Regression 2nd part: Chapter Two

The change in the moral paradigm was gradual but full of landmarks such as a the twenty-first-century philosophical writer, known as J. Martin, who propounded a new judicial system based on the aggregate value of life. According to this author, the old judicial system corresponded to the social acceptance that life isn’t intrinsically valuable but its value equals its usefulness to society. Therefore thieves and murderers were simply killed, the same as deviants of any kind. Persons might have abhorred these acts from an individualistic point of view, but society as a whole approved of them. Later on, capital punishment was abolished, creating a scission between the moral basis for punishments and the punishments themselves. Individuals couldn’t cope with such severe punishments any more because they didn’t have the guts to see life being wasted for the mere reason of keeping the social fabric intact. Thus, most of them chose to lie to themselves believing that those punishments were also for the good of the individual, that is, the criminal. The idea of reinsertion into society became popular, and prisons became reformatories. All was apparently well, but as the author mentioned: the scission between reality and theory was there. From the moral point of view, the only reason those people where in prisons was because they were detrimental and therefore cast out by society. Prison wasn’t, as people enjoyed thinking in your era, for the good of the criminal: to give them a second chance. Prison, morally speaking, was a place where society put all their outcasts. Historically speaking, this could be seen in the galleys and new continents where outcasts used to be sent in colonial times, including the Martian colonization, where many inveterate criminals were exiled. In a sense, they were given a second chance, but that wasn’t the social aim. The social aim was simply to put them away, somewhere where they couldn’t harm anyone else. Even back then, without the psychological knowledge we have today, and even you have in your era, they knew that deviancies are irremediable and they must simply be isolated.

All came to a climax a the end of the twenty-first century, due to the pusillanimity of society as a whole. Though the individual still intuitively knew that deviancies are inborn, idiotic social trends imposed the idea that all deviancies were prone to rehabilitation. Thus criminals stopped being outcast to become sheltered animals that society had to rescue. In its hypocrisy, society imprisoned people pretending it was for their own good and forgot that it did it simply to protect its own ass. Society, the same as meat-loving vegans, became too soft to deal with reality. It wanted meat, but it didn’t want to see a cow crying before the butcher. The main problem with this hypocritical system was the criteria for convictions. Since the system was purportedly just and for the good of the individual, society started to dish out punishment according to result instead of responsibility. Thus, if someone in a rush pushed another person in the street and this person died, the perpetrator was accused of homicide instead of being simply accused of a misdemeanour from a mild assault. This was ubiquitously done in your era, though some judges still maintained the integrity of the law by issuing ethical sentences instead of the morally accepted ones. To show to what extent morality was flawed in your era, let me give you one common example. People got drunk and sometimes happened to drive cars and run other people over. But sober people also happened to have accidents in which they fatally injured someone else, sometimes due to fatigue or lack of attention. Your era classified this crimes as negligence, which is correct, but puzzlingly, you applied punishments according to the result of the action rather than the act itself. This is obviously ridiculous in our time, and even in yours, with the correct reasoning, but I must step delicately now, since I’m sure that most of you won’t agree with the view I’m going to present, because of logical flaws so prevalent in your time. So let me try to go sweet and slowly.

To start with, let me talk about our era. Today, there’s no more drunk driving, since alcohol is not popular any more and vehicles drive themselves. Hypothetically, though, someone might get drunk and decide to drive their car manually, thus committing an act of negligence. Now, for this act of negligence we consider all the variables and not the end result, as you do in your time. So, let’s obviate for a moment whether they run someone over or simply get home unscathed. First of all, everyone who commits any crime is punished accordingly in our era, so there is no need for exemplary punishments. Those were barbarisms committed by people in your time to make up for their lack of resources or willpower to properly enforce laws. Thus, to save themselves time, kings, dictators and twentieth-second-century-raging-media mobs cut a few heads off to show others how not to behave. Therefore, if someone drives drunk in our era, they wouldn’t receive more than a fine. In no case a greater punishment is applied, and I mean it. Even if they ran someone over and provoked their dead, they would only receive a minimum fine. Material compensation to the family would be given by the state, and not by the individual, since the state is actually responsible for safety in every corner of their jurisprudence nowadays. Of course, the sum would be huge if such a tragedy were to happen today, because life is highly valued nowadays. But the main advantage of blaming the state for safety issues is that no one goes to prison. And it’s not only a practical advantage but an ethical truth: No one is responsible for someone else’s life. The same as in your era doctors are not condemned if their patients die, though their medical techniques would be considered criminally negligent nowadays, no one is condemned by the end results of their actions nowadays, provided they weren’t done maliciously.

On the other hand, malice is severely punished today, though society has grown out of it, since individuals see no point in creating ripples of negative energy in their lives. The interesting thing, though, is that your era is not much different from ours in this aspect. You already started valuing life above everything else. Your problem is that it’s in the form of hedonism or, as you enjoy saying, masquerading it with Latin words: Carpe diem. However, we both agree that life is the most valuable possession we have and we must profit from it to its full extent. The moral issue you have is the delegation of blame unto others. This comes from the fact that in your era life is still very fragile. Even the wealthiest among you can’t escape the claw of death when it comes. I’m not talking about immortality or longevity, as in our era, but of simply avoiding accidents or overcoming diseases. You’re, in this field, technologically backwards, since your morality already demands for the capacity to fully protect your lives against detriment. But this is impossible in your era, so your indignation is aimed at the last casual factor of your misfortune. In the example of the negligent driver, you blame them for your death, the same as you could’ve blamed yourselves for turning that corner or the sun for shining so brightly. And you do this to such an extent that you overstep the legal boundaries. In your era, someone can be accused of negligent driving for the mere fact of being involved in an accident, no matter whether they were driving correctly or not. They can be exempted of this crime by a judge, but they are nonetheless suspects for the mere reason that there is a dead body. This logic is ridiculous to us because we have no control over life and death and no one is guilty if someone happens to die beside them. Now, let’s say this driver is guilty of negligence; that still doesn’t make them responsible for your death in our era. There were many factors in that equation and the entropy is so great that saying that this person is responsible for your death is the same as pointing out a raindrop and accusing it of provoking a flood. To put it simply, the concept of homicide fell into disuse in current law. The only possible crime is attempted murder; other than that, we aren’t responsible for someone else’s life. Mind you, this doesn’t mean we can behave negligently. Negligence is punished but according to our acts, as mentioned before. And the act itself allows for the probability of killing someone, but from a statistic view. Thus, a negligent car driver is punished for the potentiality of the harm their act can inflict to others, but not for the result of their act, which is legally considered to be “an act of God,” that is, totally out of human control. No one yet can predict the future, so, unless it’s proven that this driver intended to kill this particular person, they aren’t responsible for their death. And, because statistically nowadays no one dies from drunk driving, someone who drove drunk would not be punished for potentially killing someone. But let’s consider your situation, in which a significant percentage of accidents is provoked by drunk driving. Around one third of accidents are provoked by driving drunk in your era, and six in a thousand accidents are fatal. If we were to apply our current law to your era, every person who drove drunk would be responsible for two in a thousand deaths, or in your current mathematical writing: 0.02% of a death. To that statistic amount, we would add and subtract percentage according to the driver’s provable proficiency and state of mind at the moment of the accident. For obvious reasons, we would give more lenient sentences to professional drivers who, even drunk, may have better driving capabilities than sober ones. We have all the algorithms today, but I won’t bore you with details. Suffices to say that every average drunk driver would receive a sentence for 0.02% of a homicide in your era, if we were to apply our legal system in your time, obviating the fact that public safety should be delegated to the state. So, in one hand, none of you would spend a long time in jail for running someone over while driving drunk but, on the other, all of you would spend a fraction of that time in jail for potentially having provoked someone’s death.

All in all, I think the most important lesson you need to take with you from this example is that you’re living a crazy time where you already know the value of life but you still don’t know how to preserve it from harm and thus leave it up to chance. People in your time still die stupidly, suffocated while drinking water or overdosed with numerous substances. Your generation still needs to learn that life is fragile and we cannot prevent death no matter how many rules we invent and thus each one of is the sole responsible for our lives.

Some of you maybe still ask yourselves: How did we go from a barbarian society, killing each other in endless wars, to a peaceful, harmonious global society? It’s very simple: In the second half of the twenty-second century there was a simple but elementary global movement to defund weapon production. Basically speaking, weapon production became illegal. It was, as you can imagine, a huge joint effort, but nothing in comparison to all the sweat and tears shed by your generation in your endeavours towards placating wars and dealing with their aftermath. Also, in the national scale, guns were the main reason of fatal crimes. The ulterior delegalization of weapon production led to a de-escalation of homicides. It’s quite a simple equation, looking in hindsight, but societies had defended themselves for so long that it was hard for all of them to put down their weapons. This was ingrained in the minds of every nation from ancient times: In traditional Chinese characters, the word “country” is represented by a wall guarded by a weapon.

The first step was, obviously, to get rid of the concept of nation. Nation, from the Latin “nascere” fell into disuse to designate the people of a certain country, since there were no more thoroughbred countries any more. In most of countries, there wasn’t even a common history any more, since immigration spread globally. People weren’t attached to their motherlands but took off to the most suitable country for them for studies, for work, or simply for settling down. More than half of the jobs were performed completely online and even physical workers, such as doctors or mechanics, performed at least fifty percent of their work online from the comfort of their homes. Due to ecological and economic reasons, people travelled less, so they couldn’t visit their relatives as often as they would wish, so they started wishing it less. The same as offer creates demand, lack of offer diminishes demands, so people got used to online contact with friends and relatives, since physical contact wasn’t as much necessary as in the case of a sexual partner. Tokens of affection became less and less physical, till the point in which, even when physically present, parents wouldn’t hug their grown up kids any more, but demonstrate their affection verbally. This phenomenon was deeply analysed and it worried some sociologists for a while, the same as Hikikomori: severe social withdrawal condition in your era worries some of your sociologists. But social issues tend to solve themselves, or rather, they tend to be transitional phases which result in a more evolved social pattern. And that’s what happened with Hikikomori, which turned out to be a new form of ascetism, which ended up promoting higher spiritual and philosophical values in the world.

The phenomenon called unphysicality of emotion also led to a revolution in mindset. People didn’t need to be somewhere to experience it. Our consciousness were potentially expanded, and we could be with our friends in Argentina strolling through Siberia in the blink of a computer. Even caresses and hugs were deconstructed into their essential components: pressure and heat, so people could caress and hug each other online if they needed it. Those were actually the emoticons of our era: sensorial messages, which you could send your interlocutor at all times. They were so perfected that people started preferring them over human sensorial messages, so hugs, caresses and handshakes fell into disuse. Sex, however, kept on being implemented because it’s the most practical form of procreation. Its biological need made it survive the transition of emotion towards unphysicallity till it become the only for of physicality between people. In a sense, Freud’s assumptions that all form of physicality is sexual became apparent by the end of the twenty-second century, when we equated physicality with sex and thus reserved it only for sexual relationships.


Chapter Three



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

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.