Monday, June 18, 2012

A melancholy aside.

Occasionally I'm struck by how tenuous the link is between any given person and me. Thinking about it, it amazes me how many friends I've lost track of over the years. I usually make an effort to keep in touch, but before Facebook, it was all too easy to have phone calls never answered or returned, or emails that bounced back or that never received a reply. There are people I haven't seen or spoken to in years, whom I believed I would know forever at one time. It's also sad to realize that in some cases, it's because the person in question has no desire to keep in touch. Of course, there are also the bad pennies who keep popping up time and again in one's life, apparently just to aggravate the shit out of us.

This kind of thing makes me think about something that has run through my mind my whole life - the last holdout of order and civilization before oblivion. The place where the sidewalk peters out and beyond is only uninhabited lands, or the point where the last light from the last window fades from view. The image that haunts me the most is from Wells' The Time Machine. The time traveler is far in the future where only the Morlocks and Eloi now live, heirs to the human race. He sees evidence of great and wondrous civilizations around him, proof that man achieved greatness. Then the implication hit me: who was the last? Who was there when the lights went out? Who was the last person like us who looked out the window one fine final day and left the house on one last errand? In a way, a sudden extinction due to war or some-such disaster seems less terrifying to me than the prospect of us simply devolving slowly back into the animal state. At least that way there's the comfort, such as it is, of knowing we went out while still having potential.

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