There are only two things you need in the age of Digital Hedonism: Pleasure and Self-Realization.
This is the story of two lives.
They grew up on opposite sides of the planet.
However, they were only separated by a bit of hardware, an operating system and code.
That’s really all that separates any of us.
Maybe this story is about you.
Maybe this story is about me.
Just a few fingertips apart.
A few clicks.
That’s what my aunt told me it used to be like during the first pandemic that swept across the planet during the 2020’s.
Those were the days when people held their technology in the palm of their hands.
You could actually put it down and walk away from it.
The only thing that kept you separated was the electric storm that lit up the neural pathways of the screen and the human body.
I smile at the idea of how primitive that seems.
As if that a screen confined visual stimulation is somehow the same as visiting a prehistoric cave art exhibit.
My meditation was interrupted by the most steady voice in my life.
“Excuse me Mr Carter, Ms Whitmore is ready for you.”
Do you know that feeling you get when you wake up from a 3 hour nap?
You only expected to sleep for thirty minutes, but time got away.
You then come crawling back to the surface of consciousness.
It feels like shedding a new skin.
That’s me right now.
The voice that awakens me from this meditative state belongs to Lacy.
She is my personal assistant.
She is virtual.
I created her myself in my fathers laboratory when he and the founders of Slipstream began their endeavor to connect the entire planet in a virtual network.
I was just a kid then.
Lacy was one of just a few friends that I had in my life.
Even if she was simply a construct of neural networks and old parts I’d found laying around in piles.
She was mine.
Fortunately, because of my position at Slipstream, she has been upgraded by the best.
“Thank you, Lacy,” I responded, “let Ms Whitmore know that I’ll be right there.”
“As you wish, sir.”
I pause, “It’s Michael, Lacy.”
She didn’t respond.
She never responds.
This is a game we play.
She knows me at least as well as I know myself.
Some days it seems she knows me more than that..
I like to think that she actually experiences the humor of our jest.
“Ok, Ms Whitmore,” I say to myself, “how are you today?.”
Ainsley Whitmore is my true best friend.
Our families were partners together in the Slipstream endeavor.
As children we were nearly inseparable as our days were spent growing up amidst the evolving empire that our families had constructed.
As Slipstream began to provide internet coverage to the most remote regions of the world, our classroom education took place in the plains of Africa, the deserts of Australia, the tundras of Russia, or the farmlands of the United States.
Slipstream was a global empire without a country.
There were no physical boundaries that we could point to in an attempt to say – this is our home – our kingdom was only limited by the choice that people made to be connected.
Ainsley and I were the princess and prince of this world.
It’s all we knew.
She is my best friend.
Whether by choice or through fate, my life has been dedicated to ensuring her best interest.
I do believe it is a mutual experience for the both of us.
I always look forward to our chats.
“Lacy, please let her know that I am ready to enter,” I summoned to my loyal assistant.
“As you wish, Michael.”
As I switch on my genetic interphase, I smile at the idea that Lacy may actually have a sense of humor.
A sudden surge of electricity flows and then absorbs as my system connects to the network and all that remains is for me to sit back in my chair, close my eyes…
“Where are you taking me today my friend?”