Publish Novellas 13 September 2023
EPISODE 1 – TERRESTRIAL
A clinical researcher develops an interest in memory preservation to enhance wisdom. This leads him on a scientific and spiritual journey.
The quest for eternal wisdom transcends scientific and spiritual boundaries in this sci-fi short story that reprises roles of Rodney and Olivia from “The Day You Turned.”
Seeds of Wisdom
Wisdom is the astute application of knowledge, often acquired through personal experiences. Maturity breeds wisdom—whether through the school of hard knocks or from testing sound principles. Such thoughts ruminate through the mind of Kent Wagner while placing flowers on his mother’s grave site. He regularly visits both on the anniversary of her death and his own birth, as a symbolism for new life.
During one such visit, he notices a tombstone of a man sharing his own name. This Wagner—now just calcium phosphate remnants—lived more than a hundred years ago. After clearing away debris, Kent separates a few flowers for his mother and places them on the grave site of his namesake.
Curious about his finding, Kent tries to lookup the life of the late Kent Wagner. The mystery man’s vault of valuable experiences appear to have evaporated with his final exhalation.
This spurs a profound thought. “Each mature life is a vast repository of wisdom. There must be a way to harvest it.”
As a scientist at Genetibirth, Kent advances regeneration technologies to extend life through rebirth. Participants forfeit current wisdom in order to begin anew with superior education. Preteens Rodney and Olivia are two subjects demonstrating great progress.
Kent posits that a method of recording data between the synapses within the brain should be possible. His initial research reveals the challenge. The estimated 1 billion synapses are 1 billion times smaller than the smallest detectable object by standard clinical MRI. This leads Kent to the work of pioneering Spanish neuroscientist, Santiago Ramón y Cajal in 1894.
With his colleagues, Cajal researched how to map synapses during memory formation. This is a significant development for nascent memories. But it does not address historical life experiences. For the next two years, Kent immerses himself in available research.
Experiments ensue as he begins applying his own wisdom. Having memories is rudimentary. Being able to effectively utilize them requires higher neuroscience. At first, the only consistency is discouragement.
After another two years he realizes that Genetibirth stores the entire life of participants within DNA strands. CRISPR remains the most viable method of modifying DNA within living organisms. By dissecting and sorting memories, identifying specific sets of synapses is feasible.
The obvious candidates for experimentation are those who are already within a clinical trial—Rodney and Olivia. A complete memory download of prior life could be catastrophic. Kent theorizes the possibility of symptoms similar to schizophrenia. However, selective memory implantation is easier to monitor.
Performing tests on zebrafish and later on rodents and chimpanzees, Kent is able to document efficacy. Primates unfamiliar to one another can act in a manner of those who grew up with one another.
In the vast emotional category of Rodney’s memory repository, Kent discovers an attraction to Olivia. Injecting this RNA into the pubescent Rodney is a specific enough experiment to monitor. The goal is to see if the regenerated Rodney manifests his prior attraction to Olivia.
As with the primates, results are positive. Rodney soon demonstrates the awkward goo-goo eyes when coming in contact with Olivia. But, at the same age, she shares no interest in him. After injecting her memories, the two bond. This first instance of genetically modified attraction becomes popular in peer reviewed scholarly publications.
For a more demonstrative clinical study, Kent notices that the younger regenerated Rodney is a meat eater. But his original older self was vegetarian. Kent successfully implants these memories into both Rodney and Olivia for greater compatibility.
These positive results spur research into additional selective memory collection, storage, and reuse. Having the capability to implant specific knowledge has endless applications. For example, Rodney’s accumulation of work experience could imbue his regenerated self with wisdom that is decades beyond his peers.