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“Come on Jessica, what’s the matter?” Lisa slouches, wincing her lips in a display of concern at her friend.

“It’s just.. I’m afraid that if I accept the simulated strength display, I’ll never be able to accept a real one!” she sighs, setting the simulator helmet down.

“But that’s the whole point! You’re supposed to trick your brain. Satisfying the pleasure routines is the only way to achieve full focus.. if you want actually finish your novel in a timeframe where the context is relevant to the information body at large, you have to trick it. Finding a mate to meet your standards is too expensive. You literally can’t afford to do it.”

“I know you’re only trying to help me publish, but isn’t that a problem? That my life is entirely dedicated around publishing?”

“Thoughts organized around other thoughts without tangible effect in the world are semantic vortexes, traps of the imagination. Stammer proved this over 17 years ago.”

“Yes but - “ Jessica frowns, frustration pouring out of several internal aspects. “But why are my standards so high that I need a machine to simulate them? Before networked machines I wouldn’t have known about the toned muscles and cultivated intelligence of the Brazillian Jungle Crew. I would have met a man in my city and fallen in love with him because he was the best thing around.”

“Yes, and as soon as you discovered the Crew you would have abandoned your man promptly. You would have seduced one of the Junglers to take care of your self and offspring, proposing your physical experience as a mutual augment to theirs.”

“I just don’t like it! So what if it gets me off and convinces my primate brain that I’m being cared for in a dangerous world. So what if the neurochemicals bathe my psyche with comfort – I’m not actually cared for!”

“Your brain doesn’t know the difference! Apparent sensation is all that it knows. It’s only you neocortex that’s aware of the layers to meaning in signals.”

“My consciousness is sucked beyond my neocortex, Lisa. I’ve outsourced comfort and pleasure to technology! Basic biological needs are outside of my immediate self and social group. I’ve been evolved, metamorphosed into dependency on an electronic process.

“Suppose you were unplugged from the matrix one day, and saw that everyone else was living inside the matrix. Does the matrix existing within a larger space detract from the fact of its experience? Similarly, does the effect of increased productivity manifesting from within electronic stimulation negate the existence of the process? Only your neocortex slices into “real” and “fake” and hilariously, monkey-ly, the “realest” is just “the biggest” reality, or the “earliest” reality, in the case of your addiction to actual skin.”

Jessica pulls away the philosophical friend simulator goggles from her face. “My, what quaint views the simulation expresses!”

Data streams in through her optical lens, directly programming her psychology with teeming linguistic viruses dripping straight from the bleeding tip of consciousness cut by the transient sword of inquiry.

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