Commentary: The Fine Arts & Technology:


The Modification- A Prophecy Fiction

By Ted Seth Jacobs, Painter

Les Cerqueux sous Passavant, France


Given related bits of information gleaned largely from my varied readings I can imagine a possible scenario that does not seem too improbable, notwithstanding that the end result may be quite unexpected.


The information seems to point toward the conclusion that our world is at a critical point in its life, a tipping point. Technology has an evolutionary life of its own. Once it moves along a given track there seems to be no stopping it. As an artist, a painter, I found that each time I felt that I understood a new principle, I was able to see more deeply into my subject. It is as if one is ascending a ladder, and each higher rung allows one to see farther into the distance. So it is with the evolution of technology. It seems like an endless progression.  Every development has the potential to open the way for further progress, new developments.


Unfortunately, this upward evolutionary spiral also applies to destructive technologies. Apparently weapons of incredible power are now operational.  Nuclear bombs have been superceded by Magneto Hydrodyne torpedoes and airplanes moving at tremendous speeds and altitudes, unstoppable. Anti-Matter weapons  can devastate the planet. There is even mention of planet-busting plasma weaponry. I have read a detailed description of the weaponising of outer space. Every eventuality has been foreseen, with appropriate countermeasures. It is MAD gone insane. Or if you will excuse the pun, ballistic. These new toys are now in the hands of human beings.


If an ordinary person like myself can have knowledge of these ultra-destructive weapons, it is reasonable to assume that others much better informed, vastly more influential and powerful,  possess a deeper and more comprehensive knowledge.


Much of history from the earliest to the present is the recounting of the massive destruction of human life and property. Whole peoples slaughtered, cities razed. In fact, I have the impression that as the centuries pass there is an ongoing inflationary progression in the numbers of humans destroyed by other humans. Was it Tamerlane who built a pyramid of the thirty-thousand skulls of a conquered city’s inhabitants? Deaths in the Napoleonic wars were numbered in the hundred thousands. By World War Two and after we had achieved the impressive scale of tens of millions. It is evident that the human race has not learned to control its aggressive impulses. It is in fact surprising that as our technology develops at exponential rates our nature remains at the level of  earliest humans. Unchanged. Uncontrolled. Brutal.


A very cogent case can be made for we humans being at the mercy of our emotions. It is as if we are all puppets, marionettes, agitated on the strings of our uncontrolled emotional impulses. In fact, in the last analysis, all our thoughts, beliefs, decisions and actions find their deep initial motivations in our emotional centers. Here we are then with cosmic scale weaponry and our unchanged aggressive impulses. The situation could be compared with a three-year-old child playing with c-4 explosive. I cannot imagine that the above-mentioned influential and powerful people-let us call them The Group-remain unaware of what has transpired. We unstable humans now have the capability to pretty much blow up the planet with a single shot. This is our critical moment.


It is reasonable to assume that since the Group wields so much influence and is aware of today’s devastating possibilities, that it will wish to use its powers to prevent a complete catastrophe. They would meet and surely need to ask, ‘What can we do? How can we prevent the end of civilization?’ One solution could be to destroy the weaponry, but that would only set the clock of aggression back to the use of stone hatchets. The fundamental problem remains in human nature. More specifically, in the functions of that nature that can be characterized as our negative emotions: hate, aggression, jealousy, intolerance, can make your own list. Once the problem has been identified and isolated a logical solution presents itself; Get rid of these negative emotions. The Chair closes the meeting with the suggestion that the Group reconvene in a week with proposals for implementation of solutions to The Problem.


At the following meeting a consensus had been reached on one fundamental point. For any solution to be viable it must be absolutely universal. As it was put, ‘You can’t have a world of sheep with one loose wolf.’ It was then proposed that research be intensified toward the localization in the brain of these negative emotions. With the current advances in neurology it was agreed that the locales in the human brain fore each negative emotion (NE) would be established quickly.


If the world was to be prevented from self destruction, the inescapable conclusion was that these NE centers would have to be excised or neutralized. In short, every human being on the planet would have to be submitted to the treatment, The Modification. Probing questions were raised. First, how could the program be implemented without causing a general uprising, a revolution? Could people be persuaded  or tricked into accepting The Modification willingly, peacefully? How could the idea be marketed? With NEs gone, would people still be ambitious? Competitive? How will it affect their sexuality? And the economy? What principal objections can be foreseen? Will it impact on religious belief?


One member believed that people would perceive the program as too intrusive. They won’t like or accept anyone so drastically meddling with their very existence. They will say they would be robotized. Essential elements of their very humanity would be removed. The most likely scenario would indeed be a massive worldwide uprising, a planetary revolution. The conclusion of The Group was a unanimous agreement. The danger of a chaotic resistance was unavoidable. 


‘Well’ the chairman decided, ‘then we will have to disguise our intentions. The best way to do that is to make people believe we are doing something entirely different, and for their benefit. We will need to invent a dire threat to the human race. Create a major panic. Something like, say, the worst epidemic in history. It will burn you up from the inside. A horrible, excruciatingly painful, unbearable death. You’ll need to scare the bejesus out of them. Then presto! We’ve found the cure-all vaccine! Create a fictitious threat and then achieve our aims by containing it. Hell, it’s always worked so far. You only have to convince people we are doing something good for them and you can get away with absolutely anything.’


One of the heaviest of the hitters spoke up. “if this scourge is completely fictitious, how will we make the people believe it’s real?’


The chairman replied, ‘For the greater good and all that. A significant mass of people will have to be put down, and their demise ascribed to the disease. It’s the only way I can envision to present a credible case.’


Heavy Hitter again, ‘Let’s talk logistics. If you are going to-as you say-put down-a large a mass of people, that will require a large number of putters-downers. Preventing even a single leak is imperative. Can you imagine the reactions? How’re you going to contain the knowledge?’


Chairman, ‘There are many tried and true methods. My first choice would be disinformation. OK, you’ve got your whistle-blower. First you discredit him or her. Drag up a history of mental illness. Or a disgruntled government employee, not promoted to the deserved level. Remember, the vaccination will be compulsory. If a guy’s too vociferous, before he gets any traction succumb him to the disease. You see, he died from what he was saying didn’t exist. The best way of all is to be sure the doctors administering a lethal injection think they are shooting the dissident up with the vaccine, that the  threat is real, that they are doing a service to humanity.’


HH again, ‘I come back to these significant numbers. How many are we talking about?’ Chairman ruminates, or pretends to, ‘ Off the top, ballpark, I would guess in orders of tens of millions.  You’ve got to keep in mind, this requires all-out terror type of fear. We’re saving humanity here. You want to think big.’


‘To return to the pertinent questions you all have raised,’ intoned the Chairman, ‘Let’s look at some answers one by one. Marketing. This is the easy one. Between us we control the medias. The whole ball of wax is in our hands. As the putative sickies start dying in numbers, we spread the word that the science boffins have  discovered a hideous contagion. After the numbers of deaths has reached a convincing scale we announce that our round-the-clock efforts have successfully found the vaccine cure-all. The process is the same if you’re selling a car or a war.’


He continued, ‘Two. Will people still be ambitious? I personally don’t see why not. However, the goals of ambition will change when there are no NEs driving them. The motivations will be modified. No one will be ambitious to beat out the other guy, get ahead of him, get there first, have more status, get even, make more money, stuff like that. What we could call Positive Ambitions will become operative. To create, express, improve life, learn and understand.’


‘Competition will have to go. The competitive mind will have to be replaced. With the scalar weaponry we now have-not to mention what we will develop-competition equals suicide. After all guys, reduced to its logical extreme, in the end competition will leave only one guy standing. Not my kind of winner. Without the NEs competition will be replaced by cooperation.’


‘Then there’s the sex thing .All we’ll lose is any form of sexual aggression. Dominance, control, sado-masochism, psychological perversion of the impulse. Sexuality could become more a desire for total fusion. I don’t see many people objecting on sexual grounds.’


‘The big question. The economy.  Well, obviously we’ll all take a major hit on the production and sale of weapons. But don’t get your pants in a twist. We will beat our plowshares into space ships. All of us know better than anyone that there is incalculable-I’m talking E-nor-mous wealth out there. As well as the solution to most of Planet Earth’s problems. Whether resources, energy, food production, population, whatever. We all know about the government’s conference in 1975 on the possible future uses of outer space. 1975 for chrissake. The experts told us we could mine the moon, the asteroid belt. It would be another California gold rush. Capture an asteroid made of pure yttrium. Instant trillionaire. Ten-mile long farm capsules oriented for twenty four hour sunlight, with all conditions inside optimized. Temperature, humidity, and no bugs. Terraforming planets, converting their inhospitable atmospheres to breathable. Populating planets and artificial habitations. We’re talking here about outsourcing many millions of people. Capturing the total energy output of a sun. Well, you get the idea. As you know, the experts all agreed these Buck Rogers proposals were technologically doable at the time-in 1975. So no need to worry about the economy. Or your profit margins.’


I can’t foresee any problems with the religious. They’ve all been telling us to be kissylovey, but it looks to me as if the world has gotten worse. The religions didn’t do their jobs. Hate-your-neighbor seems to have prevailed. Who knows, maybe when the NEs are gone religions will take the credit. So much the better, it will deflect suspicion. How about this? We set up a fake Messiah and tell everyone he made the change in our attitudes.’


‘As soon as the science guys have found how to burn the NEs out of our brains we can start the presumably unstoppable ‘’epidemic.’’ I vote for something that can be injected. If it’s a pill people can throw it in the toilet. We need to be careful about the ‘’Big Disposal.’’ We don’t want to knock off a big mass of people right away. Better to ease into it. A slow buildup. No six second acceleration. Better to build the fear up gradually, to a crescendo. Start small and there will be an initial ho-hum reaction. As long as it’s not happening to me kind of thing. We have to slowly produce the perception that it’s going to happen to everyone. And then presto! We’ve found the vaccine.’


‘At first they may notice that they feel different, not so edgy. But they will put that down to relief that they are safe from the scourge. After, what’s the difference? If we get the dosage right the effects should be irreversible. We’ve saved the world.’


‘Okay guys, each of us has immense and total control over one sector of society. As soon as the NE blocker comes on line be ready to launch.’




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