May 1st, 2001


Today I Trust Anyone With "Ibn" In Their Name

So, I've got a spare bedroom in my apartment, and sometimes people crash there. It's great - I really love having houseguests. It's the extrovert in me, I'm sure. This past weekend, we had kind of an unusual houseguest.

A close, trusted friend of a close, trusted friend of mine said that this guy, John, really needed help, just a place to stay for a few days. I said sure, fine, and he stayed. Nice guy, cleaned up the place some and actually cooked breakfast on Saturday. If he hadn't seen my time machine, he probably would've left without telling the story. I guess knowing that we share an interest in fringe science loosened up his tongue.

He'd extracted virtue directly. Nobility, loyalty, morality, stability, steadfastness, all distilled down into this amber-colored oily liquid. Apparently it's in the air, and it doesn't seem to be depleted by the process. It smells like honey and flowers, and it's normally suspended in the air. He explained it to me, and showed me the extractor, and we extracted some and mainlined it.

It's beautiful. It's like the Golden Age of Greece that never was. I felt pure and honest. I found answers to all my moral dilemmas. I had to courage to tell people what I honestly felt about them, the will to resist what I knew was worst for me, and the insight to see possibilities I had not imagined before. I felt peaceful and blissful, and very, very right. I ignored nothing.

He explained, when I told him my worries, that this wasn't addictive and didn't build tolerance. This wasn't a drug, he explained - this was virtue. This was the stuff already coursing through the prefrontal lobe when it made a right decision, and through the temporal lobe during the ecstasy of love. The more virtue you had in your life, the easier it was to live with it. He told me he hadn't needed to inject any for months - it just stayed with him.

But there were people who were trying to kill him for it. The government was leaning on him, and so was the Pope, and so was the mob. The French government had offered him a hundred million for the device, then threatened him when he refused. He'd been blackmailed, his family had been threatened, and he'd been forced into a fugitive life. He didn't seem to mind, of course - patience is a virtue.

I gave him a nervous chuckle and asked if they were all aware of the irony of it - that they'd been so cruel in a quest for virtue.

His eyes twinkled a bit and he smiled. "Actually, I'm working on mining for irony next."

(no subject)

How many advances in high-tech furniture were never released to the world, just because the only term anyone could imagine to describe it was "electric chair"?