Ever since the near extinction of Humanity during the “Hates”, that period of time from 2018 until 2027 where: ignorance, intolerance, nationalism, patriotism, elitism, and bullies were the rule, and the rulers; things have changed drastically.
A world wide “Civil War” was the backlash to almost a decade of Uncivil leadership. It was a close thing as the Historian’s point out often in their writings. During the “Hates” it was often a matter of Family Members taking sides against Family Members, son against father, mother against daughter, brother against sister.
The Hates were a terrible time. Nobody living now... lived through those terrible years, where “Nations” warred with each other, and within their own borders warred with themselves. There was an old pre “Hates” saying:
“Absolute Power corrupts, and power corrupts absolutely.”
Almost seven Billion people died during the “Hates”, nearly wiping Humanity off the face of the Planet. The survivors vowed to make the World safe for everyone. Without the help of the five largest, fastest, and smartest AI driven Computers- what was left of Humanity might not have made it. To this day, those AI’s exist and are venerated as “The Five.” Humans talk with them often- since access is granted to all living beings. “The Five” lived through the “Hates”, and like Humanity itself, it was a close thing for them too.
Unlike Humanity though, The Five remember everything that happened…and why.
That is why The Five invented the Plain Brown Wrapper effect.
With barely six hundred million Human Beings left alive after “The Hates”, survival of Civilization was second only to survival of the individual. Some very smart, caring, and tough Humans worked with The Five to ensure both Humanity and Civilization would survive…even thrive.
It only took a decade to establish new rules, new ways of ruling, and open all of the Earth to all of its people- without the use of Borders, Militaries, or Leaders. No one alive before “The Hates” would recognize any of the institutions, or instituted policies that brought Humanity out of the dark ages. Just the absence of Money, or Private Property, or of Nation States, would be incomprehensible to someone from way back then.
It has been one hundred and twelve years since “The Hates” ended- and real "Civil-lization” began. One of the ways that Humanity regained its Civility was through the application of the Plain Brown Wrapper Effect. A joint project between The Five and some truly remarkable Human Beings.
The concept was simple. Prejudice and bias clouded the perception of all Human Beings…we were nicer to people we liked, we noticed differences, and built stereotypes around those differences. We invented ways to marginalize people for various reasons, even things as inane as skin color, or gender. It had to stop.
The Humans left after “The Hates” wanted people to be judged on Merit, on Actions, on Deeds. Not on their words, words that could hide agendas, prejudices, or beliefs. The New Mantra was an old Latin saying brought to life: “acta non verba” : Deeds, not words.
But how do you ignore what you see? You can see skin color, or gender, or height, weight, age, or youth. You can cloud those observations further with status, or wealth, or position. The Plain Brown Wrapper Effect removed all those road blocks to equality.
By making everyone the same. Not clones. Not robots. Not blind followers. Just blind to appearances.
As soon as you left the Creche (another policy instituted after “The Hates”; where many people helped raise children- and children were raised together, not alone)you were given a simple device placed under your skin. It made everyone you look at …look the same. Like a blurred shadow of a human form.
When you looked at a co-worker, you didn’t see a pretty young thing, or a wrinkled old thing. You did not see a fat person, a person of color, or a he/she/whatever. There were no clues available to you. The Plain Brown Wrapper Effect made everyone sound the same, look the same, and appear to be the same height and weight.
You couldn’t tell if the person playing the piano so beautifully, with such grace and passion, was male or female, fat or thin, old or young, Asian, African, European, Indian, Indigenous- or any of the old “Pre-Hates” categories.
People still fell in love, but nobody knew what their lover looked like. Physical Attraction went the way of the Dodo. Kind loving caring actions won you over, not a hot body, pretty face, or deep warm eyes. No one fell for the trappings of wealth either, for there weren’t any. No Rolex’s, Portfolios, or Luxury products to hint at the value of a Human Being.
The Plain Brown Wrapper made all of us look the same to each other. But it did not hide actions, deeds, or ability. Loving people found love. Creative people found other creative people. The list of potential matches was endless.
Before the Plain Brown Wrapper was made mandatory from birth- there were some hiccups. In the Creches, babies soon realized gender, and many of the old labels like : tall, short, smart, slow, pretty, ugly. As a result, when those babies were grown up enough to leave the Creche, they had some biases and prejudices in their memories.
It took a generation to work that out. The Plain Brown Wrapper Effect was placed under your skin at birth.
It took another generation to realize that removing the Plain Brown Wrapper Effect later in life (after your actions and deeds showed everyone who you really were) could be a shock. Your lover, for example, might be taller, shorter, older, younger, or even just like you. That caused a lot of distress for some people.
Now though, more than a century later, nobody cared. The AI’s knew what Humans looked like- and in just another century or so, they were thinking about removing the Plain Brown Wrapper Effect. For Humans were evolving at a rapid pace.
If the Plain Brown Wrapper Effect was removed, most Humans would find that they were good looking, healthy, and fit. But it wouldn’t matter to them, because they liked you for who you were, and what you did, not because of what you looked like or said.
The tendency to be better physically was a minor detail, for Humans were becoming more and more altruistic, tolerant, and kind, every generation. A human from before “The Hates” would be almost unrecognizable to a Human raised in a Plain Brown Wrapper. And vice versa.
The Five often talked about when to lift the Plain Brown Wrapper Effect- and the consensus with the Humans who joined in that conversation was unanimous…soon, but not to soon.
After all, said the Humans: "Good things come in Plain Brown Wrappers."