A place for a


Short story: Altropia

May 9th, 2124 – The United Science Foundation of Altropia celebrates a critical breakthrough in space-time research.

June 15th, 2130 – The United Science Foundation of Altropia develops the first functioning prototype of the time machine.

January 1st, 2135 – The government of Altropia decides to travel back in time and bring a citizen from the 20th century back into the future, to grant him the great privilege of witnessing the society of Altropia – the first successful society consequently based on the altruistic principle.

February 2nd, 2135 – Jack Sober wakes up in a luxurious apartment in the Redwood District of Altropia’s capital, Veritruismo, after falling into a drunken delirium in the gutter of 1950’s New York City, U.S.A.. Jack thinks he must be the happiest bum on earth to have such a marvelous dream.

March 2nd, 2135 – Jack has been in Altropia for one month. Now follows the description of his day in the past tense.

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Narcissism, altruism, guilt, entitlement

You can call a classical narcissist arrogant, but nothing beats the arrogance of a nice guy aka helper. In fact, I wonder if the two are not intrinsically entwined. Surely I would be less puzzled if I took the time to study the literature, but here I am and do not give a damn if I am psychologically correct.

The following excerpt from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey illustrates my point:

Dorian Gray shook his head. ‘No, Harry, I’ve done too many terrible things in my life, and I’m going to change. I began my good life yesterday, in the country. […] There was a girl in a village. A very beautiful girl, an honest country girl. She loved me, and was ready to come away with me yesterday, but I said no. I refused to destroy her young life, and I’ve left her as honest as I found her.’

Lord Henry laughed. ‘You’ve left her with a broken heart, you mean. How can she be happy now with a country boy, after she has known you?’

The element that unites both is an idiotic vanity.

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