The paradoxical nature o.., p.1
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       The Paradoxical Nature of Knowledge, p.1
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           Ashley Douglass
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The Paradoxical Nature of Knowledge
The Paradoxical Nature of Knowledge

  By Ashley Douglass

  Copyright © 2013 by Ashley Douglass

  A Few Words about Me

  I am a young woman on the very brink of adulthood. Just a short while ago I was in high school, wondering what I wanted to do with my life, fearing that I may not be good at anything in particular. Troubled by uncertainty yet inspired by the numerous possibilities that surely awaited me, I turned to writing. I sat on my bed, with my old laptop propped on one of my textbooks, in the dead of night. My mind whirled with fantastic ideas just waiting to be fully realized. I found a love of creating hypothetical realities centered around my hope of one day living a life which would offer me a good deal of autonomy and self-satisfaction.

  Often finding myself confused and alone in my publishing efforts, I would eagerly seek out others for advice but my issues often seemed like fabricated problems, simply being an extension of a hobby that only I seemed to see any practical value in. Tired of my hopes being met with indifference, I usually keep many of my ideas to myself, though in doing so I have become somewhat isolated. Rarely do my ideas cross with others’, rarely do I feel the need to express myself on topics that demand very little of my interest. A meaningful connection is very rare indeed yet through my efforts to share my books my true ideas are slowly revealed and I regain my voice.

  Table of Contents

  Part 1: White Collar Larcenists

  Part 2: Conflicting Interests

  Part 3: Her Father’s Dying Wish

  Part 4: Making a Stand

  Part 5: Future Outcomes

  The Value of a Mind

  Science gropes blindly for answers, assuming that the universe will yield its information after a certain amount of probing, assuming that the universe can be mastered like any other physical entity. According to science there will be a point when all is known. A time when everything is demystified, even the human brain, a period when the only remaining mystery will lay within a young girl by the name of Maria Rivera.

  A young girl about seven years of age sat on the floor amongst the many metal pieces of a disassembled toy, which she snapped into place to form odd mechanical structures. Her smallish sunbaked hands clasped a small cog as she reconstructed the engine with just a few additional springs and rubber bands. Her thick frizzy hair that formed tight spirals, fought against the restricting band with every excitable head turn as her golden brown eyes took in her new creation.

  She raised it proudly as the thin plastic sheets, reinforced with bread ties, began to blur into a cloud of motion as her creation rose from her palm. A soft humming could be heard as the mechanical bug ascended into the air. It rose above the mess surrounding her as it neared the ceiling. Its delicate frame was no match for the unyielding ceiling so it came tumbling back down as she scrambled to catch it to prevent further damage.

  “Maria your father will be home soon.” a woman announced as the young girl looked up. The woman had flawless skin which was adored with rich brown hues. Her dark hair draped over her shoulders. Her eyes were much too bright as if enlaced with stunning lights, hinting subtlety at her inhuman nature.

  She was a mockery of Maria’s dead mother, made in her mother’s image to watch over Maria since her father was often busy at work researching brain functions and diseases. She was the latest Robomantic’s model. Her programming was complex, allowing her to perform many autonomous functions but her glassy eyes were still much too cold and her posture was still much too stiff for her to pass for being human.

  Maria’s gastric system produced an auditory sound as she paused suddenly desiring to rise her diminishing blood sugar levels. She knew the process of breaking down complex carbohydrates would be arduous so she desired a quick burst of energy that she readily associated with sucrose.

  “I want a cookie,” Maria announced as the robot slowly shook her head side to side.

  “Your father has instructed me to restrict your consumption of any snacks that may be taxing to your health until he returns.” she answered with a slight metallic tone, ringing within young Maria’s acute ears.

  “That was an order,” Maria stated with her small fists balled at her sides as she glared at the humanoid machine.

  “Your father has forbidden you from overriding my systems and he is monitoring my outgoing signals so it would be unadvisable for you to resist my authority.” the robot pointed out but Maria, after losing her mother to a dreadful illness that targeted her brain and caused her father to retreat into his work abandoning her, did not care about idle threats.

  “You are referring to another source of authority to add to your legitimacy but my father is rarely here so if my disobedience brings him back home then I choose to proceed despite your warning.” Maria stated fearlessly as the robot became rigid with its vacant eyes focused over her head.

  “Now retrieve my cookie!” she demanded as the robot froze at the force of her command before jerkily turning away without further protest. It marched silently into the kitchen then returned with a package of cookies in hand. The robot then gave Maria the cookies then grew unnaturally still.

  “Thank you, automaton,” Maria mumbled spitefully then sat on the rug with the package of cookies on her lap. She gingerly picked up a cookie then chewed it slowly as she began to reminisce about the past, back when her father use to sit by her bedside with a bottle of unmarked pills. She remember that he used to tell her that the pills would make her strong then he would give her a cookie and assure her that everything was going to be alright. She remembered that he used to make her wear an odd hat with electrodes pressed against her scalp before helping her make a fort in the living room and allowing her to camp on the rug but now it seemed that those days had come to an end.

  She picked up a stuffed dog then hugged against her chest in a sense of desperate longing. It hung limply in her arms as she squeezed it plush body. Its soft golden fur was pressed against her skin as its head lolled to one side and its dark collar shifted slightly around its neck.

  She did not remember much about her mother but she did recall the day that she gave her this stuffed animal. Maria asked for a pet so her mother took her to the toy store and bought her a stuffed animal and fashioned it with a leash and a collar. Then her mother told her that this would be her pet until she had proven herself to be responsible enough for a real dog. Maria was young but even then she thought the idea was funny as she dragged the stuffed dog behind her on the sturdy leash. It was an absurdity that caused laughter to bubble up in silent fits, which earned the dog the name Snickers.

  An irritating buzzing began in her head along with the image of her father. She eagerly projected her conscious thoughts outward when a voice drifted into her mind.

  “Honey I am coming home today. I will be there in a few minutes.” said the disembodied voice.

  “Good then I will be awaiting your arrival.” she answered as the mental link began to fade.

  “Then good bye honey.” he whispered before the connection slipped away completely. Maria’s mind cleared, leaving her with her own troubled thoughts when the robotic servant returned.

  “I am now fully rebooted so I will alert your father of your actions.” the robot stated when all the lights flickered before giving away to complete darkness.

  Maria commanded the lights to return with her mind as she clung onto Snickers fearfully. Their security systems have been breached but thieves do not usually prowl around this neighborhood for the houses are well protected and those driven to such actions are far away.

  “I will check the perimeter for intruders.” the machine announced before it left the room. Maria watched the robot go, for once desiring its co
mpany. She held her toy tight when the front door opened. She quickly got to her feet when her father appeared in the doorway.

  The wide curls that naturally formed in his dark hair seemed under-kept and the rich brown skin sagged beneath his eyes with exhaustion. His movements were sluggish and clumsy but his whole face lit up at the sight of his daughter.

  “Maria I am home,” he announced as she rushed over to her father, wrapping her small arms around his waist.

  “You are back,” she cried joyously as he nodded before stepping inside, pleased to be home once more.

  “Yeah but I heard about how you overpowered Liza again.” he stated as she looked down, hating how he named the machine after her mother.

  “I know,” she muttered as he nodded, not too upset about the news. He did not want to spoil their time together with misplaced anger when their time seemed so limited.

  “Well I am just happy to see you again but anyway where is Liza?” he asked before walking further into the house, stepping on Maria’s project. He lifted his foot as he studied the mess at his feet when the robotic maid reentered.

  “The coast is clear,” it announced as Maria’s father looked down at Maria fearfully.

  “What does she mean by saying that the coast is clear?” he asked when a gang of men appeared by the open doorway. They all wore masks and were obviously
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