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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Silence of the Blissful: A Science Fiction Story

Jeff Hunt was a blogger with a strong social conscience, and in the year 2040 he found plenty of things to complain about. Jeff denounced the ever-growing levels of wealth inequality, and he complained that the middle class was starting to become an endangered species. Jeff castigated politicians for seemingly being in the pocket of the richest 1 percent. Shining a light on dubious projects of the Government, Jeff showed how many projects were pork-barrel boondoggles designed mainly to line the pockets of corporations. When Jeff found cases of government duplicity and deception, he exposed them to illuminating scrutiny.

The Government noticed the growing readership of Jeff's blog, and one day Jeff received a phone call from a government official.

We've noticed your complaints, and we want to show you that we listen to our critics,” said the official. “Why don't you come into my office, and we'll discuss your grievances.”

Jeff was worried. He had heard vague rumors of how the Government had “got to” some of its critics. Jeff nervously walked into the government office and met the government official who had agreed to meet with him.

Jeff was rather surprised by how long a time he was allowed to talk, and he also found it surprising that the government official did not dispute anything he said. Jeff talked on and on for twenty minutes about all the government corruption, waste, and folly he had written about in his blog. The government official took notes as Jeff spoke.

We thank you for the input,” said the bureaucrat. “I am going to file a full report on your complaints, and I'm sure the report will attract great attention by the relevant government officials. But since I'm doing this favor for you, it is only fair that you do a little favor for me.”

Uh-oh, thought Jeff; what are they going to ask for?

We are testing an important new medicine,” said the bureaucrat, “and we need you to participate in our test. Please take these three pills, and try them, one every two hours. We'll be in touch to ask about your reaction.”

The bureaucrat gave Jeff the pills. One was red; the other yellow; and the other blue. Jeff went back to his apartment. The bureaucrat threw away his notes.

Back in his apartment, Jeff looked at the pills with a worried face. He thought to himself: could these pills have some kind of poison?

He decided to bite off just a tiny piece of the red pill, just to be safe. Far from causing any discomfort, the pill produced the opposite effect. Jeff felt wonderful. He swallowed the rest of the pill.

For the next two hours Jeff felt better than he had ever felt before. It seemed as if every piece of flesh in his body was pulsating with the most wonderful pulsation ever pulsated. It was as if every part of his flesh was a tongue, a tongue that was tasting some food from the tables of paradise, a food a hundred times more delicious than the most delicious food a human has ever prepared. It was a sensation far, far better than sex.

Finally the effect wore off. Without much hesitation, Jeff swallowed the yellow pill. The pill had an amazing effect. Jeff could close his eyes, and he would see the most glorious dreamlike visions. He saw visions of shining glass castles floating in the clouds. He saw visions of a hundred gorgeous naked women dancing on a vast green meadow. He saw visions of strange extraterrestrial planets where flying vehicles silently drifted through urban canyons stretching miles high up into the air.

After two hours, the effect of the yellow pill wore off. Jeff then took the blue pill, asking himself: what delight will this one produce?

He soon found out. The pill made him laugh uncontrollably at everything. He looked at a little crack in his wall, and spent twenty minutes rolling on the floor, laughing uncontrollably. The little crack seemed the funniest joke ever told in the history of the world. Then Jeff picked up a spoon and looked at that. He spent thirty minutes laughing hysterically at the spoon, wondering why he had never previously noticed how infinitely funny spoons are.

Finally the effect wore off. Jeff went to sleep, wondering what kind of weird medicine the government was testing.

When Jeff woke up the next morning, he was filled with a tremendous physical, mental, and spiritual craving. Jeff knew exactly what it was: he had to have more of those pills. He thought to himself: I'll have to go back to that bureaucrat, and get more of those pills. But then he realized: it was Saturday, and the government office would be closed.

Jeff shuddered. No, no, no, no, Jeff thought, I must, I must, I must have more of those pills! I need them now, now, now, now!

For an hour Jeff was in agony. He thought of not having the pills for the rest of the day, and the idea seemed like the most impossible impossibility ever conceived. Jeff asked himself: what, what, what can I do to get more of those pills – I MUST have them!

Then Jeff got a text message on his wrist smartphone. The message said: Check your mail box.

Jeff bolted down the stairways to the lobby of his apartment, and opened his mailbox. There in the box was a little envelope. Excitedly, Jeff opened it. Inside the envelope were 6 pills: two red, two yellow, and two blue.

Jeff laughed ecstatically. For now, his problem was over. He went back upstairs and enjoyed the pills again.

From then on Jeff found a little envelope in his mailbox every day except Sunday. On weekdays each envelope would have three pills, and on Saturday the envelope would have 6 pills. Several times there was a little message in the envelopes. The message said:

Keep quiet, or we'll take you off the mailing list.

Jeff stopped writing on his blog. He knew that his silence was the price of getting the pills. But Jeff didn't care much any more about social issues, and he had lost interest in being a government critic. All he cared about now was getting and enjoying what he absolutely had to have every single day: the red, blue, and yellow pills.

Jeff was like many thousands of other government critics who had been quietly silenced by the little pills. As someone in the Government had once said with a chuckle: no rebellion or political movement ever got started by a drug addict.