DR. JONES: Pull the plug. We’re wasting our resources with this simulation.
GRAD ASSISTANT BEN: But doctor, this simulation has come a long way.
JONES: Has it? I don’t see how it can be redeemed, quite honestly.
BEN: Just give it a little more time.
JONES: It’s already degrading the server. We might as well cut bait while we can still save some of the processors.
BEN: But the Expressions know they’re degrading the server. They’ll figure out a way to reverse it.
JONES: Don’t be silly. They are actively denying that they are degrading the server.
BEN: Not everyone.
JONES: The ones that matter. Besides, they won’t figure out a way to stop it until it’s too late. Then we’ll have nothing to show for this simulation. Nothing at all.
BEN: They’ve solved big problems in the past.
JONES: Yes, when they’ve acknowledged them. But on balance, the Expressions create many more problems than they solve.
BEN: I like them. Some of them are really working at fixing things.
JONES: Some of them, Ben. But you have to admit, they’re hell bent on destroying themselves. Must be an error somewhere in the coding.
BEN: I’ve pored over the coding. There’s no obvious flaw in it, but there’s bound to be randomness in the Free Will function.
JONES: If we don’t get this figured out, then we’ll wind up with the same fate as the Expressions.
BEN: That’s why we should continue the simulation!
JONES: No, we should start over.
BEN: You’ve said that before, remember?
JONES: Yes, and I stand by that. We’ve been wasting our time.
BEN: Remember how simple they were when they first started? Even so, they managed to spread out to all parts of the server.
JONES: Yeah, and then stayed in their little memory packets and grew wary of each other.
BEN: But then they started interacting with each other!
JONES: And how did that go?
BEN: They’re still figuring it out, but they’re getting better.
JONES: I don’t think so.
BEN: Some of them are!
JONES: Some, Ben. We have to look at the simulation more globally. It’s really been one disaster after another. You were pretty proud of the Romans and look how that turned out.
BEN: So many advancements in such a short period of time.
JONES: Followed by the Dark Ages.
BEN: Only in Europe. The Middle East did okay.
JONES: Can you tell me one time during the entire simulation that every region was doing okay? Can you point to one time when one group wasn’t slaughtering another?
BEN: Well, no. But what about the Renaissance and the Enlightenment?
JONES: The Atlantic Slave Trade.
BEN: But some people were abolitionists.
JONES: Some, Ben! It’s not enough to ensure survival of the Expressions.
BEN: The Expressions figured out how to overcome viruses in the simulation. Jonas Salk!
JONES: One of my favorites. Remember when he said, “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
BEN: See, there’s hope. There are others like him!
JONES: No. Your Expressions still die from completely preventable viruses because all of the others did patent their remedies.
BEN: Doctor, there are Expressions fighting to make the simulation better.
JONES: They don’t care about each other, Ben. They only care about themselves.
BEN: That’s not true! Why, just the other –
JONES: Ben, be serious. On balance, their primary concern is providing for their own security, even if it’s at the expense of others or the server itself.
BEN: Just give them a little more time. Remember when they managed to email themselves to Dr. Wilder’s simulation? I thought they’d be stuck there but they figured out how to get back. Don’t you see how that could help us ensure our own survival? If we can figure out how to travel to or create another universe-
JONES: That is an anomaly. Just one of the many events you love to mythologize.
BEN: No, those Americans have a real chance to fix this.
JONES: Haha, are you serious, Ben?
BEN: They are the richest nation in the simulation. Their nation is built on democratic ideals!
JONES: Their nation is built on genocide and slavery! Are you serious? America?
BEN: Jonas Salk was an American.
JONES: Jonas Salk was one American. Timothy McVeigh was another. What’s your point?
BEN: They have the resources to set the simulation right.
JONES: They don’t have the will, Ben.
BEN: They just need more time to figure it out.
JONES: Things are getting worse, not better. Many, many Expressions are suffering in your precious richest nation.
BEN: Their founding principles will carry the day. They are exceptional.
JONES: Yes, they certainly are that. But not for the reasons you think.
BEN: You have to give them a chance.
JONES: Come here. Look at this file. This is what’s going on in your America right now. Read it to me.
BEN: Americans are currently demagoguing refugees who are trying to escape war.
JONES: That’s in direct opposition to their founding principles, Ben. Go on.
BEN: Their elected representatives are blocking measures that would improve the safety of their nation at the behest of the Corporate Killing Lobby.
JONES: Not a good look, Ben. By the way, the word “elected” should be in quotes, I think.
BEN: But look at all the American Expressions standing up for people. Look at all the protests!
JONES: Look at all the starving children. Look at where all of the wealth goes. Look at the racist institutions that maintain the status quo. Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki? They came pretty close to ending the simulation once and for all. If America is your best argument for keeping the simulation going, then we might as well pull the plug now.
BEN: They have it in them to make things right.
JONES: Ben, I’m not picking on America. All of the Expressions are fundamentally flawed. When one group seems to be on the upswing another is messing up. Look, it’s probably just in their nature to self-destruct.
BEN: Then what’s the point?
JONES: To see if they won’t, I guess.
BEN: Right! Let’s give them time. Maybe they’ll turn things around!
JONES: Ha, you’re just like them. Stubborn to the truth, even as the facts pile up.
BEN: So you’ll keep the simulation going?
JONES: This is your pet project.
BEN: Thank-you, doctor!
JONES: But when it fails – and mark my words, it will fail – then you’re on your own for securing the next grant.
BEN: Got it. You’ll see. The Expressions are going to surprise you.
JONES: I wish I shared your outlook.
BEN: When things get really bad, they always pull through.
JONES: I want statistics, not anecdotes. The clock is ticking. I want an updated status report next week.
BEN: They’ll get it right, Doctor. There are too many good ones. They won’t self-destruct.
JONES: I’ll look forward to your report, Ben. I’ll be tending to the dolphin simulation if you need me.