Planet of the People

Everything becomes its opposite.

Oceans turn to sand.  Trees as tall as skyscrapers wind up as stumps, too slow to lose chain saws’ chattering teeth.  Mountains are reduced to cesspools.  Pristine beaches are the oil-drenched graves of underwater road kill puked up by the soul-sick sea.

The human race itself, of which I am a member, has always had a hard time being human.  Some of us want to be gods.  Others aspire to be apes.  Others still, annoyed by the repertoire of unmanageable emotions or excessively effervescent sexual instincts, would prefer the inertia of being machines, as far removed from nature as a body can get without being dead.

But make no mistake:  machines are alive today, and much as some of them may love us in their lovably mechanical or electronic way, they likewise demand we change, becoming more like them (unless it’s more like us), so that our survival is still predicated on a whale of a lot of death.  Though that may seem to some a bleak definition of success, I wonder whether what we’re losing isn’t that we should be trying to save.

But it’s probably too late now.  Pandora’s had an attack of diarrhea in the bathtub, I’m afraid.  Still, some of us are going to be around for awhile yet, and might want to clean it up, instead of adding more shit to the soup.

So smile up a sweat and congratulate your neighbor on his or her endurance.  Suffering is a kind of achievement, at least inasmuch as it distracts you from the slaughterhouse of your own stomach, or the constipated consternation of your conscience.

Rack of a pyramid of extinctions in the name of progress as long as it helps you believe it will postpone your own, assuming anyone anywhere anymore has any idea what the hell any of us are doing here, there, and everywhere, instead of just pretending we’re in control of our destinies:  these stupid, car-croaking streets we’re driving down, en route to restaurants and coffee shops as sterile as hospitals, sanity-siphoning jobs, or bedrooms where we can hide for a few hours while we’re too tired to move, before we wake up hungry enough to venture out for another bite off Mother Earth’s immaculate carcass.

Maybe somehow we’ll survive the fellowship of our own folly.  But yesterday I looked into the eyes of a baby Korean girl being held by her mother on a sweltering subway platform, imagined how things might be when she’s my age, and almost cried.


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