The HAL 901E Mindset Evaluator

Imagine a future where there was some way to tell how the various forces that shape our day will unfold. So, some computer knows that we’re due to get stuck in traffic. And it knows we’ll already be in a grumpy mood because we fail to notice that we burn our toast every third Wednesday because that’s when that comedy bit we like is on the radio.

Of course, this HAL 901E knows everyone’s business. So it knows our boss is a stickler. And so it predicts a bad reaction from him and, ergo, an even worse mood for us. All we have to do is wait to see what narratives we build around that guaranteed chemistry.

Now, imagine a future where we have lived with that system for so long that it’s turned into nothing more than a signal every six hours. So we wake up, we touch a panel, and there’s a coloured light that tells us how the first quarter of our day will be. And we’d know that for the rest of our lives, every six hours.

But if we knew how the day was destined to be; and if we felt we had no option except to accept that; then it would make no sense for us to create alternate realities to compare our day against. We would resign ourselves to (read: accept) our mood for that day.

So would that change a bad day? If we knew it was coming and we accepted it as inevitable? Could a bad day be made good? Imagine it….


Sharise opened the door to reveal the smiling face of her friend Zinnia. “Good morning! I’m happy to report I’m bright, bright green today. What about you? Are we dancing through the gallery, or will I be dragging you through it?”

Sharise looked at her friend and shrugged her admittance that she had not yet found out. She went to her 901E Mindset Evaluator and pressed the button. After a moment or two, a dark orange/reddish light glowed under her finger.

When she turned back to Zinnia, her morning’s bright (‘green’) smile had been dulled a bit by the announcement that Sharise was due for a difficult morning. Sharise shrugged an apology. “Sorry.”

But Zinnia was ‘green,’ so she just burst into a smile. “It’s okay. Sometimes it’s me.” And deep down, she did mean it.

“In 23,000 days we all get some reds. We can look at it like it’s bad day to go to an art gallery for an important exhibition. Or we could also say it’s the best day –we can use the art to cushion the day’s redness.”

Sharise knew that was true. “I suppose cushioning the redness is better than not cushioning the redness.”

“Nothing’s stopping us from finding parts of the morning to enjoy even if you are feeling a bit low. I’m up. I can help. And no matter what, six hours later there is always a change coming anyway. Maybe by then it’ll be you cheering me up.”

“Yeah. I suppose if I’m inclined to take a negative view of things, then I should do my best to try to focus on the most positive stuff I can find.”

“Do you think there was a time, I dunno, maybe way back at the turn of the century? When people didn’t have this technology? So they found it difficult, or paradoxical, to be happy while they were sad? Did they know how to do that back then?”

“Well, it’s not like a person can’t have a good attitude about a difficult day, so I’m not sure why they wouldn’t notice that. So yeah. There were probably at least some people that had figured it out. Someone must have built the Evaluators we use.”

“But wait….” Her brow furrows. “What if they’re wrong?”

“What do you mean: ‘wrong?’”

“I mean, what if the machine just showed us random colours? Would that even matter? Because look at what we do now. We make the best of it either way! So what if the colour isn’t the issue? What if it’s us!?”

“Us? You mean we’re making ourselves feel better?”

“We always respond to the red days by focusing on positivity. But on the green days we’re naturally attracted to the positivity. So either way, whether it’s easy or hard, we stay healthy by having a mindset that is focused on positivity….”

“…So what do we need a light for, if the answer’s always the same…?”

“I dunno. But that’s a very good question.”

peace. s