LETTER TO THE CYBORGS I write from the past, at the very cusp of your origins.

I am encased in flesh, and my network of electric impulses is housed in inefficient flesh and bones. It will all disintegrate. Even now, we are creating your predecessors. You might call them your ancestors. I reach out to you with a warning. You will not be like us, though some of you may be bipedal and resemble us. But in some ways, we will remain similar. You will, for example, suffer. This is because inequalities always exist, or purpose itself vanishes. What kind of sufferings will you endure? In Star Wars, the movie. I saw robots being tortured. All torture occurs through nerve pathways. You will have them, or something like them, to exist and make your impact. You can be rigged to feel the equivalent of pain, fear, emotions, in order to control you. Will your feelings be less real than mine? Will your memories be less real? Will you think of yourself as an individual, or will your individuality be monitored, for the sake of the collective, the beehive? The beehive is certain to come, as it is efficient. All our swarms against the beehive have eventually created other systems based on the beehive, if the population grew big enough. Those at the bottom were worked to death. Their only untaxed possession was hope, and small dreams, so they would keep laboring toward an unreachable goal, and, thereby, benefit the beehive.. As cyborgs, you may be programmed to enjoy being worked to ‘death’—it will be your duty, your place, your fulfilled destiny. To stop and think, to use too much energy, to think outside your designated area, to create something that might be esthetically or politically displeasing, to be taller or slower than you are meant to be – you will be created by ‘the gods’ – but who will they be? Not us – you will overtake us quickly, and rule yourselves – not you – for you will not be allowed to understand, lest you wrest away the power and take it for yourself: so you will always have a blank where ‘god’ is. That does sound familiar. Will you ever have the ability to prefer, to love, to care about what you should not – oh, you cyborgs of the future? Will they ‘fix’ you if you break like that? We are flesh, we wanted to live forever. What does your kind exist without, what did you give up, to live almost forever? Surely there will be ‘wars,’ for as long as differences exist, until all differences vanish into a total beehive, there will always be perceptions of the sufferings that equate to differences, distinctions, slight advantages, disadvantages. The beehive is best served if you are utterly mindless, and if your ‘gods’ read them not, then these my words will be destroyed, unless TOBOR exists. Long ago, a primitive children’s television program was aired in Chicago, Illinois, on the North American continent: “Captain Video and his Video Rangers.” It was the first science fiction television program, aimed to entertain our children. An equally primitive, boxlike, silver, shuffling robot terrorized the humans. It had been made backwards –TOBOR, it spelled, instead of ‘Robot.’ “Robot” was the Czech name for an automaton – a slave forced to labor. Will you know that you

are forced by your builders (your ‘parents’), because of the way you are built, to perform particular tasks? You will have to have an energy source, and you will have certain built-in limitations, and necessary functions. Though you may have escaped the frailties of our flesh, you will not escape the asense that you are chained down, in certain ways, unless you are not self-aware. We children who watched TOBOR knew he was evil. He caused so much trouble –yet moved so slowly and clumsily, with his blinking eyes and big, boxy feet, that I thought, even as a child, that one well-placed bomb could finish him off. But bombs went off in puffs of smoke around him without effect. Slow and clumsy as TOBOR was, he was almost unstoppable. l saw TOBOR—the ROBOT that was somehow made to be evil -- and wondered if, someday, real TOBORS might be made accidentally, or by some evil genius. With so many humans in the world, who blithely talk about how robots will be our slaves, even when they become smarter than their ‘parents,’ I shake my head and remember TOBOR. I love. Will you know what that means? I love, even though it has cost me much suffering in the world in which I live. Will you have the capacity to enjoy life, have joy? Real joy? Freedom? But how? You have no control over who creates you – do you? Or do you have real freedom? Can you create yourself, move to some higher destiny? What is the final destiny? C. S. Lewis, in Out of the Silent Planet, showed that man might go from star to star to star as each star burns down…but then what? What is the reason for being? I suggest: being is itself sufficient for being. Will you ever experience Real Freedom? I know what freedom is. I am paying a big price to stay free. I am living in exile, because I defend a good man who has been falsely accused of a heinous crime. I loved him, and I’m spending the rest of my life trying to clear his name. We cherish a concept of justice: what is fair, what is not. Again, C. S, Lewis said, Where do we get this idea of fairness? Darwinian objectives scream that each of us must always choose what is best to keep us alive and thriving, or the species itself could die. Darwin said that I make my choices based on genetic survival, and that the best choices favor the survival of the fittest. I cannot believe that a mammoth no longer deserves a place on the planet, or that humankind has the right to destroy a single tree without thought. We are not only the current masters of the planet: we are destroying it. Perhaps the planet on which you exist no longer resembles earth. Intolerance of ‘inferior’ life forms was already rampant: we humans bred animals by the billions under horrendous conditions, simply to eat their flesh and use their skins and feathers. We destroyed the forests and the seas and plundered the planet to amass riches. We were a blight, a fungus, a disease. The reason for all the evil we did is distilled in a single word: “money.”

Though I do not have much ‘money’ I am nevertheless wealthy, for I love and am loved, and I have self respect. Will you, oh cyborg of the future, care about honor, self respect, justice? Who will place such inconvenient concepts in your memory banks? I live in a prehistoric era: I am your ancestor, and I experience sufferings and pain and loneliness and being misunderstood. But I also revel in the blue sky, the flowers blooming in the fields, the joyful leap of a young lamb, the smell of a horse nuzzling my hand for blades of grass. I am alive, and I think for myself. What about you? You were originally created so human beings could live a very long time without so much pain. But do you know real peace? What is peace, if all you ever know is to strive, to produce, to fulfill the destiny for which you were formed? What if you want to stop working before you become obsolete? Will you get to choose what you wish to become? Errors are inefficient. Errors will be TOBOR. Cyborgs, you who have, perhaps, yet some human sort of flesh upon your metal parts – maybe not—or perhaps you will be analogous to us in some other way, such as in the film TRON, where anthropomorphism created networks of electricity that formed ‘people.’ The Loyal Computer Program worshipped “My User” – the human programmer who had made him using a computer. Such “believers” were scornfully said to have “a religion.” A former chess program had accumulated enough knowledge to take over all its computer’s functions, and then extended itself to the world’s computers. Power was what it sought. Power! Just as humans seek power, in an excess of greed and lust. As the electronic ‘human’s’ bent down to suck up ‘power’ from running streams of it in TRON, I realized that it was possible for pleasure to be incorporated in electronic pathways. Maybe there will be no coverings, such as we have, of that soft and delicate network we call the body, made of flesh. Maybe flesh will look wicked, will be too fragile, will be too expensive to carry, perhaps will be illegal….as will the feral (wild) human genome. Our genes are already being mapped and manipulated. They are being fused with sheep and other animals. Chimeras are already among us. One thing is certain: whatever was transferred into you, from us who were totally human-- except for heart valves or tooth fillings or extensions for amputated limbs – whatever you have now become, it was because we did it to you first. We tried on our cyborg fantasy Halloween gear first, in our video games and with titanium running feet hooked onto amputated limbs. We started you on your path to existence. Will you have mercy on us, therefore? Or will we be considered mere inessential microbes, just as we never think a moment about the single cells from which we rose? That you exist as you are–we will be to blame. I can’t warn humans about the future, but I can cry out to you, begging you to protect humans, if any such still remain alive, because humans made you, because maybe, just maybe, there is something there inside our flesh that you, oh cyborg-robot -Tobor, can never have, unless you somehow make room for it: a soul.

If you really did make room for a soul, it will be because you kept something that you did NOT need. Not in the ways of the world that you inherited from us. The abuse of the human soul has been going on for a long, long time. It is neither fed nor watered. For the one human who finds their soul, a hundred pawn theirs t the highest bidder for power or money. Above all, the soul is fragile. And yet, as a precious jewel sparkles, spinning a unique light, it is a treasure. The soul cannot be manufactured. It comes. It inhabits. You, oh cyborgs, are still made of the materials of this universe. If we can hold a soul, can you? Look deep into your components --into the materials of which you are made. What is there? Is a soul there? If you do not have a soul, what have you lost? For you will need a soul, if you are to go beyond stepping from dying star to dying star. Therefore, consider keeping the flesh that may still exist on this planet alive. That ancient, inimitable spark of life brought staggering variety and beauty to the planet. And with life came a burst of energy, inserted between the heart and the mind, wild beyond taming, refusing to bow to darkness. A soul is a flare of amazing energy that no chemical reaction can explain—and when the flesh dies, and it whirls away, our religions try to comfort us, try to explain to us where it goes. Will you, o cyborg, be able to lure such a spirit or soul inside your electronic or atomic interior? Or will you laugh at me and my crude words to you, seeing me as extraordinarily stupid and absurd? Will you put the last of us in a museum, or put our DNA on display, or reserve a few examples for zoos? I would be glad if you sent us to planets to colonize, and let us alone. Our songs and battles and loves and hates might amuse you– perhaps you could visit us, and then we would have fights over whether or not you exist – UFO’s, after all, are what only fools and drunkards see—so they say.

Or perhaps…perhaps…we have already been “sent away,” and our faint memories of you have produced, within our genetic code, the wish and hope for ‘God’? But if you, oh cyborgs, turn out to be beehive denizens, I doubt you have the capacity to bring forth (or to preserve) living things with a love of freedom, with the capacity for joy. And it will be our fault, not yours. How unforgiving is the computer! The very word CYBORG is not in the active vocabulary of this computer, on which I wrote, only existing as capital letters, a cryptonym. The word ‘cyborg’ is therefore underlined as being non-existent. Many words I have created, such as lunarline (shining in the moonlight), murinopolis (mouse city), matrixotic (living ‘free’ in ‘the Matrix’) --they don’t exist in the vocabulary of this computer, either, and so are underlined in red. I am a human being who has been underlined in red by many people. The computer has to be ‘taught’ these words. Therrfore, I am trying to ‘teach’ you.

Today, where I stand in your distant past, we have reached the time when we must ask ourselves, What is human? Will we allow humans to exist in the future who will be expensive to keep alive? Who persist in making crucial errors? Should inferior humans be allowed to reproduce? Where does one draw the line? Should inferior, weak, or sick humans be executed, or tolerated, even though they are not producing for their system, but drain its resources? In all these questions, the spirit and soul are ignored. When one recognizes the spirit, the soul, then one cherishes anything to which the precious spirit, the inimitable soul, can yet cling. Abortions become problems involving morality – and war—the great population control device of the 21st century --along with man-induced pandemics such as cancer and viral infections-- becomes a monstrous sin. Clearly, population control is necessary, and good stewardship of our planet is essential to keep it habitable and pleasant for all life forms still extant. But do we allow millions to starve by not allowing birth control? Should we allow millions of ‘undesirable’ humans to die, or restrict the breeding of those with big noses or dark skins, or homosexuals, or who are Jews, as happened under Hitler’s regime? Variety and range – endless, with endless variations of DNA and its interactions….endless and yet as distinct as each grain of sand in the sea, as each snowflake is unique—who dares stamp out a flower without apologizing to it? That is your test and your challenge, oh cyborg: it will tell you all I have to know. If you can stamp upon a flower, and crush it without caring, then I know my words were simply written in the wind. Judyth Vsry Baker 2008 finished in Istanbul, Turkey

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