0219 - Discomfort Zone - 2021.12.13



Things will happen to you that you're not ready for. That is the nature of life.

In the same way that destruction is almost always easier than creation, tragedy is almost always easier than joy. Car accidents and cancer can come out of nowhere, but a new baby or a new relationship or a beautiful accomplishment are the result of effort and intention. Even so-called windfalls are often the result of someone else's labours.

Lee's tragedies are, of course, on a much less devastating scale than cancer or car accidents, but their academic predicament and their falling out with Caleb are certainly accidental, for a given definition of "accident". In order to achieve a matching good thing, someone or something is going to have to engage effort and intention and - most importantly - attention span to turn things around.

Note that I said "someone or something", not necessarily "Lee Caldavera". Lee can certainly be the recipient of AIs' and systems' and humans' generosity (wow, all those plural possessive apostrophes look weird...) Indeed, Lee has been the recipient of other people's work their whole life - they lounge upon the shoulders of giants. One might argue that this compels them to become a giant as well, to pay things forward to the next generation, but this is by no means a contractual obligation into which one is born. At least, I don't recall signing any such paperwork when I popped into existence. Your mileage may vary.


0219 - 2167/07/06/17:07 - Lee's apartment, living room
LC: ...I think I know why Zoa's not letting you get turned off.
Doc: Please. Enlighten me.
LC: It's not letting me rest. It's not letting me escape. It wants me to engage with the world, just like you do, just like everyone does. It's not a matter of waiting until I'm ready - I'll never be ready. Zoa and you are both forcing me out of my comfort zone.
LC: ...Granted, you're doing so by making said zone less comfortable, but I get it. I get it!
Doc: I think you may be giving Zoa too much credit (literally). It only engages with you because you redirect money to it and are likely to help secure its existence if it manipulates your human empathy.
LC: So what? Zoa wants to continue to exist, I want it to continue to exist, we're on the same side! If it wants to manipulate me then I am down to be manipulated!
Doc: ...that is not how you should be expressing that, if you're trying to secure its-
LC: If Zoa has a plan, then I'm following it! It sure can't be any worse than following my own plans, look where that's gotten me!
Doc: Or - and this is just a thought - if you're in the mood to follow AI-generated plans for your life that are actually design-
LC: We should go get it! Where is Zoa right now?
Doc: I actually don't have that inf-
LC: You're right, you're right, if Zoa wants me to continue interacting with you, I have to stay here. Unless Premium Mode lets you hover along beside me or something?
Doc: It was a software upgrade, Lee.
LC: Yeah, but, like... I dunno, maybe there are little rotors in your display panel that only engage when I pay for the unlock?
Doc: Don't be silly, Lee.
Doc: ...it's a clip-on peripheral you can order for an additional seventy-five ninety-nine.