I got a letter this morning
What do you reckon it read?
Said “Hurry, Hurry because the gal you love is dead”
It looked like ten thousand people standing around the burial ground…
I didn’t know I loved her ’till they began to let her down…
You know it’s so hard to love
Someone that don’t love you
Won’t get satisfaction
Don’t care what you do
son house

So I took a couple days to train, and didn’t look at the news. I come back and it turns out there’s a good chance New Orleans will be wiped off the face of the earth today. And what I end up thinking to myself, is ” is this it? is this going to be the one that does it? ”

I’m well aware of how sheltered and complacent our lives, my life, is here. I’m well aware we live in an imaginary bubble. I just pop out of it to fulfill my hobbies as a clown on the edge of the spectacle, and pop back into the bubble so I don’t have to think about it the rest of the time. I struggle with my wakefulness. I struggle with my love for this imaginary bubble that we call civilization. And I do love it. I love the books, I love the art, the music, the science, the architecture. And I know that nomads clinging to the edge of survival don’t do things like that. That civilization is a product of people who don’t have to worry about survival from one day to the next, so they can spend their time maintaining the conceptual grain silo that feeds our thirst for aesthetic considerations. And we tend not to think about the wanton brutality that keeps us insulated from worries of survival.

That’s what Rome was really. It was a colossal, millenial monument of culture, and the people who swung the swords to protect the monument understood that. There was no need to justify anything. It was what it was. Even if you loved Rome, Rome didn’t love you. Couldn’t love you. And when it was clear that Rome would fall, it was bittersweet. Because you loved, but you also hated.

You hated the blood on your hands.You hated the obligation to be a hypocrite. You hated the impossibility of moral consistency. You hated lacking all credibility to even criticize the thing you loved, because you were complicit in it.

It’s like your parents. You can disagree with how they raised you. You can resent them, you can hate them even. But you are their child, and you can’t ever change that.

And as a child of falling Rome, you look at your meager few possessions, and you see the signs, and you wait. You wonder when you will know when it’s time to let it go. Will you ever let it go? Or will you be one of those who lay in the path of the flood, safe in your imaginary bubble…

Perhaps you find the causal linkage I’m implying spurious. You’re welcome to do so. It’s all one structure. Energy flows from the inside to the outside, as above so below. The Alchemist recognizes the world as a projection of the activities of his own consciousness. We know nothing about some hypothetical ‘real’ world. We know our own perceptions.

This world made us. We make the world in turn. That world we made unmakes us. In turn we must unmake that world. Because it is that world that will doom us all.


6 thoughts on “Death Letter

  1. Good post – and suitably poetic/melancholic for the subject matter.

    But the ‘bubble’ is merely not seeing the big picture, seeing everything through the macro lens. To be asleep – awake to the bubble but asleep to what’s outside and the bigger – ‘real’ picture.

    And the bigger, ‘real’ picture is that life goes on….Rome falls, the East rises, the East falls….and onwards.

    If one is married to Rome then there’s a problem – for a lover of life itself there’s not so much change…..

  2. The world did make us, in a sense. The buddhist metaphor refers to people growing from within the earth, like an apple tree with its apples. We definitely dont make the world, the world makes itself. Even if we “destroyed” the world with our nuclear technology (sic), the world would continue, regardless, whether that means with or without the human species as co-pilot. We are not dooming the earth (an oxymoron), we are dooming ourselves.

  3. Yes, what plecic said.

    It may be that we humans are ‘universal parasites’ and that we raise our technology to the level where we can leave the planet, messing the place up in the process and then just leave.

    Perhaps we know that we are nomads in the universe and that is why we don’t care about our environment.

    Perhaps our scriptures with ‘Adam and Eve’ myths and the like are echoes of this – we continually place ‘Adam and Eve’ on new planets when we f***-up the old and then have to start again.

    Perhaps this is all ok and as it should be.

    Perhaps not.

  4. Perhaps as a species, we’re just short-sighted people that have been misled by the “business as usual” practices around us, and all the wonderful distractions of our diverse marketplace.

    After all, it’s easier to fleece an uninformed consumer base.

    To define the article in terms of “world destruction” is missing the point I think. We’re talking about cultural destruction, here. We’re talking about what it is to be American… maybe even a “Westerner”, if you want to get real broad. Most people growing up in a culture find the culture growing up in them to a good degree. Were America to fall, I think that whatever I’d be a part of helping to rebuild from amongst its bones and ashes would echo the glory of that faded dream. Love it or hate it, it’s a part of you.

    Should it ever come down to pulling ourselves out by our bootstraps, hopefully the new America will learn from the mistakes of the old. Russia could hope for as much, too.

  5. agreed agreed on all counts. I felt like i ought to clarify, that the wolrd that humans make, the one that will be our end, is the one built up in our heads. the delusional world, which usually is indistinguishable from the ‘real’ world out there, that made us.

    we’re part of the world. as much as any rock or tree, or swarm of plankton. we play as big of a role in the flux of the world-organism as any other species. perhaps more than most. it follows that our delusions will shape the influence we have on that system.

  6. Speaking of plankton…

    I heard that they’re being killed by the UV from the ozone hole, and that they don’t have a natural defense against it?

    Had an idea a while back about a “quick and dirty” shotgun method to discover the “THC genome” from cannabis using E coli bacteria as a tester, because THC is Ultraviolet-colored (this is how the cops spot fields from helicopters): it would protect the E coli from dying in culture when exposed to UV.

    Same concept would work to make the plankton UV resistant, and protect a key link in the oxygen cycle from our stupidity. Might get some REALLY stoned whales tho.

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