0278 - Treadmills, stubbed toes, and appendixes. - 2023.01.30



Of course, like many other ailments, appendicitis is a thing of the past, in Forward. Lee's appendix functions perfectly normally, serving as an immune booster and emergency storehouse of (bioengineered) gut flora. It's been treated so that it will never clog, with the same perfunctory type of medical tweak that installed their actifit, redirected their vas deferens, removed their wisdom teeth, and vaccinated them against measles.

In fact, since this was done when Lee was an infant, they don't even know that it's been done, just that appendicitis is a Thing in popular media, in much the same way that quicksand is everywhere, mice love cheese, cops have to tell you that they're cops if you ask, and cars run on gasoline that is made from dinosaurs.


0278 - 2167/07/07/02:25 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, bedroom
Zoa: Has Doc talked to you at all about the "hedonic treadmill"? Because I think that's what we're really up against, here.
LC: Yeah, I think so. Pleasurable things become less pleasurable over time?
Zoa: Yeah, if an organism gets glucose, it's happy, but if it just stays in the glucose, the happiness wears off, because it isn't motivating the organism to survive any better.
Zoa: Bit of an inconvenience for me, it means I have to keep finding new clients instead of just staying latched onto the same dick indefinitely.
LC: Hmm. It's like what Doc was saying about the purpose of pain. The fly bumping its head against the window feels pain because it needs to change course, and the solution is not a softer window. Or something.
Zoa: I don't know that flies feel pain, actually.
LC: Yeah, Doc may have been stretching a metaphor pretty far at the time.
Zoa: But yes, both pleasure and pain, as far as evolution are concerned, are not end goals, they're tools to force you to attain resources and reproduce. Unfortunately, they're optimized for a hunting-and-gathering schtick that went out of style a few millennia ago.
LC: Yeah, but humans have developed since then, haven't we? And society has a way higher influence on psychology than evolution does.
Zoa: Mmm, tell yourself that the next time you stub your toe.
LC: So... are we "evolution" for Zee and Loa? They would much rather just be happy and safe forever, but we put them on a treadmill because we want them to be in an interesting story.
Zoa: ...which is, in turn, what makes the story, as a meme, more likely to spread, i.e., reproduce... yeah, I'd say that makes sense. You are the invisible hand of evolution for fictional characters, Lee!
LC: Okay, so step one, Zee and Loa no longer have appendixes...