According to my mechanical friend, Neelam, I have fulfilled my purpose; so therefore, there is no biological need for me to continue to exist. That is, according to her, what was the term she used? Programming. According to her programming, that is my entire purpose – to reproduce. Well, there you go, I’ve done it. I am fulfilled. Half an hour of sweating and grunting, a few moments of peak pleasure, and that’s it. I’m done. Well, at least, nine months later, my seed has flourished and there is no longer any use for me. I wouldn’t mind so much, but that was nine years ago, so what has been the point since? To borrow a phrase that Gywn might use, that is so fucked up. Is that really what people think in the future? That the only biological point of life is to reproduce? It sounds like a rather depressing future to me. Everything that can be achieved has been achieved, so the only point of existence is to fertilise an egg and pass on? Somehow, I don’t want to think about that future, even if it does get mankind to the stars. Of course, I am taking all this on trust, and from a machine at that. She, or should I say, it, did say that there is also the existential purpose of evolving, but then, she has also said that mankind had finished evolving, turning instead to the manufacture of machines to replace themselves. Even if there is purpose; according to Neelam, happiness plays no part in either mode of existence. As I said, I am talking to a machine, an artificial mechanism, so perhaps it is too much to expect understanding, or an appreciation of the importance of relationships, any meaning to life, such as creativity, invention, exploration etc, that isn’t directed to furthering the germ line. On the whole, it is a rather depressing thought. For a mechanism that is supposedly dedicated to improving the lives of those it serves, Neelam is sure good at bringing a person down. Not, that I suppose, she would understand that.

To borrow another phrase that Gwyn or Lalla might use, bollocks to it! I don’t think my sole reason for existing is over; I have more purpose beyond having fathered a son. Now all I need to do is fathom out what that purpose is. I hope it is more than performing complex calculations (not having a robot to do it for me) in order to determine that half the customers at the tavern leave without paying for their meals; that being my only achievement for the evening. Perhaps I should go and contemplate the future somewhere else. Not Neelam’s future, but the somewhat indeterminate one of Edmund Cussons and his new friends. At least that future is mine and mine alone to determine.


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