Of Lizards

Emotional intelligence in a future populated by lizards.

SPECULATIVE

Alexander Korovessis

5/25/20241 min read

Lizards may not be able to love you:

An American psychiatrist told me, very apologetically, Alex, I'm sorry but we tested, you are essentially a lizard.

He explained further. My higher brain functions work more or less fine when it comes to standard processes. With regards to emotion and emotional intelligence, I only seem to feel anger or fear. What's worse, I'm only aware of anger or fear in other people. Anything else, he said, you're selling coconuts to Beluga whales. The whales don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

What do I do about it? I asked. Is there a cure? He went on to say, most people, without knowing it, have gone lizard. The world as it is, it's too complex for the emotional mind, which at its most complex form (higher level expressions like love, sadness, etc.) is still as simple as responding to more complex stimuli.

He went further to suggest that complex emotions can be simulated for you, if you have good (affordable) American medical insurance. Think of a simple automated lever system. When the water in a tank reaches its capacity, the lever engages and releases some of the water. Likewise, when I hear a joke where it is appropriate I should laugh, a chemical process prompts me to laugh. When a woman asks me to hold the door for her, again the lever engages and I thank her.

Given a few generations of this, the doctor warned, there is a risk we will have forgotten what is instinctually funny, having relied on the chemicals for too long, and could wake up in a future where the stimuli does not prompt the proper response, i.e. I'll laugh anytime the gas indicator in my car illuminates. This just means my car is running low on gas, it's not actually funny.