This took him by surprise, and I managed to hold him down while I wailed on him with a large vase. I knew I couldn’t hurt him, and he may have known I couldn’t hurt him, but I was definitely scaring the shit out of the guy. Presently, he blinked away, his connection from the meat world severed.
Time passed. My family came to visit me on several occasions, and it was difficult for me to explain to them the unique and increasing separation between body and mind in this situation. They couldn’t understand. It was too far outside their realm of experience. One day my grandkids stopped coming. “They just can’t take seeing you like this, Pop,” my son said, “It’s like talking to a ghost.” The next time he wanted to see me, I refused admission.
Time passed, quickly for the meat, slow for the mind. Several of the people in Heaven disappeared. More came, from different accidents. A few of the ones I’d been hanging out with recovered, and left the hospital and the virtual world. I had gotten a good look at my shattered body. I was apprehensive about returning to it. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried: it died on me.
Note that I say “It” died, not “I” died. I’d been receiving direct electrical stimulation from a vast network of computers for months at that point, nearly a year from my point of view. I was fully entrenched in my new life, my experiences - though subjective - are no less real than your own.
Eight days after I died, the doctor-avatars came for me, and asked me if there were any funeral arrangements I wanted to make. I told them I wasn’t dead, but they insisted that I was. They asked if I wanted to talk to anyone, and couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that the act of talking implies there’s a person here to listen to. “Assisted suicide is illegal in this state,” I said, “And I do not choose to die. I’ll pass any cognitive test you wanna’ give me. Get me a lawyer.” They informed me that they’d be pulling the plug in the morning. I attacked one of them. They blinked away.
I buttonholed everyone in Heaven I could find, explained the situation. Most of them grasped it, some didn’t, but a few of those went along just out of peer pressure. We all started chanting, “Get me a lawyer, get me a lawyer, get me a lawyer” for virtual days on end. Our voices don’t get tired, we’re never out of breath. We will not be silenced.
Eventually the hospital grudgingly did what I said, and here we are.
I want to thank the court for letting me address the judges and jury directly. We’ve heard the prosecution claim this is a thorny case, financially, morally, theologically. It’s really not: my brain is not dead, and my brain is me. Yes, it’s true that if I were taken off of life support, my brain would die, but what of it? That’s like saying if I shot you in the chest, you’d die. Of course you would, of course then I’d have killed you by shooting you, wouldn’t I? Likewise, you pull the plug and you’re killing me.
We’ve heard the doctors and psychologists say my quality of life is poor. Well, you know, it’s not that bad. I don’t have to piss all the time, my back doesn’t hurt, I’m never hungry, never gassy. Yeah, it’s boring, but boring beats ‘dead’ all to hell, doesn’t it? And obviously this virtual world could be improved. All of us think and act inside here about eight times faster than you do in the real world. That means that a computer programmer - I was one before I retired, by the way - can do as much work as eight men can every hour. Give us access to the code - give me access - and we can whip this up into something wonderful in no time. We can perform programming services for the outside world, even! Run dangerous remote-controlled machines, do research…there’s lots of stuff we can do. We can contribute.
We’ve heard the insurance companies state that this is too expensive, well, ok, I admit that, but let’s look at it pragmatically: we *can* contribute to the meat world, as I’ve said. Perhaps we can pay for our lives here, eventually. And who says you need to keep my body alive, anyway? Yeah, the body’s a lot to keep going, but how much can it cost to keep a brain alive? Cut my body away, give my organs to anyone who needs ‘em, keep my brain in a jar in a fish tank somewhere, it makes no difference to me about that, just keep it alive, and keep me plugged in.
Look, this is a new idea, a new kind of life, it’s hard to get your brain around, I understand that, there’s a learning curve involved here, but you’ve heard my testimony, you’ve heard commentary from some other specialists, you’ve made a virtual-fieldtrip to heaven to see what it’s like. I am alive. I want to live.
I don’t know if there’s a God or not. I don’t know if there really is a heaven. I’d like to think there is, but I fear the implications. I’ve not led a particularly good life. I’ve gone on a bit about my fears because fear is real, because the whole experience of dying with a flag on the play was very traumatic. Let’s assume there really *is* an afterlife: please, please, please don’t make me go through all this again on the other side. It’s more than I can bear.
I thank you for your time and your attention, and I await your decision.
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