Faced by either individual extinction (death), or collective extinction (climate catastrophe), especially if self-propelled, humans find the idea of complete senselessness almost as terrifying as physical annihilation. In Shakespeare’s immortal lines, and through his tragic protagonist’s unavailing last-minute regret for what he has done out of pride, arrogance, and ambition, we hear the echo of humanity’s lament in the face of extinction, whether individual or collective.
Have we, in some elusive way, been using language as not expression but as count?… ? And fast?
“Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
And two night ago I arrived at the Centrum Writer’s Residency in Port Townsend, WA, to write, reflect, self-flagellate (? always!) and look at the Pacific for three weeks.
“Thanks to COVID, we have rediscovered that we are just one species, and not necessarily the strongest one. This virus, in a way, could suppress the human species as we know it—that is, if we do nothing. This makes it unprecedented. It puts our whole view of the modern world—our vision of progress, our mastery over nature—in doubt.” Francois Hartog, historian