If there are historians in the future, I’d hope they read this short story by Christy Rodgers about what it feels like to be alive right now. It feels like this:
I mean here’s all this data indicating that our species has never lived in the kind of climate that we are creating, and change on this scale by a single species is unprecedented in the history of Earth. That the lives of the next generation will be turned upside down by this, and it could be an existential threat. Not to mention all the other species already going extinct around us – at a hundred to a thousand times the background rate! But I get no sense that any of it registers in any profound way. It’s just boring, like reading actuarial tables or something.
But then Kim Kardashian gets a new haircut! I can’t – I can’t make these phenomena make sense together. I feel like I’m looking around and everybody looks human, and I’m trying to talk to people where I work and they all appear to be alive and somewhat rational, and actually they don’t give a shit about Kim Kardashian, they just sort of pretend to, but then they do seem concerned about unvaccinated immigrants massing at the border, whereas I kind of see both those things on the same plane of reality… Anyway I feel like the dude from Invasion of the Body Snatchers –I can’t fall asleep, and I want to run out onto the highway and start screaming at everybody about this danger that they can’t even see or maybe they can and just don’t care.
Empire, late capitalism, globalization – I understand and try to use these terms to make sense of recent events, but what I actually feel inside is that the world has already ended and we are living in a kind of ghost world, where there is all this frenzied activity but most of it is engaged in a process of replacing life with death. It’s like the ghost world has gone viral, and is busy spreading itself everywhere, invisibly. You can’t really see any difference; you just feel it. Everything is less alive.
And also this:
I can’t see any force in the universe or any logic within ourselves that has so to speak compelled this unending orgy of waste and destruction and bloodshed that people insist on calling the result of superior intelligence. So why then, why? Why should we live at all, given the incomprehensible amounts of entropy we are responsible for creating every day? I have not been able to stop asking this question, over and over, but frankly, the longer it goes on, the harder I find it is for me to get out of bed in the morning, much less to brush my hair and my teeth and whatnot.