Regression: Chapter Two

Erin has made coffee today, as usual, even though she seldom drinks it. I won’t start a lecture on coffee now; it suffices to say that it’s good if properly consumed, as everything else in nature. It’s not that I don’t know how to make my own coffee, but she’s just glad to make it for me and I don’t object. That goes to show that we live a comparatively normal life today, if by the norm we take the standards of the year two thousand. Nothing has changed socially wise, but everything has progressed naturally; evolution doesn’t handle impositions very well and it always finds its way around hindrances.

We’ve been married for two years now. Dating takes on average one year before people decide to marry or not. No one likes protracting relationships and giving false hopes to their partners. One year is the make-or-break point nowadays and the first anniversary of any relationship is a big deal. We joke that everyone has ADD nowadays, because we enjoy things short and sweet. Life is too short in comparison to all the ways we can choose to develop ourselves. But marriage is another issue. Evolution implies the proliferation of the species and we can’t do it properly without families. At this high level of evolution, quality is more relevant than quantity, and a high quality level of progeny is only ensured by a psychologically healthy and stimulating childhood environment. Properly raising a child is considered an exciting challenge and, although there some people who decide not to take it up for specific reasons, we all know that we’re not above life’s cycle and that our greatest contribution to life is progeny. This era is called the homogeneous morality era, and it’s defined by the principle of horizontal harmony: Horizontal harmony is only possible when all the individuals of a society have attained the same moral level; otherwise a vertical harmony must be created, that is, a social system where the more moral individuals are not affected by the less moral individuals. A clear example of a vertically harmonious system was the retaliatory justice system whose symbol is the Hamurabi code, and which was in force for almost five millennia. Less moral people were locked up to prevent them from harming more moral people. I’ll go back to that primitive form of social organization later on. Nowadays, we’ve attained a homogeneous moral level. There are those whose geniuses allow them to think metamorally, and this discipline: metamoral, is the cornerstone of law today, which is mostly theoretical but also informs our legal system. I’ll also say more about this later on.

Getting back to procreation, there is an actual procreation law passed worldwide eight centuries ago, which is basically a taxation on infertility. Some people still opt out of procreation, because of the obvious inconveniences and their natural inclination. They’re generally geniuses in some area, and their excessive drive towards their art or science makes them less inclined towards procreation. But those who decide not to have kids must pay with a couple of hours of extra work per week. This tax starts being applied from the age of forty, if someone hasn’t had a child. By this means, society can afford free nannies for people who decide to have more than two kids, which actually balances population. Of course we have free educational and socialization system from the age of three, but with all the free time people enjoy, parents are very involved in their kids’ development. Most of people have only one or two kids nowadays, which has led to a great decrease in population in the past till it stabilized three hundred years ago. This is due mainly to practical and cultural reasons: A child takes a lot of effort and most of couples can’t emotionally deal with more than two. In history, this period of time which started with the decrease in world population is called the default wealth period. It means that if you have parents who’ve saved some money and you’re an only child or one of two children, you’re prone to be always well off, or at least to marry into wealth. Some wealth is destructed or exhausted, but then, nowadays it’s easy to create new wealth. Basically speaking, an aging population is the best economic system because it equalizes society automatically. The price of commodities decreases, that is, there is deflation of the economy, and everything becomes more affordable for the masses. The only ones who relatively suffered in this transition were the filthily wealthy ones, who could afford to lose a few millions. That’s why the current period is called post-economic, because we’ve stopped measuring wealth by GDP. The expansionist capitalistic paradigm has been left behind and we’ve embraced what’s called palpable wealth, that is wealth that translates into better living standards. If we look at a chart of GDP in the world, there’s been an exponential decrease since the year two thousand and three hundred till the end of the second millennium and since then it has stabilized. This means new wealth is only produced nowadays when old wealth is depleted. We generally don’t work for money; we do it only to maintain living standards.

We haven’t had a kid yet. That can wait a few years since I’m only twenty eight and she’s only twenty six. We could’ve not married, true, but I’m very confident in her and monogamy implies a small sacrifice, which in psychology is called the conundrum of multiple choice, more popularly known as the conundrum of the cake: We think that by choosing something over other things, we’re giving up on the rest of our choices, so we don’t choose to keep them all, but we’re actually losing them all, since choices run out with time. Basically speaking, nowadays we know that we need to eat our cakes; that’s useless to simply have them. People in the past were very resilient to commit to a long term relationship. They attributed it mainly to risk and gave excuses such as: We need time to see if we’re a good match; etc. Nowadays we know better. Falling in love is quite a predictable psychological process. It’s a combination of the sexual instinct plus a basic need of change. We’re continually changing, evolving, and we need someone to be able to evolve with us, what is basically called companionship. We can fully know a person’s character and form an emotional connection in a few months, but later on we may simply fall out of love, that is, stop feeling physically or psychically attracted towards the other person. This is a normal process. There’s nothing wrong with changing partners as many times someone needs to, but protracted aimless relationships are detrimental to the evolution of the individual. We’re by nature social animals and to pair ourselves up is the simplest way to neutralize our sexual drive and focus our energies on our development. People from the second millennium used to leave romance to chance, and be purposefully careless about meeting their partners. They fell in love haphazardly, with no conscious effort on their part. They wanted to rationalize the fact that they could pair up with anyone but had to choose only one. This meant an existential conflict to them and the more they dated, the less they felt inclined towards monogamy. There were simply too many choices, so they didn’t choose. They were unable to switch on and off the search instinct so they mostly preferred not to search at all and leave it to chance. There was also the problem of sexism, so women who searched were badly seen by society. Women couldn’t overtly show their interest in men, so few of them did.

The situation started changing at the beginning of the second millennium, with the appearance of dating apps and sites. Women gained relative anonymity and men gained the opportunity to interact with many women and thus make up for their shyness and to defeat rejection by the mere bulk of their attempts. The amount of interaction between sexes augmented exponentially and that changed the courtship process. More and more the focus of attention shifted towards oneself. People became more self-aware. It wasn’t about finding “the one” anymore, but about finding oneself in another person. That dramatically shortened the courtship period till this trend peaked by the middle of the second millennium. People were marrying or breaking up just after a month’s courtship. The process stabilized gradually till now we have an average of a year courtship till marriage or breakup. As everything else, in the end one single app monopolized the dating market: 2get-her. The few hippies left, who lived and died by the rules of free love and would never partner up through the app, eventually died out, because people would just assume that they weren’t mature enough to be in a serious relationship. Of course they didn’t die out genetically speaking, but the free-love habit did, and nowadays no one would be taken seriously if they argued that they don’t want to pair up with you because they want to give you freedom. We know better today; we know that the usefulness of freedom comes from the acceptance of responsibility. The same as space is useless without the receptacle that delimits it, freedom is useless without boundaries.

After breakfast we went to visit my horses. Erin is a dear, so she accommodates to this great pleasure of mine. She came with me to the cabin and she comes with me every day to the riding hall. She enjoys nature too, but she brings her books and reads the whole day. I’m more of a contemplative person, so I enjoy having my mind clear of alien thoughts. Only my thoughts and nature: Pure philosophy. I like wandering around for countless minutes till I get lost, and then I make use of GPS to get back. That’s how I came across Valentin. He’s one of the horse caretakers, but I’d never seen him before. He lives a secluded life, almost like a hermit, and there’s something off about him too. It’s as if he wasn’t meant to live in seclusion, but he chose to do it despite his own will. To start with, he struck me as really sociable, so much that I wondered what he was doing in such a deserted place. I thought he was on vacations like me, but when he told me he’d been working there for more than ten years I almost shrieked in astonishment. I started working at this riding hall only four years ago and I’d never heard of him before. I tried to find friends in common, but he seemed to know no one, except for the manager. His job is dispensable but very interesting: he analyzes the evolution of horses in captivity and the eventual way to bring them back into their primitive, wild state. He even showed me a few specimens that were part of his project. It shocked me to know that there was a whole project I was unaware of, but it fascinated me to see these animals, which were wilder version of our horses. They were completely untamed, and they had as little contact with human as possible, to compensate for millennia of domestication. When the horses saw us, they immediately ran away, so we couldn’t see them for long. His job is very difficult because he needs to take care of them as unintrusively as possible, so he doesn’t even have the satisfaction of bonding with the object of his care and effort. I was too enthused by the project of the wild horses to think of asking about his life; where he lived, whether he was married and so on. This lack of attention on my part became evident when I went back to the riding hall and told Erin about the project, after which she asked me about Valentin and she told me how odd it seemed to her that he worked in isolation and secret. That there must be a very good reason for this confidentiality. I was rather upset that no one had told me about this interesting project, so I called Maja, the manager, and asked her all about it on the phone. She just admitted to everything as if it wasn’t a big deal. She apologized for not telling me, but she also asked me not to tell anyone else, so Valentin wouldn’t be bothered. That the reason behind his isolation from the rest was confidential and she couldn’t divulge it herself, but there was no reason why I couldn’t go and ask Valentin whether he wanted to disclose his secret. She sounded amazed at the fact that I got along well with him. She confessed she’d seen him in person less than a dozen times and that they mainly exchanged messages and phone calls. She said she was happy that I’d met him by chance and practically pushed me to go and see him again. I felt hopelessness in the tone of the conversation; as if something there was something terrible about Valentin that couldn’t be solved, but that could be alleviated by my visits. The impression she gave me was completely different from that one from my encounter with him, which had been cheerful and exciting. I decided to go and visit him tomorrow.

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