Everything flows

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
a humorous story I wrote about virtual worlds vs real emotions, just as I see it. We live in a world where technology more and more determines how we lead our lives and where people are seen as costs instead of value.

Submitted: January 04, 2017

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Submitted: January 04, 2017

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My God, our society is so amazing at times. Please, do not misunderstand me, let's be glad, it colors our lives, but sometimes ... Anyway, when I was strolling along the river shore last Sunday, I saw a man and a woman standing there, gazing straight ahead across the river. Without saying anything I stood beside them and tried to see what they saw. After five minutes, the man, still with the focus on infinity, broke the silence: "You do not see it, do you? Come on, admit it!" I shrugged: "I do not have the faintest idea what you are looking at, but it intrigues me." "We are visionaries, my wife and I" he said "Visionaries for all your virtual assets." "... And desires," the woman added. "Panta Rhei. Everything flows like the river, from the present to a new future. The present is the new past and the future is the new present. Everything flows." She looked me up and down and sighed "You seem more one of the ancient past, is it not? Such a pity! So 1963." Stammering, I replied "I..I..uhh .. What the hell is this all about?"

The man stuck out his hand "Otto! And this is Hannah, with double h. Besides visionaries we are avid palindrome dreamers. Wow heh?" I stared at him, not quite understanding. He smiled "No worries, I recognize that look, we get it often. Let me explain. We, Hannah and I have already been mesmerized by virtual reality since the beginning of times . It began with the holograms in Star Trek and since then we have dedicated our lives to creating a new, virtual world, a world where two and two make four, without limitations on our virtual capabilities.""..and desires! " Hannah added. He laughed "Yes, Hannah, and desires. You see, she is more virtual spiritual. I just want to cash." I looked at the couple. Amazing. "How can one and one be four? In our society nowadays, it is even more difficult for one and one to become two." I asked. She sighed deeply "See, I told you Otto. Such a waste of time. He is so 1963." The guy hit me on the shoulder. "It's okay. I'll explain. What kind of work do you do? " "I am in the printing business." I replied, still dizzy from such verbiage on an early Sunday morning.

"Ah, print!" the man cried out enthusiastically. "Fantasize, create, inform, gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous!" "But a completely obsolete medium, Só 1980." Hannah added. He made a sweeping gesture: "Just imagine if you will Sir. Picture your printing and everything around it as a hologram. Virtual clients, virtual presses, virtual employees, virtual management and virtual readers. A one-time investment in the unlimited possibilities of the virtual reality. No more nasty stench of print or dirty ink fingers flipping pages. No more stacks of retail folders in your mailbox that you never read anyway.." I interrupted him: "Nasty stench ? What do you mean? That smell happens to be one of the charms of print. The smell, the feel, the rustle." Memories of the editor of Playboy and some bunnies who visited our printing plant in 1983, sticking his nose in the centerfold and exclaiming "God, this smells divine!" came to mind. "Don't get me wrong Otto, but some things can never be replaced by virtual reality."

"Ha! With all due respect, nostalgic feel good dribble, Sir!" the man sneered. "Nostalgia. Fun for old times sake on a lazy Sunday morning, but there is no longer a place for that in our virtual world. Nowadays all that counts is hard cash, efficiency and effectiveness. Just imagine if you will, employees working eight, ten, fourteen or twenty-four consecutive hours. It's all possible in our virtual society. It is the society of the future. No trouble deciphering languages for example. Virtual Chinese you can even understand and conversate with in Dutch and vice versa. Just a matter of programming and implementing. Virtual reality has no limits. Vision!" I looked at him in astonishment "But it's a chilly society! Without memory, without history, without flesh and blood. Without Edison, Shakespeare, Dickens .. " Otto threw his hands in the air and yelled "Details!" I yelled back at him "Details? Why details? The first man on the moon. The Wright brothers and Amelia Earhart. Marlene Dietrich's legs or the leg of Bernd Hölzenbein on 7 July 1974 in the World Cup final Holland vs Germany. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Edith Piaff, grandmother, grandfather, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter!" "Details, details, details!" Hannah and Otto screamed simultaneously. "In our vision of a virtual world there is no place for the past. Everything flows. Period!" I hesitated "And uhm.. Abba?" Hannah rolled her eyes, but I noticed confusion in his eyes? "Well, sometimes you have to make choices." Hannah said as she put an arm around Otto. "Yes, sometimes you lose one. The price of fame, so to speak. In the big picture they are still details. Everything flows. Right Otto?" He nodded in silence.

I shook my head in disbelief about all that clinical drawing board thinking. Granted, our society degenerates more and more into a world where individuality and ego are in the spotlights and the number of Facebook friends has become way more important than real life contact and where business is all about flowing with fewer people, calculated until the decimal point on those same drawing boards. Calculations that have their inevitable limits. But still, isn't it always better to discuss those matters together face to face, with real people in the real world than to end up in a society where self-taught visionaries like Otto and Hannah are calling the shots?

I looked at the both of them in disgust: "And what about all those real people? Where are they in that wonderful new virtual world of yours? That's still some seven billion souls, including you two!" Hannah and Otto sighed in unison. "Sure, go on, spout more details. All that negative energy. What do you need people for nowadays, they are sooo 2015!" I slowly moved closer and with one sudden hip check I tipped Hannah and Otto right into the river, with a loud splash. Resulting in curses, screams and raised fists. I waved at them, "Go try sell that virtual world of yours somewhere else. I don't need it. Over here we already know that everything flows. For decades!" As I saw Hannah and Otto disappear, drifting off to the horizon, the clouds broke and I felt the warmth of the sun on my face. Delicious and real warmth. I smiled and whistling an old Abba tune I continued my stroll. Boy, what a beautiful and surprizing morning. Ahh, life is good.


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