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The World According to Sa
[Excerpt from Book One, Chapter 6: The World According to Sa.]
“We squander unpromised tomorrows until death calls out our name, and only then does its faint shadow, ignored life long, darken into the bogeyman that takes us.
“We guzzle the earth to extinction in secret fear of death. Children distant in time will be made to pay for our consumption. We diddle the future in a confidence game, a perfect crime in which the culprit is long gone by the time the next generation comes upon the scene. We hide from death, as the dying cannot. We should contrive a mortal scare, the end of the world.”
“The end of the world?” I repeated, losing her.
“A deus ex machina or two, wobble some metal sheets for thunder. If imminent death led your royal bankster to rethink, the rented masses to clamor for release, it might be worth the toll. Change is a function of time, the present time is in flux, and in the flux we have a Consciousness Exchange on the pinhead of the moment. What if the future tense were to lose all meaning and leave us just the moment? A singular exchange in the flux of time, the stitch that saves nine?”
I had no real way to know where her earnestness ended and fantasy began.
“Let us imagine the end of the world. We have Death to thank for so much of our propensity. Our towers and monuments are homage to him, our property is clung to in defiance of him, our worship a bribe to forestall him or dilute his power. Yet, in our culture, death’s shadow is pale or hidden and comes slowly, to one at a time. What if the shadow of extinction were to get up and speak at once to all humanity?”
“Tell me you’re joking.” [read more...]
“Ha. Are you scared? Imagine, the polar caps collapse at once, or a comet brings a shower of meteor bombs or a new virus dines on mankind. What clash and clamor of proclivities in the run up to the end of the world? What antics would we see?
“Our natures would be laid bare, for better and worse, a mirror held up to our individual and species’ souls.
“There would be no proper behavior for the occasion. Conditioning would wear poorly, and when denial of death waned away to certainty, discipline would fail. Strife would be pointless, but then, the remaining time would be a heyday of pointlessness.
“How long would government stay on the job? The noble professions? Some bound by oath and conscience would surely try. Doctors, nurses, and the like. Acceptance would come slowly. Resignation slower still.”
She went on to paint a world gone mad, where prayer and Hedonism warred in the same soul. Law and order expired, and risk lost its meaning in the same stroke as reward. It was a world of crime and fear. Phantasms of heedless violence erupting, all souls now cornered. To kill and to die would not be far from equal there, and for those made mad, they might well appear interchangeable as nullities.
“All notion of acquisition and bequeathal would be laid bare for the absurdities they are. Facing the end of all, such itches of mortality would trouble us no more. Property for use in the time remaining would be the only meaning of the word.
“Our mortality is at the root of war, of murder, and all art of terror is homage to it,” she said. “To live in the present knowing one’s death is to ride a beam of joy, or seal the human heart in darkness. But if we knew, all knew openly at once that human life would end with our own in a generation, or a month, or a day, might we not begin to understand how ill we order our lives?
“What would you do, if the world were to end in a month?”
“Hide out with a woman I suppose. There would probably be a lot of them thinking the same thing.”
“And if life were handed back to the world at the last minute, what would be learned? Would we pick up the pieces, go back to business as before? Would mankind not have a new thought? That is the question I bring to you, Ken, in your reprieve from death.”
“I haven’t had a new thought. Have I?” I asked myself as much as her, surprised at the turn.
“I am your new thought,” she said. “I might meet the world in person, were each encounter so confluent as mine with you. Or I might meet them all at once on the heels of world reprieve from their certain doom, meet them in a new dawn. Ears would grow very long indeed to hear their little savior, would they not?” she asked provocatively. “I could deliver the word of God to a childlike humankind.”
“I think…” I began but stopped, waiting for her to look up from her smiling reverie. “I think you’re drunk,” I said.
“Ha.” She grinned at me deliciously and laughed at herself. “I could be from another galaxy, if you prefer,” she said more modestly. “The point is that minds would be open, perhaps as never before. To return to life ordained by mortal itches might actually seem implausible. The overt and covert violence of owner dominion might seem preposterous, the violence of scarcity and excess rejected as a way to live.”
[Originally posted on Google+]