A simple premise; a bold promise
To present one story per day, every day—
providing exceptional authors with exposure
and avid readers with first-rate fiction.

Today's Story by Benjamin Wachs

They’re going to tell you I’m an unfit parent, baby girl.

The challenge for us

I’m not going to lie to you, baby.  I’m terrified.  Of Robert Wright.  Of Richard Dawkins.  Of the selfish gene and the internet.  Of the meme, a frightening word made all the more maddening by the fact that it’s both popular and useless.  I read their books, and their editorials, and I see that all 50 states are likely going to adopt national standards for education, and I tremble.

Yes, I’m frightened of the future.  Who isn’t?  They’re not.  That’s my point.  The people who terrify me are not frightened of the future.

Robert Wright has been on a bender on the New York Times blog recently, predicting that the internet is augmenting human intelligence and the possibility for socially distributed knowledge to the point where soon everyone will be cells in a giant super-organism.   He swears it’s an augmentation to intelligence, but meanwhile all the scientific literature is telling us the internet is making us stupid.  That’s okay, though:  soon we’ll know exactly what we need to because the state will tell us what it is.

If we have a problem with it, our doctors will give us a pill:  nobody covers talk therapy, anymore – talk is considered an inefficient way of expressing oneself to professionals – and if the pill doesn’t work they’ll put us in a machine to scan our brains.  And if that doesn’t work we’ll be given the name of a disorder and told to quietly sit in the corner.   There’s no one to talk to about it, most of our friendships happen online now, and that’s the way it’s moving because you can’t say “no” to your job if you want to keep it.

What I’m saying is, the super-organism won’t have cells, it will have memes.  It won’t have thoughts, it will have links.  And it won’t have any room for people.  The challenge for humanity in the coming world is to retain its humanity.  The challenge for us as individuals is to chose from more than the choices we’re offered.  To be people, not cells.

They’re going to tell you I’m an unfit parent, baby girl.  They won’t let us see each other, and they might not even let us email.  A thousand people you’ve never met will compete with your absent father for attention.  But don’t let them fool you.  Not for a minute.  You are made in the image of God, in a world that holds nothing sacred.

The choice I made is so that you’ll know, someday, when it stops hurting, that you have a choice too.


Benjamin Wachs has written for Village Voice Media, Playboy.com, and NPR among other venues.  He archives his work at www.TheWachsGallery.com.

Read more stories by Benjamin Wachs


To comment on this story, visit Fiction365’s Facebook page