23 June 2008

The End is Nigh - but wait, I haven't checked in my code yet!

I set my alarm, get up at 7:30 or so, walk my son to school (he has a future, you know), and hop on the bus. On the bus to work I practice lisp, because it's the language of the future, you know. At the office, I write more software, helping replace legacy systems with future-oriented web technologies. Helping the bank acquire more future wealth. Gathering the crumbs for my own future wealth. I think about my future projects, what kind of a startup should I build, what kind of wealth I will accumulate, and what will I do with it. Where will I live, who will I know, what will I be doing in and with the world? And my children? What kind of a world are we building for them?

And then I remember: there is no future.

When the rain passes, moving up the coast, we cross the creek on the pontoon, pulling ourselves across the slow flow on a simple, effective contraption of empty oil drums and steel grating, and walk to the beach. Sand after rain seems like hope or the promise of forgiveness—, a reminder that after we've gone, when the last human passes, the world will continue, and will begin to erase the signs of our time on Earth. Like the maze of footprints on the beach and the excavations and constructions of small children with plastic spades and buckets, the traces of our activities will be erased by weather and time and non-human lives.

When and how this will happen, I don't know. I do suspect it will happen not catastrophically and globally but gradually and patchily. Human existence, already grim in much of the world, will become grimmer, then desperate, and the expansion of regions where humans cannot live will accelerate. There, in those deserted and ruined places, the record of human life will begin to fade.

(from pohanginapete, with thanks to Dave Pollard for the link)


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