And Other Stories



"You might think what I want most is to be let out of here, or get free. But that's not right. That's not what I want. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be stuck here, either. I do want out. But I want to go back to my old life. At least, as much as I can possibly go back. Escaping? I could do that. If all I wanted was freedom, I could get it. But if I break out? I can't go back to my life. There might not be much normalcy left for me to pick up by the time I'm let out, but a break-out would actually destroy what little is left. I wouldn't get what I wanted. What, would I make my family go on the run with me? I'm not going to destroy their lives just to take control of mine again. The kind of freedom I want comes after good behavior. I get let out of here when it's clear I'm a well-intentioned, stable, social individual. Now, that is a bit tricky. There's a problem. All the good behavior in the world doesn't actually mean I'm reformed for certain. They know as well as I do that good behavior is my ticket out of here. There's really no way for me to demonstrate any of this that couldn't also be done performatively by a selfish, unreformed, yet patient person. I think I heard psychopaths can have that problem. Anything they do wrong is a point against them. Anything they do right is an attempt to manipulate the system or the examiner, and a point against them. So maybe I never get out of here, no matter how good I am. And if that's true, if I knew that with total certainty, I would probably break out. The reason to play along and be good just doesn't apply, in that scenario. But if I say that, if I let them think I think that, then they'll know I'm still dangerous. Too dangerous. And if I explained how I would escape, the way I would be as sure as I can be to avoid hurting anyone, I don't really think it would help my case. Do you get it? It's like a catch-22. A real one, the ones that are made of multiple knotty catches, all strung together, and put together that way not quite on purpose but in a way that leads to a result the people calling shots are fine with. Except not really. That's only the case if I presume all the staff here are out to get me, consciously or unconsciously, and can never be convinced I'm safe. As soon as that's true, it's all over. And as soon as I believe that's true, it's all over. Either one, with or without the other, and this all falls apart. I understand it probably doesn't help my case to explain all this. I'm doing that for a reason. I want very much to keep this all from falling apart. I know you do, too. If that happens, you lose, and I lose. I escape, or something worse is done to me to make sure I can't do that anymore, before I try. Neither of us wants either of those. But we're working with imperfect information. You can't know my motives, not really, so I need to play around that. And I can't think of how to do that other than to try and show my hand. Like how you are probably thinking that the metaphors I'm using are troubling, like I think this is a game. I don't think that. One of the things I read was about game theory, and that's coloring my thoughts. If I wanted to be careful and manipulate you, I wouldn't have used those turns of phrase. But maybe I'm manipulating you through a double bluff, but here I'm admitting that possibility. And maybe that's itself an attempt to manipulate you, and so on, and on into ad infinitum. An infinite regress of 'I know you know I know'. I can't do anything about that, other than acknowledge it, which doesn't make it go away. But I think it does make one thing clear. I have thought about this a lot. I think it is very important that you, and all the others, know that. Because I have thought about this so, so much. And I understand that's probably suspicious. I would think it is, in your place, at least. But I don't think this admission, this ramble, confession, whatever you call it, I don't think it makes me look good. I don't think it helps my case, not in and of itself. And I could have not said it. I could have pretended I hadn't thought about this so much. And I think that would have made me look better, genuinely, even factoring in this section where I say why I think this was the right call anyways. Because I'm not interested in looking good, at least, not as an end. I want to, it's a means, and tends to go along with being a good person. But more important than that is convincing you all that I really am safe, now. That I'm better. That you can eventually let me go, and I return to my life and you don't let a dangerous monster back out into the world. The case where we both win, and win the most we can. And I think it will help us both a great deal if I can manage to show that I'm being honest. Even if it doesn't make me look good. I still can't prove for you that I am being honest beyond a shadow of a doubt. But I don't know how to even come close other than to spill all this out. To make this mess to show that I'm trying. I'm really trying to think of how to make this work out ideally for everyone. And I can't keep myself from thinking about that, even if it would be better to. But I'm not going to lie. I just want everyone to know that. I'm not perfect, and I'm going to try and face that and admit that. And... In exchange, as much as you can, can you be honest with me? I know there are limits to that. There are going to be things you know but can't say, in all likelihood. I can accept that. I just want us all to be on the same side. Okay. Yeah. That's my piece. I've been practicing it. I know you know that, because you're hearing this on the security camera audio, so you probably listened to that, too. I don't know if or how this will get passed on, but that's okay. Thanks for listening."