What have I learned reading millennia of eloquent bellyachers?
Every generation is convinced it is the last because life without self is inconceivable. What we can’t conceive, seems to us, nonexistent: thus, the eternally receding nigh of endtimes.
Every generation longs for the simplicity of earlier days, because all we want to bequeath the future from our hassled present is the relatively simple center, and the simple center of former times is all that is bequeathed to us. The present for everyone at all times is mostly hassling periphery around a tiny, vulnerable, simple center.
We are always stunned by the rapid change of present times, because that is what present times do: they change rapidly. “Ha, you call that rapid change?” says each generation to its stunned ancestors.
Now is always lonely, isolating, alienating. Human life is like this, or at least it is for the kind of person who needs to write.
We are always in a unique predicament. Every epoch, every people, every person: in the uniqueness of our predicament, we are all alike.
In our conviction that I, alone, at the center of my own universe, am in a unique predicament that nobody else can understand, we are all alike.
In our belief that all others must displace themselves and recenter around the absolute center of the universe — we might try to make this happen. Maybe we even should try.
And if life is especially malevolent, it might allow us to succeed for a time.