In 1,000 Years

In 1,000 years, people will look back on us and think “what a miracle it was that these proto-humans, with their innumerable flaws, were able to carry forward the task of civilization.”  They, with their perfect genetics, carefully selected far in advance of birth, their good habits, all carefully cultivated through well-thought-out educational and socializing regiments (governed by laws & principles we have yet to discover) — they will look at us in awe.  Our unchecked passions, our continual folly, our incessant jockeying for position (all the more ridiculous when viewed with the future-got knowledge that what we saw as meaningful social hierarchies were little more than illusions) — yes, to them we will seem the most improbable of improbables.  Despite their formidable knowledge of the universe in which we live (a knowledge which will make ours seem downright infantile in comparison), to them, we will be a mystery — something that must be mythologized.  And so we will become godlike in their estimation — not literally, of course, but in the sense that our success can only be spoken of, can only really be taken seriously, when treated as fable.  The lesson, to them, and perhaps to us too if we are smart enough to realize it now, is that for such an irredeemable mess of a species to have succeeded as well as we did (as well as we will), there must have been something divine hidden in us, buried deep within us.  Yes, even then when we have unpacked and de-mystified every gene in our genome and every routine in our brains’ neuronally encoded instruction set, there will still be something unexplainable about us that is best spoken of in hushed whispers around a campfire.

The “seed,” they will call it.  Some animal spirit, flickering and feeble at times yet inextinguishable, that propelled us forward and gave us strength to conquer all odds.  How horrible, they would think, to have such imperfect body-machines with which to do our work — but how sublime, they would counter, to be that in touch with one’s seed.  To be that gripped with one’s fate — for who can know fate better than he who absolutely depends on it?  To struggle about in the muck and the mire, to not just see but to feel the fury of the world, to be whipped about in the storm while all the while knowing, on some deep, primal level, that you will come out alive, and strong, and with one hell of a story…

Who’s to say, really, if you were able to get both of us in a room — present man and his future, perfected form — who would envy whom?  There is a sterile beauty in perfection — certainly some satisfying pleasure in its “rightness” — but it can never have the richness and rawness of a story.  That, my friends, belongs only to us.

— TAL

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