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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