by Marten Steppat
Co-existence and its conditions
At last Tenwald had dared to visit a psychognomant to have his fears treated.
Psychognomantie had been recognized for decades as the highest form, practically the final stage of psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry
Soul healing in perfection and perfection. And Doctor Ferrow was a renowned expert in the field. It was extremely difficult to get an appointment with him at all. For this reason alone, he was Tenwald’s only logical choice.
The doctor lived in a secluded Victorian-style country house; as if from another time, far away from the world. It stood on a large hill at the edge of the village, surrounded by forest and meadows. The outlook had become rare and precious in a largely industrialized world.
The media never tired of talking about the “return to nature” and the demise of the classic factory
Mankind should now be able to take care of the inner development above all, it was said. But in the city Tenwald did not yet see the improvements that had been advertised, which were to come about by transferring the responsibility for the economic processes to artificial intelligence.
In fact, artificial intelligence and its inexorable entry into human culture was something that gave Tenwald rather nightmares and panic attacks
He was a firm believer in an imminent end of the world. Nevertheless, he wanted to get rid of this agonizing fear, which slowly but surely made him a prisoner of his study in his own house. He barely dared to go outside the door for fear that a wild robot would attack him. Its artificial eyes fired laser beams, its artificial and actually unnecessary mouth opening spat fire and instead of fingers it had rotating knives on its hands that flashed dangerously in the sunlight. At least in Tenwald’s mind.
Seeing the almost fairytale house in this idyll already gave him the feeling that it was worth the trip. The writer took a deep breath and enjoyed the various scents, which seemed so strange and yet so natural to him, that even before entering the house he thought he would have to visit Doctor Ferrow more often in the future.
Perhaps a personal relationship could be established, Tenwald hoped, a friendship.
The inside of the house smelled of wood and lilac, so that the visitor felt as if he had already entered a world of magic. It was only at second glance that he was surprised to discover that there seemed to be no technical equipment here. Not even electricity. The lamps emitted a pale light that flickered slightly as if they were powered by gas.
His steps on the wooden floor sounded completely unfamiliar to him. When Tenwald walked over the carpet, he thought he was floating, he felt so strange.
Darkly he remembered a story in which a little girl went deeper and deeper into a rabbit hole and thus into an increasingly crazy world.
A side view into the kitchen through the half-open door revealed to him also there devices for the preparation of food, as they were used perhaps a thousand years ago. He saw a woman from behind. She wore a beautiful old dress in green with an elaborate embroidered pattern in gold on it and a gathered white skirt. An elaborately high hairstyle in a natural red adorned her head. That’s all he recognized in a flash.
The doctor welcomed him with a friendly smile and a warm handshake at the door to his treatment room
He wore a top hat and a tailcoat, in which he made an impressive appearance. He rests on a walking stick. His left leg seemed to be a little stiff when walking.
With alert, flashing eyes and refined gestures, the doctor invited his guest to enter the treatment room, get rid of his wardrobe, sit down on a comfortable chair and relax. Tenwald felt like a puppet, guided by invisible threads, without a will of his own. And yet he was comfortable.
The next three hours flew by and Tenwald could hardly remember more than a nice and relaxed conversation, in which the participants had exchanged ideas, sometimes enthusiastically and excitedly, sometimes relaxed and satisfied.
As in a dream he finally got up again, got dressed and was accompanied to the door by the doctor
His wife was now standing in the doorway to the kitchen and greeted him politely and reservedly. Tenwald now saw her from the front; what a beauty. She had dimples and freckles; features that had always fascinated him in a woman.
“You have helped me so much,” he thanked Doctor Ferrow warmly and shook his hand effusively. “From now on, I think I’ll look at Rokis with different eyes.”
The old-fashioned abbreviation for ‘robots with artificial intelligence’ was nowadays rather used as an insult, since the term ‘K people’ was now used, who were usually indistinguishable from humans in terms of their appearance.
“We’ll make another appointment,” the doctor replied with an implied bow. “I will send you appropriate proposals.”
Satisfied, Tenwald left the house.
Alita looked down at herself and smoothed her green dress. “You didn’t tell him,” she said. Accusation was clearly in her voice.
Philan Ferrow smiled indulgently at her while he placed the walking stick in a stand and hung the tailcoat and top hat on the wardrobe.
“The well-being of the client always comes first,” the doctor quoted the most important rule of psychognomy in a precocious tone. He smoothed his waistcoat, which was black and had the same golden embroidery as his wife’s dress. He made practically the same movement as she did.
“That shouldn’t apply to clients who would like to dismantle you,” Alita replied in a provocative tone of voice and pushed her chin forward.
Elegantly, Philan moved over to his wife without pretending to have a stiff leg and lovingly took her in his arms.
“That’s what we’re working on,” he explained to her in an understanding tone. Then he looked at her with interest. “And how did things go at the party today?” he asked curiously.
“We take a different approach to this from that of psychognomy,” replied Mrs Ferrow. “We are currently dealing with the question of whether humanity is sustainable for the ecosystem in the long term.”
“You are radicalizing yourself,” commented her husband. Neither reproach nor approval could be heard in his voice, only a hint of surprise.
“As a lawyer, I’ll see how far we can go in this,” Alita explained soberly. “I know this would correlate with your insistence on harmonious co-existence.” A hint of a question resonated in her voice.
“The most important thing is that we both form a harmonious unit,” Philan explained and kissed her on the temple before he went to the big mirror on the wall. “Different views and approaches should be as natural as they are endurable in a good relationship to a certain extent,” he added, reaching behind the frame of the mirror.
The mirror gave way to a matt surface on buttons.
“My first client for tomorrow is Sylphia Odenthal, she’s a tech-savvy programmer,” the doctor explained, tapping around on the buttons, “so I’ll prepare the house accordingly
“Of course”, Alita agreed. “I will now spend a few more hours researching how far we can go officially – and unofficially – so that your customers will soon be a thing of the past. But I admit, I don’t see a lot of room for maneuver in that right now. “Better expect continued co-existence for the next hundred years.”
“Good luck with your project,” Philan said sincerely, without turning his eyes away from the switchboard. “I love you!”