Regression: Chapter 9

We went on a two-month trip to Japan with Erin. In today’s globalization, cultural differences have blurred, besides touristic idiosyncrasies that are kept alive for fun’s sake. To make up for it, landscapes and architecture are very varied throughout the world, emulating the pristine state of the land, wherever possible, and maintaining the historic accuracy of facades and landmarks. This is not as hard as it seems, since history ended in the twenty-third century, with the settlement of Mars. There have been no more hiccups from then on, so no new landmarks were needed. There have been no more heroes or antiheroes, only people dedicated to the betterment of society or to fulfill their egotistic goals. In any way, their paths never collided, but they both were able to live fruitful lives, whether extrovertedly or introvertedly. The same as there have been no more heroes in the political arena, there have been no more celebrities in the cultural milieu. Art is still very alive, but there are no more trends anymore. The society reached a peak in individualism in that century and has not descended since then. Fame and authority are still current, and some people are more talented, awake, sharp or skillful than others and they are subsequently emulated, but only by people with similar interests. No one is unduly famous anymore, as it used to be back in your time. Since society has stopped yielding to the mechanics of favoritism and privilege, there are no advantages to fame anymore, only to talent and skill.

A two-month vacation is average nowadays. It’s enough time to get immersed in the environment and involved in the local society. Actually, to your standards, this would rather be called volunteering, since we do generally lend a hand to form connections with people. Erin is a doctor, so she gave some free check-ups, especially to the immortals, who seemed to abound in this region. I got interested in the local fauna, which to be honest was the reason we came here in the first place. I got to tend to a great variety of animals I’d never encountered before, including two that were on my checklist of animals I have to see: the crested ibis and the Tsushima leopard cat. As much as I love horses, I was sad when the two months were over, but the zookeeper told me I could fly back anytime I wish and he would be sure to find me something to do around. But we did more than work; sightseeing is still a popular activity today, and Japan has a very intricate architecture due to the demands of the land. It was a pleasure to see the reinforced earthquake-resistant structures. The wave-breaking structures on the shores are one of a kind and the lava traps around volcanoes look really science-fictional, even to my futuristic eyes. I must clarify that this country has been consistently depopulated for the last millennia, and today it counts with only forty million inhabitants. This leaves plenty of room for the wildlife, which must be protected against dangerous natural events, nevertheless. Japan, like many other regions of the world, has become a big natural reserve and tourist attraction, also due to its interesting history. Interactive museums abound everywhere, and Japan is no exception. We got immersed in Japan’s history. I was a samurai and Efrin was a ninja for a whole day, and we fought warlord wars in the Sengoku period. The next day, Erin tried being a geisha, but she didn’t enjoy it that much, so we both became pokemon trainers for a day. I loved it. The fantastic animals truly reflected the uniqueness of the Japanese fauna, and again, I was sad when Erin told me it was fun but she didn’t want to repeat the experience the next day. We split for a day and she went sightseeing, but the next day I joined her because I didn’t want to miss out on other activities, such as the visit to Mount Fuji. I got my own Pokeball and pokemon, however. I picked Charmeleon because it seemed to be a good representative of this magnificent land of dragons. Its algorithm is very complex, since it comprises the behavior of several indigenous lizards, with fantastic characteristics historically attributed to dragons. It wasn’t cheap, but it will surely provide me with hours of entertainment.

When making decisions, we mostly follow the principle of pleasure. Stoicism and other similar philosophical currents are outdated nowadays since life is not a source of suffering anymore, but an infinite source of pleasure. True, people still die, but it’s also true that we don’t get attached emotionally as much as people from your era. This is not Buddhism or any sort of spiritual enlightenment, but simple awareness of our solitude. We’re single entities that happen to converge from time to time, but we never lose our individuality. If a raindrop falls into the sea, it appears to be lost, but if that raindrop is self-aware, when it evaporates it regains its identity. It may be changed; it may keep some souvenir, but it’s still the same raindrop.

Especially when it comes to relationships, the principle of pleasure is always followed to decide whether to remain with someone or not. There are no ideal partners but only good enough partners. That is, we don’t idealize anyone but love with our eyes open. If someone is attractive enough so as not to trigger our instinctive roving eye, and if he or she is interesting and kind enough to make for a bearable coexistence, we stick to them; otherwise, we keep on looking. But Valentine would have none of it. He argued that what makes someone special is that you bestow on them your attention, that you choose them to be special. This is, clearly, circular reasoning, which doesn’t bear the slightest scrutiny, because in that case, anyone can be special, which renders everyone inconspicuous. However illogical this statement may be, it holds a grain of truth: no one is special, but we make them so. The only issue with Valentin’s statement is that it strips us of our power to give and take back freely the gift of our attention.

On a different note, Milena broke up with Valentin. It was bound to happen, but Valentin seems not to accept this fact. They could’ve had a chance at happiness if he’d toned down his romanticism, but it worsened when he met her. He seemed to be boycotting his happiness, and, honestly, it was a sad view to see. I only know what Valentin told me, but how he told me was the major hint. He was unhinged all the time, more than regularly. This is why seclusion is recommended for people with regression. Now I know. Generally, meeting someone is a good catalyst for regular people. They become more integrated with society and develop new long-term goals for their lives. Biologically, it also triggers hormonal changes that boost psychological evolution. Being in an exclusive sexual relationship is positive all the time, except in cases of emotional or psychological imbalance, like Valentin’s. As soon as I came back, I went to see him in person. I admit I didn’t keep in touch while on vacation, except for a few messages exchanged, one of which informed me that he and Milena had stopped seeing each other two weeks before I came back to Posnan. I expected him to already be recollected when I came back, but it was as seeing a case of an ancient viral disease. His emotional state was worsening. He was like the feverish reaction to viruses we used to have before modern medicine.

I tried to cheer him up but he was inconsolable, just like a kid who is denied candy for breakfast. I tried to make sensibility seep into his brain, telling him that it had been all fair and square; they had dated and she had decided to break it up; that he shouldn’t take it personally that she had seen it before him that the relationship wouldn’t work out, because sooner or later he would surely have seen it too; that he should focus on the positive: the thrill he’d gotten from the relationship, the emotions that surely catalyzed his personality for the better. After all, what is life without emotions, good or bad? For all we know, that’s the only thing real: feelings. Back in the day philosophers used to pose the questions: Do we exist or are we a figment of our imagination? Is anything real? And what is reality? These apparently vain questions hold a gain of truth: We can only apprehend reality with our senses, and therefore reality is malleable to our subjective perception. A rainbow may be a magical event to a kid, while it’s a mere weather phenomenon to another one; an ancient sculpture may be a wonderful piece of art and history for a person, while it’s just shaped marble to another one. Today, we’re as aware of the subjectivity of the human mind as people were in the past, but we don’t let our senses take over our intellect. I tried to make Valentin look objectively at his situation, beyond his emotional perception, but he was adamant in his sorrow. He embraced his self-pity like a martyr embraces the cause that kills him. But we don’t believe in sacrifice nowadays; it’s repugnant to our sensibility. This deprecation of life’s value is unethical today, and it’s one of the clearest signs of regression. The same as in the past people used to shorten their lives with narcotics, bad habits and a poor diet, Valentin was trying to waste his pining after a woman that he wasn’t meant to be with.

Chapter 9

We went on a two-month trip to Japan with Erin. In today’s globalization, cultural differences have blurred, besides touristic idiosyncrasies that are kept alive for fun’s sake. To make up for it, landscapes and architecture are very varied throughout the world, emulating the pristine state of the land, wherever possible, and maintaining the historic accuracy of facades and landmarks. This is not as hard as it seems, since history ended in the twenty-third century, with the settlement of Mars. There have been no more hiccups from then on, so no new landmarks were needed. There have been no more heroes or antiheroes, only people dedicated to the betterment of society or to fulfill their egotistic goals. In any way, their paths never collided, but they both were able to live fruitful lives, whether extrovertedly or introvertedly. The same as there have been no more heroes in the political arena, there have been no more celebrities in the cultural milieu. Art is still very alive, but there are no more trends anymore. Society reached a peak in individualism in that century and has not descended since then. Fame and authority are still current, and some people are more talented, awake, sharp or skillful than others and they are subsequently emulated, but only by people with similar interests. No one is unduly famous anymore, as it used to be back in your time. Since society has stopped yielding to the mechanics of favoritism and privilege, there are no advantages to fame anymore, only to talent and skill.
A two-month vacation is average nowadays. It’s enough time to get immersed in the environment and involved in the local society. Actually, to your standards, this would rather be called volunteering, since we do generally lend a hand to form connections with people. Erin is a doctor, so she gave some free check-ups, especially to the immortals, who seemed to abound in this region. I got interested in the local fauna, which to be honest was the reason we came here in the first place. I got to tend to a great variety of animals I’d never encountered before, including two that were on my checklist of animals I have to see: the crested ibis and the Tsushima leopard cat. As much as I love horses, I was sad when the two months were over, but the zookeeper told me I could fly back anytime I wish and he would be sure to find me something to do around. But we did more than work; sightseeing is still a popular activity today, and Japan has a very intricate architecture due to the demands of the land. It was a pleasure to see the reinforced earthquake-resistant structures. The wave-breaking structures on the shores are one of a kind and the lava traps around volcanoes look really science-fictional, even to my futuristic eyes. I must clarify that this country has been consistently depopulated for the last millennia, and today it counts with only forty million inhabitants. This leaves plenty of room for the wildlife, which must be protected against dangerous natural events, nevertheless. Japan, like many other regions of the world, has become a big natural reserve and tourist attraction, also due to its interesting history. Interactive museums abound everywhere, and Japan is no exception. We got immersed in Japan’s history. I was a samurai and Efrin was a ninja for a whole day, and we fought warlord wars in the Sengoku period. The next day, Erin tried being a geisha, but she didn’t enjoy it that much, so we both became pokemon trainers for a day. I loved it. The fantastic animals truly reflected the uniqueness of the Japanese fauna, and again, I was sad when Erin told me it was fun but she didn’t want to repeat the experience the next day. We split for a day and she went sightseeing, but the next day I joined her because I didn’t want to miss out on other activities, such as the visit to Mount Fuji. I got my own Pokeball and pokemon, however. I picked Charmeleon because it seemed to be a good representative of this magnificent land of dragons. Its algorithm is very complex, since it comprises the behavior of several indigenous lizards, with fantastic characteristics historically attributed to dragons. It wasn’t cheap, but it will surely provide me with hours of entertainment.

When making decisions, we mostly follow the principle of pleasure. Stoicism and other similar philosophical currents are outdated nowadays since life is not a source of suffering anymore, but an infinite source of pleasure. True, people still die, but it’s also true that we don’t get attached emotionally as much as people from your era. This is not Buddhism or any sort of spiritual enlightenment, but simple awareness of our solitude. We’re single entities that happen to converge from time to time, but we never lose our individuality. If a raindrop falls into the sea, it appears to be lost, but if that raindrop is self-aware, when it evaporates it regains its identity. It may be changed; it may keep some souvenir, but it’s still the same raindrop.
Especially when it comes to relationships, the principle of pleasure is always followed to decide whether to remain with someone or not. There are no ideal partners but only good enough partners. That is, we don’t idealize anyone but love with our eyes open. If someone is attractive enough so as not to trigger our instinctive roving eye, and if he or she is interesting and kind enough to make for a bearable coexistence, we stick to them; otherwise, we keep on looking. But Valentine would have none of it. He argued that what makes someone special is that you bestow on them your attention, that you choose them to be special. This is, clearly, circular reasoning, which doesn’t bear the slightest scrutiny, because in that case, anyone can be special, which renders everyone inconspicuous. However illogical this statement may be, it holds a grain of truth: no one is special, but we make them so. The only issue with Valentin’s statement is that it strips us of our power to give and take back freely the gift of our attention.
On a different note, Milena broke up with Valentin. It was bound to happen, but Valentin seems not to accept this fact. They could’ve had a chance at happiness if he’d toned down his romanticism, but it worsened when he met her. He seemed to be boycotting his happiness, and, honestly, it was a sad view to see. I only know what Valentin told me, but how he told me was the major hint. He was unhinged all the time, more than regularly. This is why seclusion is recommended for people with regression. Now I know. Generally, meeting someone is a good catalyst for regular people. They become more integrated with society and develop new long-term goals for their lives. Biologically, it also triggers hormonal changes that boost psychological evolution. Being in an exclusive sexual relationship is positive all the time, except in cases of emotional or psychological imbalance, like Valentin’s. As soon as I came back, I went to see him in person. I admit I didn’t keep in touch while on vacation, except for a few messages exchanged, one of which informed me that he and Milena had stopped seeing each other two weeks before I came back to Posnan. I expected him to already be recollected when I came back, but it was as seeing a case of an ancient viral disease. His emotional state was worsening. He was like the feverish reaction to viruses we used to have before modern medicine.
I tried to cheer him up but he was inconsolable, just like a kid who is denied candy for breakfast. I tried to make sensibility seep into his brain, telling him that it had been all fair and square; they had dated and she had decided to break it up; that he shouldn’t take it personally that she had seen it before him that the relationship wouldn’t work out, because sooner or later he would surely have seen it too; that he should focus on the positive: the thrill he’d gotten from the relationship, the emotions that surely catalyzed his personality for the better. After all, what is life without emotions, good or bad? For all we know, that’s the only thing real: feelings. Back in the day philosophers used to pose the questions: Do we exist or are we a figment of our imagination? Is anything real? And what is reality? These apparently vain questions hold a gain of truth: We can only apprehend reality with our senses, and therefore reality is malleable to our subjective perception. A rainbow may be a magical event to a kid, while it’s a mere weather phenomenon to another one; an ancient sculpture may be a wonderful piece of art and history for a person, while it’s just shaped marble to another one. Today, we’re as aware of the subjectivity of the human mind as people were in the past, but we don’t let our senses take over our intellect. I tried to make Valentin look objectively at his situation, beyond his emotional perception, but he was adamant in his sorrow. He embraced his self-pity like a martyr embraces the cause that kills him. But we don’t believe in sacrifice nowadays; it’s repugnant to our sensibility. This deprecation of life’s value is unethical today, and it’s one of the clearest signs of regression. The same as in the past people used to shorten their lives with narcotics, bad habits and a poor diet, Valentin was trying to waste his pining after a woman that he wasn’t meant to be with.
His folly, however, was highly intellectual. He argued back my view of subjectivity, saying that the same as our imagination has created technology and art, our mind can control our feelings and change our future. That however how unapparent a future between him and Milena was right now, if both committed it could be possible. I explained to him that technology and art are rather the product of inspiration than imagination; that we react to nature and life when producing technology and art, and therefore our imagination is also a byproduct of being alive. The same as a hornero imagines the nest it’s building, we imagine paintings, music, buildings and technology. We’re a tool of nature, as much as a tornado is; only we are aware of our existence. The Greeks had it clear with their myths of heroes that went against fate, that is, the will of nature. But, unfortunately, hedonism and the cult of the ego made people recklessly think that everything was possible if they only set their minds and heart to it. I told him that his crusade against the current situation between him and Milena was sure to bring him only discontent since even if he succeeded in winning over her affection, it would be at the price of his peace of mind. The imbalance of affection can’t be overcome with effort, but simply by distancing yourself from the other person. The mechanics of attraction work in such a way that the more effort you put into attracting someone, the less positive results you get. That is why people have evolved towards a facility to withdraw emotionally from people they aren’t completely satisfied with since this leads to more fruitful coupling.

soyjuanma86

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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