Tuesday, July 22, 2008

a morbid question, apropos of nothing:

It's just something that popped into my head:

Have you ever thought about how there will be people whose dark luck it is to live at the end of things? I don't mean the Rapture end, I mean the years when life here is just misery because we've gone and ruined our planet. When everything is flooding and disaster and famine, planet-wide. There will be people with the bad luck to be born then and endure short, terrible lives. There will be people who will be the last people.

Isn't it awful to think of that?

I don't know about you, but I have no hope for the future of this planet. I'm not going to go on and on here, I'm just saying.

When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
perhaps from the floor of
the Grand Canyon,
"It is done.
People did not like it here."

-- Kurt Vonnegut


Anonymous said...

Laini -

I think this has already happened. I think it's happenING. I think there are people who have the bad luck to be born in the wrong place, or in the wrong time, who suffer terribly through no fault of their own.

Certainly that's different from the echoing, lonely guilt of being the last people. Or is it?

This is a dark world but it is not without flashes of beauty that sometimes we can't even see until later.

A few years ago I was in Mumbai and was nearly suffocated with the poverty and stench and terrible sights. Kittens crawling on heaps of trash. Lepers squirming in the mud. Naked children begging for food or for water.

Terrible, terrible things. And I was fumbling through my not-unpredictable feelings of guilt mixed with shameful relief that I could come home to the states, when I saw coming toward me a young girl.

She was walking against the crushing flow of people twice her height, and she cupped her hands protectively around something, which she stared it intently, oblivious to the teeming city that threatened to swallow her.

When she got closer I saw that she had a small, brilliant blue butterfly resting on her palm like a shard of sky. And she walked on through the stink and noise and hubbub of that city.

I don't know if the story has a moral. Maybe the story IS the moral: there is hope.

Anonymous said...

Kay, so I'm a big believer in The Law of Attraction. I even did my school speech about it. If you don't know what it is, The Law of Attraction says that whatever we focus on the most we will get more of 'cause thoughts are energy.
So,because so many people are fighting against the problems in the world they are actually creating more of the problems by focusing on them.
As Mother Tersea said, instead of having a conferance on how to stop war, have a conferance on how to bring peace!
If too many people believe the world is gonna turn into crap, it WILL! So, I think everyone just needs to quit being so pessimistic and try to believe that the world is going to be okay.

Laini Taylor said...

Anonymous, you are so right. I think about that a lot too. The luck of the draw of being born into circumstances with some chance of a decent life. Beautiful story about the butterfly.

Jehsyka, you have a very good attitude. You are like the little uplift I get when my Sierra Club subscriber's magazine comes every 2 months with news of the 'good fight' and the small victories around the world. Thanks!

Alex S said...

Its not all doom and gloom. You have the ability to talk to me on a regular basis. How many people can say that? As for the last people, at least they'll be able to eat whatever they want and ride in abandoned amusement parks all day long and pick sausages off trees. It will be like going backwards in time, almost like cavepeople again, almost like us picking all those berries on Sauvie. That wasn't so bad, was it? Everything must come full circle. Besides, by the time we're finished up on this big rock, many of us will have been transferred over to another new planet to destroy. Its not like Earth is the only planet or anything...sheesh!

Unknown said...

Cormac McCarthy wrote a book called The Road about "the end" It is actually a beautiful book despite the cannibalism and other horror it contains. I left the book with such a feeling of hope in the middle of despair. If you are thinking a bunch about it, you should check it out.

tone almhjell said...

Okay, I'm back, from the end of my world. Hug.

Q said...

Perhaps it will be like that, and perhaps not. Humans are surprisingly resilient and adaptive creatures--I'm sure that they (or should I say we?) will find a way to live happily. Perhaps the world will not be as beautiful as it is today (I'm realizing this more and more often--the world is a beautiful place, even with the scars humanity has left on it), but I feel sure that the last people will find a way to be happy.

Of course, I don't (can't) know this, but you don't know if life then will really be miserable and short, either.

Heather said...

Amen Jehsyka!

I've struggled with faith for the last ten years or so, but I have to believe that there is a higher power, whether it be a god, an alien or another force that is watching and waiting, until the time comes to say "enough". What happens after that, who can say?

I'm just gonna do my best and hope it all works out. And I know I keep trying to push this on you, (and it seems oddly inappropriate in conjunction with your post, but here it is anyway): the children's movie WALL.E is kind of about that. Sadly we don't have fancy spaceships that we can escape on just yet.

Anonymous said...

I think about it a lot, especially when driving around the urban-ish area(s) where I live. Part of me wants to rise up and fight back against all of the consumerism and expansion, but mostly I just want to move to a house in the middle of nowhere, away from freeways and concrete. I want to pretend that there will never be a "last people."

I think that's one of the reasons I write, and why I like writing fantasy. I get to create a world without these concerns. It's a form of escapism, I guess.

Mostly, I try not to think too hard about it. If I did, I'd spend my life in bed. I feel guilty about being kind of passive, but I need to forget in order to live happily.

Like Barbara Kingsolver said in Animal Dreams, we're a nation of amnesiacs. Or maybe I'm just overly cynical.

Amber Lough said...

I thought about this as I drifted off to sleep last night. One thing Vonnegut didn't say was that there were people who DID like it here--like the little girl with the butterfly. I can't help but have faith that greed will eventually evolve in some way to help the planet.

Vinz said...

hey..while bloghopping came to your site from the sunday blog..

Nice write ups you got..and the current topic is the most worried topic..

if not in near future, its going to happen. People are going to die of hunger...Let me tell you one incident where one person who is a member of the 'poorest of poor' category in India, outside one railway station, was having cow dung to satisfy his basic requirement..!! If nt anything, the cow dung is what he wanted to fill his stomach..!! God save us..!!

That day is not too far, where invasions will happen for food, not for nuclear power and oil refineries...!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like your people with the dark luck would make excellent characters in a book only you could write. Do it for all those wonderful kids you've met that are bright, conscientious and will someday control the fate of the planet. They would benefit from a book that shocks their systems now while they are young.

I have hope in technology and science, good kids and great writers.

You need a cupcake.

Anonymous said...

I pre-apologize for the lengthy read...
A few years ago, I had a dream that the world was literally gray, devoid of all color, the streets were empty---no cars, no people, no animals, nothing---and I sat alone on a park bench smoking a cigarette. A bag lady type personality approached me and said, "This is the twenty-fifth century and it is against the law to smoke." Some may perceive that image/message as prophetic. However, I have a penchant for being stubbornly hopeful. I see advancements in the human race. As a people, we are more tolerant (civil and women and gay rights alone are huge accomplishments), more educated, more compassionate (countless volunteer programs), more charitable (following a natural disaster or horrid crime or terminal disease the acts of kindness pour forth from every direction mostly from strangers) more forgiving and collectively the majority seek higher understanding and profound refuge. There is a tremendous influx of spirituality literature now and the number of churches continues to increase. Sure, we have abused Mama Nature and we have a long way to go on numerous fronts, but isn't that what we're here for? To evolve and to serve one another? We have an amazing opportunity before us. I believe the road to glory is paved by unified loving energies focused on our greater good, not fear in the potentiality of doom. Peace rules.

Elise Murphy said...

Mortality seems to be a common thread on the blogs this week. The anticipation of the close of summer?

Catalina said...

well Laini, the past (and even present...) offered sometimes horrible things to humans as well (usually coming from themselves...I still have hope in humanity because all around the world there is more and more people every day that engage in habits that will help to conserve our planet and also because nowadays you have a lot more of ONGs fighting for wellbeing in many fields that did't existe in the past.

Hope is wherever people is being kind with all living beings.

I call it magic :)