View Full Version : This is bitter, not a rant
09-16-2001, 01:17 AM
I was thinking about the Vogons destroying earth for their by-pass. I'm glad Douglas Adams died before his time. I'm glad Diana Spencer did. I'm glad Charles Schulz did. I'm glad Jim Henson did.
Because they don't have to see this.
I'm glad John Lennon, whose "Imagine" tears my heart every time I hear it, and I've been hearing it a lot, doesn't have to see this. I'm glad Frank Sinatra, whose "New York, New York," I may never be able to listen to again, and I loved it, doesn't have to see this. I'm glad Reagan is beyond the point of seeing (I won't say comprehending) this.
I'm glad Rosaline didn't see this. I'm glad Louis didn't see this. I'm glad one grandmother is dead, and the other afflicted the way Reagan is.
These deaths never made sense to me before.
09-16-2001, 02:05 AM
All deaths make sense.
The simple, naked sense they do make is, I think in my more cynical days, the driving force behind all religion. It is blunt, it is there, and the natural emotional recoiling from that sense fuels, in anguish and desperation, all sorts of elaborate narratives to replace that sense with something more comforting. I do so myself. Here's one:
Take the not-terribly-original idea that God is not something that so much is now, but something that humanity is evolving into. Teilhard de Chardin, was it? Dan Simmons was all on about it in his Hyperion series. Take that misconception of evolution as synonymous with "growth", as a child grows to an adult.
In the process of growing, the child grows into more and more complex and deeper horrors (the narrative smoothly generalizing, and skipping past the far-too-many children who have lived through hells that would break my "grown-up" capacity to endure). A child is afraid of the dark, and lives with the horror of falling asleep alone with it, knowing there's something lurking under the bed, behind the just-ajar closet door. That horror is undeniable and real for the child; later in adulthood, it'll be an amusing memory with a tinge of bittersweetness. Bittersweet because, it beats the horrors they deal with now--aging, the mature grasping that some dreams just don't come true, watching the pillars of strength of parents-that-were age and eventually fall, coming to grips that they're on that same road into dust, only just a few years behind.
Likewise (the narrative now making an ill-justified metaphorical leap with blithe disregard for the logic of it), humanity faces horrors now that in earlier days it never had. What is watchfulness against a sabre-toothed big cat, compared to thousands (thousands! a number Childe Humanity had no conception of because it had no use for them!) horribly dead in an instant. And if that's the horrors we deal with now, good god, what are the ones awaiting us in further stages of growth? Perhaps the anguish of Christ had nothing to do with being crucified; so many stages beyond what we are now, the anguish was rooted in horrors we can't conceive of yet. And all the florid imaginings of Hells over the years (the Buddhists have some really great Hells; the strains of Christianity that think highly of fire-and-brimstone really took a step backwards, creativity-wise) merely our fears for the future.
A narrative like this allows a sort of vague existential dread, but a proud kind of it. A sense of, in time this present horror will be nothing, we will have grown beyond it and faced down even greater ones--and those too in time will be nothing. Strength! Destiny! Purpose! A Great Plan!
Times are, I think the two terms mean the same thing.
But...the hidden kicker in such an outpouring, as much as I do mean it, is that the preceding rant is also...just a narrative. And for that I say amen. Or whatever.
09-16-2001, 02:09 AM
Our parents (mine, anyway) were born into a terrible economic depression, followed by an even worse war which made the labling of the previous worst war "the war to end all wars" a sick joke. That was followed almost immediately by a nuclear arms race that many people thought would end with World War III and the virtual extermination of the human race. Our country and our world have been through bad times before.
This has been a horrible week, and there may very well be some pretty horrible stuff ahead, but we will survive it. And maybe--just maybe--at the end of the blood and the hate the world will be a better place. Maybe not...but maybe. And if the maybe comes to pass, that would be worth seeing.
09-16-2001, 02:31 AM
Originally posted by Rilchiam
I was thinking about the Vogons destroying earth for their by-pass.
While I sympathize with your feelings in these trying times, it's a bit unfair to blame all Vogons for the reprehensible acts of a few radicals among them.
The vast majority of Vogons are decent beings, who wouldn't dream of eliminating a planet for a trivial hyperspace bypass.
Furthermore, the myth of their poetic failings is a lie, perpetuated by a few envious writers at Hallmark Cards.
09-16-2001, 03:09 AM
apo, you've made me smile.
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