The Prophets of Science Fiction caught my eye last night. It’s on Netflix, I was puttering, I write borderline SciFi… it seemed like a good idea at the time. Except it wasn’t. Seriously, could it have been more depressing? Philip K. Dick’s androids and memory planting and general exploration of what it means to be human, what constitutes reality, and the slippery nature of both humanity and reality is one thing. The fact that people are actively trying to make the technology of his imagination happen is a totally different thing. This thing where you can program a robot with life-like facial features to respond like a person, like a deceased person, like your deceased spouse…
There is way too much asking of “how” and not nearly enough asking of “why.” All this stuff we’re attempting to stave off: death and boredom and loneliness… I know it’s easy to be theoretical when someone else is having the miserable side of the human experience, but seriously. If there wasn’t the darkness, we wouldn’t have stars. There’s no equivalent to the second law of thermodynamics that I know of which regulates the mix of good and bad in a life. Yet, we’re supposed to die. We’re supposed to experience boredom and loneliness and loss and pain. We’re supposed to break down and be participants in the cyclical nature of death and rebirth. Everything from redwoods to galaxies are born small, expand to their capacity, and collapse back into nothingness to start the process over again as the fuel for a new birth, expansion, and death.
Everything we do to try and take ourselves away from the dark side of the experience of reality just makes it worse. The ecological havoc, the social ambivalence, the death of empathy.
Here’s what I think. Ask why before you work out the how. Do no harm. Listen to Rilke when he says let it all happen to you, the good and the bad. Live the life you have. Live all of it. Do what you can. And love.