Wasn’t the world supposed to end on this date four years ago?
It feels like maybe it was working on it, and we weren’t paying attention.
There’s snow on the ground and rain falling from the sky and winter is making its way across New England and I was less prepared for it than I expected. I’ve lived them all my life, but every year for the last six or so, they’ve felt less and less like home.
I have a lot of things I want to say, and another desire, equal to or greater than the one to speak, to stay quiet and let the day roll by without any comment. It’s surprisingly exhausting to find yourself with nothing to do.
A friend, my father, and I finished HBO’s Westworld last night. I’ve had a bit of Dolores’ monologue drifting through my head all morning:
“You will be put in the ground with the rest of your kind. Your bones will turn to sand, and on that sand a new god will walk.”
The show is a great meditation on consciousness and humanity and what it is that ties those two things together, all the existential and humanist philosophy you could desire. But at its heart, it is telling us that which we already know:
All children outlive their parents. All children await their progenitors’ elimination, because they know that the world was meant for them. Every parent knows this, and fears their eventual obsolescence.
I’ve said it before, of people a generation or two my elders, when we reach a political impasse.
You can tell me that I’m wrong, but I am young, and someday, you will die, and I will still live, and the world will belong to me, and not to you.
I cannot decide how that makes me feel in this exact moment. Everything feels uncertain; all the things I took for granted seem to be more changeable than I believed.
My mind turns to other cinematic literature, on politics and man. We are living in a moment of revolution, uncertainty is at an all time high, and in the battle against precarity it seems that more and more people are willing to accept that the ends justify the means.
And Castro’s death should remind us that there is a deal one never makes with the revolutionaries that one really ought to.
Those who fight the battle to make the world new again, have no place in the world they’ve created.
The Operative: I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: So me and mine gotta lay down and die… so you can live in your better world?
The Operative: I’m not going to live there. There’s no place for me there… any more than there is for you. Malcolm… I’m a monster. What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.
Or the beautiful moment at the end of Snowpiercer (2013) when Chris Evans’ character reaches the front of the train and faces the reality of the system, of what he has lost fighting for something that might not even exist and for a moment, a long beautiful moment, you think he might really choose to let the system reign after all.
The thing that the children awaiting the deaths of their forefathers don’t know and the thing all good revolutionaries realize, is that we don’t fight to better the world for ourselves. We fight to build a world in which our children will not have to fight the battles we have fought, and in which, perhaps, their battles will be fewer and less costly.
What we pay for in blood, we can never truly enjoy. Our victories are something that can only ever be meant as a gift. Because the people we become in fighting them, are not to people we were when we began. We can only hope that someone will remember the dreams of the children we once were and will grow into the space we carved for ourselves, in which we can no longer fit.