Sometimes, I feel like humanity is but a scrabbling mass of apes who use twigs to show the path of comets, leaves to show the fractal flowering of the Big Bank, bark carvings to mark their piss-laden and heat-season histories and colourful spit to groom themselves.
The fragility of the universe isn’t simply the fact that we’re all alone in this humongous vacuum, an empty blank room that echoes deep into our souls, but also that none of us know what we are doing. Not just why we are here, or whether there is any meaning to our little lives, but just what on earth are we doing, really?
We’re all clueless, from the common citizen to the most powerful leaders in the world, and we all depend on things to comfort ourselves with the illusion of safety. I’ve got money, prestige, respect, God, love. Hey, look, I’ve got a bed to rest my body at night, I have my memories, my captured moments of joy, my art, I’ve condensed beauty into a few strokes on canvas, a few dark scrawls on bark, look, look. It’s frightening, once you peel back laws and common courtesy and societal indoctrination and globalization and sporadic altruism, how clueless we are. And how dangerous that can be.
I mean, think of all those millions that have died for absolutely no good reason throughout the history of humanity. There needs to be a new word made just for the emotion you feel when you truly think about that – it’s much more than grief, or regret, or a sense of loss. It is an implosion of shrieking darkness.
The Holocaust. Wars. Famine. Every single one of those people were like you, with their own dreams and their own aspirations and their thoughts. Think of the talent that now lies wasted, spent in a wash of blood and locked forever in decaying flesh and bones. It’s staggering.
And this happened either because we killed each other, or we didn’t think other people were important enough and worth our trouble to be saved, or because people were simply born at the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s like stepping on a nest of ants – it may not affect you much, but I can bet you those ants are in the depths of insectile hell when that happens. Or maybe they’re not intelligent enough to fit the concept of death and disaster in their little carapace heads.
Either way, it doesn’t matter. Do you see my point? How wanton it all is? No matter how good or kind we try to be, there are dark seeds of selfishness nestled within all of us, and in times of strife, and even in times of prosperity, it has a habit of sprouting and taking root in our souls. I am terrified of the selfishness within myself, because if it’s inside me, then it’s inside others, inside everyone.
And then there’s the tragedy of existence. Existence is like this fragile little egg that also just has to have a face, and one with eyes that are constantly crying too. Why is it a tragedy? Because everyone dies at the end. We’re all made it into omelets. It’s also a tragedy because it’s painful. It is painful to be aware of your existence, and how short it is, and how quickly it will end leaving behind a gust of never ending void. It is painful to know you’ll never see the future of humanity that you’d like to see, because you’ll be dead, dead, dead, and death is painful because it is the end of all.
Death is so horrifying in its blankness that there needs to be a new word made up for it too. Perhaps corpsicating. We’re just these little orphans left abandoned in the dark by the universe, and though we pretend to be confident and know it all and throw up improvised walls of safety made of books and bed sheets and guarded by dignified teddy-bears, in the end we’re just wailing for our mothers in our hearts.
People believe in God, believe in a Father figure that watches over and cares for them, because the alternative is to be the orphan, alone and helpless and irrevocably lost. Everything we do – our art, our money, our hopes, our dreams, our desire to help others, our love, our monuments, our achievements – all of it is a great, collective, yearning, sweeping, Mexican-wave reach for a a great Mother. The reason we feel like there is always something missing, always some unanswered question in our hearts, a spot of darkness we’re always probing and hoping it’ll reveal light, is because we want fond, soft arms, divine, godly, celestial, whatever, to clasp us to their comforting chest. We want to be cradled, we want to know what’s beyond the beyond, we want to sit on our Mother’s lap, and for her to tell us the meaning of our lives, to kiss away our sorrows, to show that death is nothing to be scared of, that we’re not alone, to be held and safe and comforted for all eternity.
When these thoughts flood my mind, and despair shadows my soul, only one thought gives me comfort, and it’s one that I utterly believe in. I wrote a glimmer of it on my About Page, but, for a more fully-fleshed version, it is this:
We never die, because we are all each other. This consciousness you have know, this awareness, is my awareness and everyone’s awareness. Your existence is the same existence of Albert Einstein’s existence, the same existence as some extraterrestrial creature a billion light years away, only you can only experience one life at a time. After you are dead, you will live on, because we are all each other, and when you expire, another life begins without any memory of being anything else but themselves, just as you began likewise, and they are you.
After all, if you truly think about ourselves from the point of view of an alien, and how strange we all are, with our bare foreheads and four limbs and strange eyes and noses and faces, it becomes less strange to imagine an entire other race tucked away in some other corner of the Great Something, who feel themselves quite alone in the galaxy and with their consciousness and their fears and their hopes, if they can be called those.
But what you have to understand is that strange race is us too. We are all each other, from the tiniest rat to the mightiest organisms to the wibbly-wobbly extra-dimensional lakisprrilgoph. It is a grand, eternal flowering, across galaxies, across worlds, across universes, in different shapes, sizes, forms; a maddening morphology, all beyond the scope of each others’ brains and conceptions but all each other.
Existence is fragile. Existence is a tragedy. Existence flowers, blooms and goes on everywhere and nowhere and in you and her and him and it and all.