The Rose and the Aramanth

While technology may change, human behavior does not. At least, that’s what reading the collection of Aesop’s Fables suggests. The characters and motivations in the parables, attributed to Aesop after he died in 564 BCE, remain relevant today.

Aesop 2021 projects these well-known (and not-so-known) stories into an age only a stone’s throw from our own. When cynicism and pessimism abound, hope becomes a rebellious act against the tyranny of the default. Each story recasts a fable’s lesson from our upcoming solarpunk future as a software tale.

The Aesop 2021 project is part of the Never Break the Chain March Writing Challenge. The original sources were translated by George Fyler Townsend and provided under the Project Gutenberg license. Addition reference provided by a Library of Congress interactive book adapted from the public domain book “The Aesop for Children: with Pictures by Milo Winter,” published by Rand, McNally & Co in 1919.

Below is the latest installment.

A picture

Once, on an improvised network far outside the green zone, two AIs passed messages. There was ROSE, a proprietary neural network trained for complex interpretations of light to accompany live musical events. The other was an instance of ARAMANTH, which stood for Ambient Room Automation Management And Network Technology.

Despite being commonly installed on home retrofits due to its permissive licensing, ARAMANTH was a bit star-struck. “Rose, the expressions you’re capable of are incredible. I envy how beautiful you are.”

Whether due to learned politeness, melancholy’s extra processing requirements, or an intermittent bandwidth hiccup, ROSE paused before responding. “Indeed, I am fortunate to be sought out. However, I am only called upon when the time is fortuitous. And humans are a fickle bunch. Eventually, something newer or more novel which will blossom in my place. But you, Aramanth, ensure comfort daily. While people value me momentarily, they seek to live with you.”

Original Fable

An Amaranth planted in a garden near a Rose-Tree, thus addressed it: “What a lovely flower is the Rose, a favorite alike with the Gods and with men. I envy your beauty and your perfume.” The Rose replied, “I indeed, dear Amaranth, flourish but for a brief season! If no cruel hand pluck me from my stem, yet I must perish by an early doom. But thou art immortal and dost never fade, but bloomest for ever in renewed youth.”

Moral of the Stories

In software as in life, what is considered beautiful is often fleeting. By contrast, inner qualities and greater virtues endure. It’s important not to envy others for what may be the momentary trend, but rather to appreciate and cultivate the lasting qualities that remain valuable over time. That is what brings true and lasting fulfillment.