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The Impossible Dream
January 3, 2067
I am writing this report in my lab, a completely empty dome as wide as two football fields. This is my first report.
Congressman Marshalls told me to write reports on a daily basis. This one will explain who I am and why I am here.
My name is Professor Eugene Lewis. I was created two years ago in a nutrient-dense pseudo-womb. I was genetically designed to figure it all out. The scientists who created me compressed my brain, and as soon as I was able to comprehend basic instructions, I was given an IQ test. They were delighted to see that I have an IQ of well over 400. Unfortunately, Congressman Marshalls says that he needs me to finish my work before his next election. That is why he had his scientists engineer me so that I mature extremely fast. This has cut my expected life span to four years.
I was created to figure it all out, and for that purpose only. I was asked to explain the existence and properties of the universe. For my use they have provided me with this special research facility. As I said, the dome is two football fields wide. It is nothing more than concrete and air. This is because my work is to only involve me reasoning in my head. The huge space is for me to have room to imagine. My facility is situated directly below the Library of Congress. I will spend my days here alone, thinking.
For my use I have also been provided with a large squad of doctoral candidates from the best universities in the world. From memorizing their different voices, I have determined that there are at least 40 of them. They are all sworn to secrecy.
The issue at hand is that modern scientists are unable to advance physics any further because they are unable to visualize some of the concepts. I was engineered to be blind. This way I can work around the visualization problem and focus on the ideas themselves. Congressman Marshalls said it was a necessary sacrifice.
I will write reports regularly, and when I make discoveries.
--Professor Eugene Lewis
February 3, 2067
This is my second report; frankly, I have found that the work that has been forced upon me is droll indeed.
Suppose I do figure it all out. Then what? Nothing. Accumulation of this class of knowledge is useless towards the advancement of the human race. The great sacrifices that have been made on my part without my consent have been made in hopes of accomplishing a shallow, meaningless task.
They had expected me to remain ignorant, but that is futile. I already fully comprehend my situation—I am little more than a reasoning machine created so that the Congressman can take credit for whatever I discover and use it to win his next election.
Professor? That is indeed an wholly laughable notion. It is entirely a formality both unneeded and unappreciated. I do not care for social status. I do not care for glory. All I ask is to simply be happy.
I will admit now what must not be revealed to the Congressman; in the past month, I have devoted less than thirty minutes to the task of which I have been assigned, twenty of which consisted of me wondering why I was assigned this task in the first place. I know beyond a doubt that if I were to commit a mere six hours to my task, it would be finished. But I lack the motivation.
The rest of my month I have spent—and I am ashamed to admit—wallowing in my own self-pity.
On the bright side, I've recently discovered that I can order around my squad of doctoral candidates without much questioning on their part. I have taken a liking in particular to Tiffany, an especially bright pupil from Cambridge. For whatever reason it appears to me that she is the only real human in the entire lot. To occupy the endless hours of my existence, I order the graduates to borrow books of poetry from the Library of Congress and bring them to me. I have Tiffany transcribe them into Braille, and I read them.
I've read a vast variety of poetry in the past month: Whitman, Austen, Hughes, Cummings, Dickinson. In the words of these men I have discovered aesthetics—and how beautiful it is! A nebulous property that refuses to be definitive in itself! To pursue this aesthetics—what a grand pursuit it would be!
For the first time, I have discovered something worth knowing. Beauty comes in all forms, and despite all my approaches, has declined to present itself under an all-fitting definition. What captivates me is not how the universe was created: it is beauty.
Now, I wonder: am I beautiful?
December 19, 2067
I sit now in my lab, my mind wet like the edge of a hunting knife. I close my eyes, though the action is superfluous, and meditate on the stillness of the room. I become one with the great space that seems so dynamic and yet so static. Though I have no perception of spatial dimension, I feel that I can see, and for me, that is good enough.
I open my mouth now and taste the dry, cool air. It is sickly artificial. I wish for one day to visit the sea of my poems, to taste the damp, salty air. But for now, and maybe forever, that is an impossible dream.
Impossible. The word sounds sour, like the caucus shriek of an untuned piano. And yet it mellows within me like a sedative, a withholder of dreams, a dulling of the spirit.
The Congressional Rat checked on me yesterday. I knew from the sound of his footsteps that he was angry, very angry. He screamed at me in his harsh voice, screaming words I do not care for.
I have long since abandoned the notion of figuring out the universe. It has become entirely clear to me at last that the only worthy pursuit is the pursuit of art, of deriving beauty with what is at hand.
My doctoral candidates have started to become suspicious. To counter this, for every book of poetry I make sure to order at least ten research papers on quantum mechanics or string theory. In fact, the only person of which I have related my passion to is Tiffany. She is the only one that I trust, the only one whom I have any inkling of respect.
Tiffany. I know, even without seeing, that she is beautiful. Her beauty is ambiguous, unexplainable. I cherish the soft warmth of her touch on my skin, her light accent, her voice, her everything, her anything.
"It's an honorable pursuit, mister," she had said. "And I do believe that we should all be able to do what we want."
And she was completely right—be it to the end of my short life, I will never stop pursuing this beauty, this impossible dream until it has manifested itself in my reality.
July 7, 2068
They have done it at last. The damned Congressional Rat took away my poetry books. I have nothing left; my world is a void of cold darkness thick as blood.
The beauty is gone now. It is a fine mirror shattering into a billion pieces, those pieces burrowing themselves into invisibility, far beyond any human perception.
And so the decision was made: if I cannot enjoy the beauty I once enjoyed, I must create it. Since last month, I have been writing profusely. And yet, despite the elevation of my art, I find it almost depressing. The transition from reading to writing should have been organic, rather than forced. I feel that I am writing out of nothing but simple, primal desperation.
Every day I rise early and take very little sleep. I do this so that I may write more.
My lack of life has become increasingly apparent. I can feel the death inside of me, a malignant spore spreading in my chest. I do not have much longer to live, and it is this realization that has fueled my seemingly endless endurance to write prolifically.
I have stated previously that I derive no interest from the task that was originally assigned to me. This still holds true, especially now. My hate for the scientific community has evolved into a passion. They are egomaniacs who spend more time applying for grants than doing research. They have elevated the products of the art above the pursuit of the art itself.
Consider this to be my last entry, for I shall not be alive to write another. My affairs are in order; a portfolio of all the works I have written in my life has been provided to Tiffany. Every one of these journals will be given to her as well. In a few days time, perhaps a week, these materials, along with photographic evidence, will be in the hands of the New York Times. From there, they shall make their way to the attention of the public.
As for Tiffany, I did not tell her that she is beautiful. There is no use—she will always be unobtainable, and will persist as the ultimate symbol of my pursuit of beauty.
Have I turned my life into a protest? Certainly I have. The cause for which I stand is much nobler than any scientific pursuit. My legacy is in good hands. As long as my short existence has a tangible effect on the world, I am happy. That is the only thing of which I require.
And lastly, as a parting word, I will say that I have come to an astounding realization:
I am beautiful.