I approve of the direction he gave, no doubt unconsciously, to his efforts to perpetuate man: but he has preserved nothing but sensations; and, although his invention was incomplete, he at least foreshadowed the truth: man will one day create human life. His work seems to confirm my old axiom: it is useless to keep the whole body alive.
Logical reasons induce us to reject Morel’s hopes. The images are not alive. But since his invention has blazed the trail, as it were, another machine should be invented to find out whether the images think and feel (or at least if they have the thoughts and the feelings that the people themselves had when the picture was made; of course, the relationship between their consciousness and these thoughts and feelings cannot be determined). The machine would be very similar to the one Morel invented and would be aimed at the thoughts and sensations of the transmitter; at any distance away from Faustine we should be able to have her thoughts and sensations (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory).
And someday there will be a more complete machine. One’s thoughts and feelings during life — or while the machine is recording — will be like an alphabet with which the image will continue to comprehend all experience (as we can form all the words in our language with the letters of the alphabet). Then life will be a repository for death. But even then the image will not be alive; objects that are essentially new will not exist for it. It will know only what it has already thought or felt, or the possible transpositions of those thoughts and feelings.
The fact that we cannot understand anything outside of time and space may perhaps suggest that our life is not appreciably different from the survival to be obtained by this machine.
When minds of greater refinement than Morel’s begin to work on the invention, man will select a lonely, pleasant place, will go there with the persons he loves most, and will endure in an intimate paradise. A single garden, if the scenes to be externalized are recorded at different moments, will contain innumerable paradises, and each group of inhabitants, unaware of the others, will move about simultaneously, almost in the same places, without colliding. But unfortunately these will be vulnerable paradises because the images will not be able to see men; and, if men do not heed the advise of Malthus, someday they will need the land of even the smallest paradise, and will destroy its defenseless inhabitants or will exile them by disconnecting their machines.