Ruin and Renewal

I’ve been terse, of late.

I haven’t posted about global warming in a long time; so many well-informed writers are posting on the subject now that I don’t have much new to share (though significant progress continues to be made — at least on the scientific front). My posts on bird flu come from my background in public and environmental health, but I don’t have a lot more to say other than (in various ways) think about what you would do, if the worst becomes real. How will you survive it? How will you help your family and neighbors, your community?

(Come to think of it, there is plenty of overlap between bird flu and a zombie infestation. So, you know: stockpile food and weapons, keep away from infected individuals, and whatever you do, don’t eat brains.)

And I have some great posts queued up with regard to humans in space, but not a lot of time to devote to them (and to be worthwhile, they need time. rsn, I promise).

My fellow Brainiacs have been sharing some great stuff lately. I’ve been reading avidly. Hungrily. Zombiliciously. But the output has been minimal.

All this magma is moving around inside. There’s this tectonic plate activity under the surface of my thoughts. Quakes, geysers, upwellings. Subduction of old rock, old patterns of behavior and thought. Processes beyond my control are busily destroying the ruins of my old life, making space for new processes. I don’t even know what it all means. It’s hard for me to know yet how, or even what, to share.

But these images spoke to me.

Komanskop. Images by Richard Erhlich on artnet.

(Via Group News Blog.)

Someday, in some far distant future, the ruins of Kolmanskop, Namibia will lie beneath a tropical rainforest. Or maybe an ocean. So will the skyscrapers of Singapore, London. New York. Where Everest is now, we’ll have a savannah. An unimaginably advanced city. The remains of a vast, nanite disaster. The site where a new savior is hatched and raised, whose writings will later transform the lives of uncounted posthumans.

Someday the ruins of Komanskop will be crushed, along with the bones of their occupants. They’ll be obliterated. Sucked into the mantle, dragged down to the dense iron core of the earth, super-heated, pressurized, and spewed out again to make new rock, new minerals that plants and animals will take up. Someday, they’ll be taken up by new stars, and made into new starstuff.*

There is a link between death and birth. Between destruction and renewal. Tossing out the old — old habits, ways of thinking, crap you don’t need anymore — makes room for the new. Hurts like hell. Burns the shit out of you. You can’t survive that process. You’re nothing but atoms, you know, in the final analysis. The universe makes use of those atoms, but you don’t get to decide whether you get to stay in one piece. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who survives and passes on your code, your DNA, your ideas. Maybe not. Maybe you won’t even be a bump on somebody else’s tarmac. It’s not in your control.

But fuck. What a fucking amazing dance it all is.

*I’ve definitely been spending too much time trolling in the dusty hinterlands of my brain.

PS Btw, did you guys hear? Somebody is postulating that the reason the universe appears to be expanding at increasingly fast rates is because time is sl-o-o-o-owing down!

I love cosmologists. It’s like they are getting paid to create code for an acid trip. (Ask me for a link in comments, if you really must read more. I’m too lazy to hunt it up gratuitously.)

PPS How many other people read about Bush’s SOTU Address and your brain changes it to STFU Address? Let’s have a show of hands.

9 thoughts on “Ruin and Renewal

  1. I threatened Shira with taking the remote away. so she switched over to Earth Girls are Easy. Which made much more sense.

    STFU is so much more reasonable than the actual speech (“You need to permanently cripple the U.S. economy, not just for my eight years and the next four-six that will be spent repairing the damage.”), it’s an understandable edit.

  2. I loved what Mad reported over at her blog, Running Air:

    “Apparently the President is suffering with the rest of Hollywood from the writer’s strike.”
    –Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek, CA, on the State of the Union Address

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