Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Microstory 1662: Aggression Towards the Mean

Things seemed hopeless in the universe with the two counterpart realities. It might have been okay in the prime reality if they had never learned of their alternate selves, but the realization made it too complicated, and ultimately ruined everything. There was no way to fix the problem. Every alternate was the opposite of their primary self; an evil twin, if you will—or the good twin, accordingly. They could not be changed unless the primary version was changed, but no matter what, they could not both be good people. One scientist wasn’t satisfied with this. He wanted to figure out how to rehabilitate a secondary individual without changing anything about the primary, and he chose to try this by experimenting on himself. He built a machine that would allow travel between the two opposing realities. He didn’t want to do anything with this machine except facilitate the progression towards this goal, and he didn’t want anyone else getting their hands on the technology. He knew that his creation could have consequences. He needed time to save his alternate self, but if that turned out to be impossible, it left at least one person who could reveal the secret to the world. What would he do then? How would he protect it? This scientist was an above average person, who tried to make the right choices, but was also full of character flaws. He didn’t always recycle, even if it wasn’t any more difficult than just throwing it in the trash. He voted for who he thought was the best candidate for a government position, but he wasn’t always right about that, and he didn’t get around to the polling location every single time. So his counterpart wasn’t evil. In fact, many would probably have a bit of a difficult time telling the two of them apart. This was probably for the best. Transforming a rapist into a selfless volunteer hero was a tall order, and maybe better left to a later stage of this endeavor.

He did his best to quantify their differences at first, but then just kind of began to improvise. They went to therapy together, and they studied the great leaders of history. They practiced mindfulness, and tried to help people when opportunity arose. Things were going okay. They were both improving a little, and there didn’t seem to be many issues. But that wasn’t enough. The true test came when the scientists sent his counterpart back to his home reality, and observed the results. They were a failure. The secondary really did do everything he could to hold onto the lessons he had learned, but it was impossible. His brain chemistry rewired itself, and within the day, he was worse than he ever was before. He started walking up to strangers, and kicking them in the shins. He poured laxatives into his friends’ drinks, and slashed his boss’ tires. The primary version was horrified. Knowing his alternate was his opposite was one thing, but actually being able to see it firsthand was just too much for him to stomach. So he went after him. He tried to kill his evil alternate, which was ironic, because murder is pretty bad, so it automatically turned his twin into the good one. But if he was good, then he didn’t need to be eliminated, so the primary tried to become good again. But then the counterpart started becoming bad again. It just wouldn’t stop. Every attempt to change things failed. Only one of them could be good at any one time. Seeing no way out, the primary committed suicide, and hoped this terrible act would permanently turn his alternate self into a good person, but this too failed, because what the survivors learned was that when one of them dies, so too does the other. It was all still so hopeless.

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