Thursday, November 16, 2006
The World Is Not Enough Without You In It
You have to believe when you close your eyes, that the world is still there. When you sink into the sheets, when the world sinks and swims in its half Earth darkness, the sun rises like a hundred yellow balloons over a hundred thousand cities and gardens and fields. People you’ll never know, people you’ll never even see, plants, pets, birds, roads and mountains – will do their thing without your even being there. Stadiums will erupt, whether the spectacle is swimming or badminton or dog races. Without your even being there, all this is happening. And yet, you are there, an unconscious rhythm, a sleeping computer connected to the planet even if it may not seem so. Because inside a computer are all sorts of files that aren’t running. Because they aren’t running doesn’t mean they can’t run. They don’t run because they don’t want truth, or the truth hasn’t asked them to be what they were born to be. But you’ve made up your own truth.
And when you wake up, what is the world to you? Is it a place where we can have breakfast, get into the car and go to work? Is it a place where we can read in the newspaper about stupid world leaders, or a rich musician getting a divorce? Is that the world? That’s a very small world, a single piece of pepperoni on the pizza of the world.
In one day, there is Africa, and its problems. There’s Antarctica crunching and thawing under the sun. There’s the whole lumbering yard of South America, with its fires and the steam of the Amazon. There’s Mexico and giant, scintillating cities like Dallas, and Phoneix, and Vegas, and New York. There are the lakes, the vast Alaskan Wilderness, and so much sea surrounding it all. And above the sea is this faint black curtain that seems to be everywhere. Towards China and Taiwan it becomes darker and dirtier. Over the vast archipelagos of the Philippines and Indonesia, where chickens kick each other to death, and parrot and clown fish dance in the shallows, and turtles flap their way through the coral – this same veil drifts, as if in search of a bride.
In the Pacific some storms wagon-wheel their way between Australia and Korea, turning waves to froth. Meanwhile the jungle from Borneo to Bermuda wilts, and the ocean floor quakes and rumbles. Sand becomes too hot to walk on. Nuts burn in their shields.
And when you get up this morning, you take the world – your world – at face value. There’s a lot more. But you simply eat something, and get in your car, and add a few more puffs of thin black smoke to the worldwide curtain.
One day will be cool, the next blisteringly hot. One season will be dry, the next the heads of wheat will drown. Insects will build cities in our homes, and we’ll wipe them out again and again, but they’ll keep coming back, sometimes bearing diseases, sometimes finding their ways into our cupboards and our beds.
The leaders we call stupid know something that we don’t. We’d do what they were doing too, and probably lie about the reasons just as they do, because it is no good spreading a panic, even worse being unpopular messengers, and even worse to be voted out of power.
Your memories are who you are. Do you remember when you were a child? And your imagination, do you still use it? Do you play, do you still dream for a long moment, and find yourself strung out in daydreams? You see, under the stars is plenty of life, for a whole day, and then the gift of another whole day. And while the sun beats down, the wind whispers in your ear: ‘Do you believe the world is still here?’ That you’re still here in it?
See the world for what it really is, and find your place in it. Because the organism of the world is incomplete without you alive, living your life, in it. And when you hold your life in your hands, and you see the whole world, how can you stand there and do so little? How can you be so small when you have imagined so much?