Imagine a time 10,000 years after our societies have fallen. Perhaps our DNA lives. Perhaps our species has not evolved enough to be considered a new one or perhaps it has. Regardless “society” has died and a new one has taken its place. As we look at Mayan ruins, the new society looks at the ruins we now build as sky scrapers. What is the one thing you hope they never discover? What ought we be ashamed of?
My first thought was language. I look at almost everything we do with such disdain that I sometimes feel like we’d be better loved if we were misunderstood. Can you imagine what is going to happen if the first ancient site they unearth is one of Hitler’s camps? I would rather they think it was a great war in which millions died for noble but differing causes, than the reality of what it was. I would even prefer that they thought we were sacrificing humans to some almighty God than the reality of what “we” did there.
I would almost rather be thought of as a primitive society that collected into tribal hierarchies and wandered from watering hole to watering hole in loosely knit groups competing for dominance within each group and for access to the females of other groups for the purposes of breeding and genetic diversity. I would almost rather they think we were incapable of the high level thought that the holocaust required. I would rather they think we were fighting over access to bananas than access to ”oil”.
I used to really hope that ours, all of our languages, would go away and be forgotten. Then I read a book, “The Razor’s Edge” by Maugham and I was reminded of the beauty that we only have in language. I remembered a 3 page story by Ayn Rand that taught me how to beg for something other than mercy. I remembered that we are nothing but our language anymore. We don’t respect that enough. When you look at a piece of art, even “Modern ‘Art’” something happens in your brain. That thing that happens is language. Even if it goes unspoken language is our method of classifying and describing things even internally. I hope they can understand the good we were capable of. I hope that they can understand the pride with which I can say I understand the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.
Once I realized that language is the tool of reason, I began to accept that it is all that will be left behind. I was then forced to grapple with choosing a piece of language to erase from humanity. Language is far too important to lose on a whole and so important that any substantial change ought to be in it.
The one thing I hope with a hope that is beyond all hope is that they never discover the word “reality.” The most embarrassing thing about humanity is encased in that simple word. I, however do not mean just that word, I mean our entire belief structure that has to do with that realm of human language as well.
I hope that when they discover “reality” television they cannot understand. I hope they don’t believe we think that is reality. That would be embarrassing. When I started writing this piece I thought it would be the single most embarrassing thing. I wanted to present to you, the old gods, like Thor who are still used in popular and incredibly common language around the globe and how they will consider that part of our religion. That Thor and Iron Man and Superman were gods were popularly believed in would not seem any more wild and crazy than anything else. The quiet worship of Jesus Christ in homes and small buildings scattered across the world could be very easily seen as a cult. The popularity of naked female forms on the internet could simply be the dispersion of religious sermons by priestesses of the new gods. We obviously worship kittens and believe them to be the vehicles that bring us divine messages, what else could those symbols on the most popular pictures be?
I had a million great images of how devoid “reality” is of reality and thought I wanted to share them. Really, now I want to share how reality is really devoid of realness. I just watched “The Great Gatsby” ( 2013) and believe it is a real story. I know who I’d Gatsby, do you? I don’t for a minute believe it to be a true story, but it is a real story. I hope you one day live a life that has that much realness. I hope that in your life, you live one day with that much realness.
I love her. Really. I love her with that same love I felt when I saw this 2-4 year old girl walk into the store I was working at and hug this 3 foot tall Santa doll. I love her with all the might that I worshipped that girl with the light brown skin and incredibly straight black hair with hint of brown that wore leather jackets to school in 6th grade. Her name started with an L and I would doodle interconnected cursive “L’s” that looked like shoe laces strung through a boot. I love her like “L’s” little sister, “D” who understood in a flash how I felt about “L” because it was real. Real love is the same stuff. It is one thing. It’s simple and easy. So is calculus.
There is nothing in this world that is simpler than the fact that position is an aggregate sum of motion. There is nothing in this world more complicated than our attempts to discuss it. Love is no different than the most complicated mathematical discourse on the simple physical reality of “where is it?” I love simply and really. Why don’t you?
Bring that reality to your life. It will change you. In changing you it will change your world. In changing your world it will change the world. Once again, I have slipped down a canal of consciousness.
I guess I hope that this piece is the first thing they discover. I hope this is the first thing they understand of us. I hope that 10,000 years after the fall of man that mankind gets up and brushes off the dirt. I hope they understand that reality is and isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. That velocity is the derivative of position and if you integrate velocity you get a general function for position. If you integrate velocity and know a starting point you can determine the current position. I hope they realize that you can estimate the curve of human history by looking at tangents and secant lines and can and can’t lines as well. We are simple beings that become more complex the more we study ourselves.
I hope this is the first thing they understand of themselves. I hope you understand this much of yourself. You are as simple as a rock and as complicated as the movement of electrons that create the covalent bonds that hold it all together. Just look in the mirror and see the beauty in a diamond. I hope they can handle that much reality. I hope you understand how complex the simplicity of it all is. That is reality. Our history, beauty and pain is all made of the same stuff.
I hope we all discover this now, before we throw mankind into the grave. I hope our society doesn’t have to end to find all this. Let’s work on that.