I almost can’t believe I’m here.
Even when most people thought that our experiment would never work, the fact that I’m here in this room proves them wrong. I knew I was right! After all, there’s no essential difference in replicating an apple from a human being.
And I don’t care what those closed-minded reactionaries think of my work. Science can’t be limited by their stupid view of things. Always with the same “we shouldn’t play to be God” argument. Well, I’m not playing, I’m dead serious. If their so-called God put me here and gave me the opportunity to conduct this wonderful experiment, why the hell shouldn’t I?
Now, why me? I admit it’s a little selfish, but I didn’t go through all those years of hard study to allow another person to be the first. I really had to experience this. The consequences will be of tremendous importance for all humanity. Either we forge our own destiny or we are simply playing along in a predefined game. Either we can choose or our choices have been made for us. Either free will exists or it is simply a fairy tale to make us feel less insignificant.
Anyway, what’s done is done. In spite of all the opposition, here I am, the first fully replicated human being.
The fact that I’m here means that behind that door, another Melian is sitting in a room that looks exactly like this one. Well, not only that looks exactly like this one, but that, in fact, is exactly like this one. These are not ordinary rooms. Several years of the project were dedicated to developing the technology that would allow us to have the same perceivable reality in two different places. These rooms not only look alike, they were designed to share the same temperature, the same sounds, the same odors, the same atmospheric pressure, they were even designed for us to feel the same gravity force. In simple words, everything that we can feel or measure is exactly the same.
There’s something that makes me uneasy though. Curiosity is killing me! I wonder what she’s like…
I know she looks exactly like me, she wouldn’t be too much of an exact molecular replica if she didn’t after all. It’s not her looks that interest me, I wonder what she is doing.
In theory we share much more than just our physical appearance. We share the same feelings, the same brain with the same memories. But would we share the same future if we were to continue in this artificial environment? Would we make the same choices? Isn’t there something else hiding somewhere that makes us essentially different? God, I wonder if she’s thinking precisely what I’m thinking right now. I wonder if she’s out there in her own room writing these exact same words…
I guess I’ll just have to be patient. Sooner or later it’ll be over. We are being carefully watched, every single movement, every gesture, every sound. As soon as we stop behaving exactly the same or the moment the two of us simultaneously give up, that little light above the door will be turned on and the experiment will be over.
I have no intention of giving up though, this is too huge. If she and I are capable of behaving differently, even when perceiving the same reality, we’ll have proof that the human being is not a deterministic machine. We’ll have proof that there’s no way of predicting our choices; that they are completely ours to make. Even if we knew the state of the whole universe, it’d still be impossible to know exactly what we are going to do next, how we will live our lives, and how it will all end.
I truly believe that even though my copy and I are physically the same, we are different because of our choices, because of our free will.
Now that I come to think about it. My copy? I immediately assumed I was the original, but what if I’m not? What if all my memories are hers? What if all I believe happened to me really happened to her? What if I have no past? My children, my husband, my life would be… hers.
No! I have to put myself together!
I won’t let these thoughts trouble me. This anxiety is just a little price for the knowledge we’re about to acquire. I was fully aware of the potential psychological consequences of the experiment. Since the beginning I was willing to sacrifice my past to solve the mystery of free will.
It has to exist, it just has to.
Moments after the experiment ended, the door between the two rooms opened and the two Melians met for the first time.
Both women kept staring at each other in amazement. They were really there. Surely there was much to talk about, but in that first mutual discovery and understanding of each other, words weren’t necessary or even useful. It was a surreal scene, it seemed as though the door had been replaced by some kind of mirror.
After a while the silence was suddenly broken. ‘How do you feel girls?’ – said one of Melian’s colleagues from the control panel letting his voice be heard in both rooms – ‘Are you ready to go?’
‘Yes’ – they both answered at the same time without helping a smile.
‘Are you girls hungry?’
Both Melians again said something simultaneously, but this time they seemed to have said something incoherent.
‘I didn’t catch that’ – said the man in the control panel while turning off the light in one of the rooms. ‘OK, the Melian whose light has just been turned off, what’d you say?’
‘You know me, I said I’d love some pizza.’
‘Right, the other one?’
‘I said I don’t feel like eating.’
P.S. If you think the story should have ended the other way, feel free to express it, that’s your own choice ;).