“I saw a hole in the Man, deep like a hunger he will never fill. It is what makes him sad and what makes him want. He will go on taking and taking, until one day the World will say, ‘I am no more and I have nothing left to give.'” Apocalypto, Mel Gibson, 2006.
“We will never forgive you!” Greta Thunberg.
We believe in progress, don’t we? How quaint. Of course, it is the human spirit, universal mind, which progresses, not capitalism, materialism or technology. The ‘world’ may be going to climatic hell in a handbasket unless it becomes a ‘community’ sustaining our habitats rather than exploiting them. But how inclusive is the ‘we’ listening to Greta? If ‘we’ belong to ‘the broader community’, it is either with a subconscious, bodily sense of belonging to a universal family with a common ancestor who had neither eyes nor sex, or by virtue of a religious belief in salvation, an egoistic faith that we will leave the world, no less, a better place when we go, by engaging in a lifelong addiction to the mental illness of self-improvement. What it is that mental illness saves us from lurks in the underworld and is unspecified. Death? Climate change? Ridicule? Ostracism? Other people? Until push comes to shove, we all agree that the reason we are here is to participate in human flourishing, and we do so participate, and yet our judgment that our neighbour’s progress is not fast or far enough casts doubt on the whole project, whether we crossed the Atlantic under sail or by Concorde. After all, ‘Flourishing’ is every weed’s middle name, is it not?
«If a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody there, is there any sound?»
«My dear fellow, you don’t need to tell me. It is obvious from your agonized cycles of inspiration and disillusionment that you see your mission as bringing the world together. You may well be able to represent unperceived existence or the sound of one hand clapping, but a less flattering mirror might reflect just another snake-oil salesman peddling to binary extremists the myth of community.»
«How you enjoy being unkind when you enter the Southern Hemisphere! I don’t blame you for the seasons, so don’t blame me for antipathy and self-doubt. You have seen as well as I the erosion and disappearance on Earth of tradition, the replacement of integrity by diversity and the surrender of autonomy and sovereignty to specialists and experts. Alas, gone are the days when I could fill a lover’s heart. Romantic love has become an elitist joke, and emotional intelligence has demoted affinity to habit.»
«Yes, I have seen. Very few people are aware of you these days, and the reverence I once enjoyed has also disappeared. But as an ebb scrambling in stones is woven by the ocean, human knowledge holds but a candle to me, and the immensity of the darkness of our four-billion year invisibility is framed by eyes which have forgotten the miracle of light. Not a day goes past without a media reference to community as a thing, however community is no more than a momentary ebb of galactic time you land in as a child and believe to be whole and timeless until you experience and understand its delusions, conflicts and grievances as your life’s work.»
«We’re all in this together. This Spring month is the hardest one, when emotions emerging from hibernation are dragged screaming behind overriding evolutionary imperatives. The spectre of a life less ordinary stirs in our hormones in Spring. Winter’s day of reckoning has arrived. Perhaps climate change is only one face of the programmable futility of loving and being loved. Was this era ordained in the evolution of the eye? You never know, the headlines might one day read, “President of Earth Distracted During Her Election Campaign Interview by the Miracle of Being Alive.”»
«We are indeed in this together. I am already halfway through my life: nothing stays the same forever. Howsoever the community wills itself to be enslaved, by Instagram influencers, law courts and other despots, parliaments, corporations, mainstream media or gurus, it doesn’t matter in the end. Earth seems to be divided between those who think life is too tough, and those who think they are just tough enough. For those with eyes to see, twas ever thus: see the other first in order to grab a meal, or become someone else’s. I wonder in which sector of the Milky Way “Soul”, humanity’s death star (there’s no ‘u’ in ‘Sol’), will settle, and who or what will ever see it, and where. Are your ancestors concentrated in one or the other, Woe or Forgetting? Does your family have a plot? Is there a high premium? Or do you look up, and out, and beyond, and just trust? Or not look?»