I thought about this. "So what is it you're really asking me?"
"Where does morality enter our lives, Dan? How do we justify what we do to the rest of humanity? Microsoft is no Bosnia."
Karla came into the room at this point. She turned off the TV set and looked at Todd square in the eyes and said, "Todd: you exist not only as a member of a family or a company or a country, but as a member of a species - you are human. You are part of humanity. Our species currently has major problems and we're trying to dream our way out of these problems and we're using computers to do it. The construction of hardware and software is where the species is investing its very survival, and this construction requires zones of peace, children born of peace, and the absence of code-interfering distractions. We may not achieve transcendence through computation, but we will keep ourselves out of the gutter with it. What you perceive as a vacuum is an earthly paradise - the freedom to, quite literally, line-by-line, prevent humanity from going nonlinear."
She sat down on the couch, and there was rain drumming on the roof, and I realized that there weren't enough lights on in the room and we were all quiet.
Karla said, "We all had good lives. None of us were ever victimized as far as I know. We have never wanted for anything, nor have we ever lusted for anything. Our parents are all together, except for Susan's. We've been dealt good hands, but the real morality here, Todd, is whether these good hands are squandered on uncreative lives, or whether these hands are applied to continuing humanity's dream."
The rain continued.
"It's no coincidence that as a species we invented the middle classes. Without the middle classes, we couldn't have had the special type of mindset that consistently spits out computational systems, and our species could never have made it to the next level, whatever that level's going to be. Chances are, the middle classes aren't even a part of the next level. But that's neither here nor there. Whether you like it or not, Todd, you, me, Dan, Abe, Bug, and Susan - we're all of us the fabricators of the human dream's next REM cycle. We are building the center from which all else will be held. Don't question it, Todd, and don't dwell on it, but never ever let yourself forget it."