earth have been gradually depopulated, and with a balanced diet, we’ve been able to counterbalance this disadvantage of evolution: hypersensitivity. Poland today is warmer than three hundred years ago, so we enjoy fifteen degrees Celsius today. The country is, however, one of darkest inhabitable places on Earth, so we’re proudly in the top ten ranking of mental disorders. Properly treated, however, they don’t represent a threat or handicap to the individual. I don’t suffer from any disorder, but I know several people who do, in theory, because with simple medication they live a perfectly normal life. In matters of physical diseases, genetics has done its wonder and has eradicated congenital disorders; vaccines and prophylaxis have also neutralized viral and bacterial diseases. But in psychical matters, we don’t want to meddle that much, and anyways, genetics is still not so powerful as to be able to tamper with the brain. We allow for natural evolution in that sense, and we simply treat the disorders that may appear in the most natural possible way: Organism is a scientifically proven value.

I work from Monday to Friday from eleven am to one pm. I’m a veterinarian because I like animals, specially horses. I work at a riding hall in the outside Poznan. I live downtown, so I have a half hour commute by tram, one way. Cars have been banished for more than a century now, so public transportation has really improved. Most of rides inside the city don’t take more than ten minutes. There are some mega-cities in other countries, with their advantages and disadvantages, but in most of Europe the population is mostly evenly spread. Poznan, for instance, has a population of around nine hundred thousand people. Taming horses is not considered cruelty anymore. Horses are merely used for riding and for equine therapy, and is equal to training dogs. No violence is exerted and the well-being of the horse is always priority. Animals in general are under strict control. Zoologists and veterinarians have blossomed in the last century, to the point that nowadays there’s practically no extinction of species. Reserves are kept intact, and people can visit animals in their natural environment, but for domestic animals, we had to create a way of keeping them alive without exploiting them. It probably isn’t a surprise for you to hear that the world has become Vegan. This was mainly done due to the relevance that a healthy diet has taken, but also due to the fact that people become increasingly reluctant to eat killed food or products of the exploitation of animals. Farm animals are actually kept in parks nearby cities, where they live in a semi-wild state. Some people who have the means keep them as pets. No one misses meat of dairy, because it’s hard to miss something you’ve never tried. I remember reading once that beef or pork ribs, the same as olives or pickles, were an acquired taste, that kids didn’t like them at the beginning, but they got used to it at first and then loved them when they grew up. The division between animal and human rights was superseded by a more holistic law that applies to nature in general. Even plants have a right nowadays. However, when we talk about rights, we don’t immediately associate it with punishment. There are penalties, but none of them are unlawful, which means that none of them imply a damage to the individual. Incarceration has therefore been abolished, since there are more economical en constructive ways of penalizing actions that are deemed wrong. To start with, the principle of relativism applies to any penalization. We’re aware that morals change; history has proven it. Religions have stopped being a source of ethical wisdom, so’re more objective now. There are no universals when it comes to moral laws, only desirability. We wish for a certain kind of behavior that promotes harmony and evolution, but we allow for deviance. We embrace heterogeneity, because it leads towards leaps in evolution. I’ll give a clear example: Plants, as every living being, have the right to fulfill their biological cycle without being interrupted for purposes others than nourishment or the production of utilities or art. This old law meant, for instance, that people couldn’t ornament their houses with dead plants anymore, or kill animals for sport. However, according to the principle of relativity, someone who did this would be considered a deviant, but wouldn’t be in further transgression of the law. As I mentioned before, deviance is well seen by society, but it must be kept under surveillance. A quota is allowed, in case of deviant needs, following the Aristotelian philosophy of the golden mean. This quota is qualitative is, in practice, a penalty for the exertion of the right to deviance. For instance, if someone is prone to killing flowers to decorate their house or to give to their loved ones as sign of affection, they need to plant new ones or simply pay a tax for planting new ones. As everything is by subscription, an extra tax means simply more hours of work per month. Thus, working a little more per month gives people a certain quota of dead flowers per day they can buy. These kinds of deviant purchases are, consequently, made on demand. The flower-shops generally sell live flowers, but, if someone needs it, they cut them for them.

Currently, I´m on vacations, so I have two months to write this novel. I would’ve missed my horses if I stayed home of went away, so I rented a cabin near the riding hall and sometimes I pay a visit. They help me get the clearness of mind I need to write these pages.


I'm a writer born in Argentina, but currently living in Poland. I work as an English and French teacher, translator and copywriter.

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