Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Thought Best Left to Die Alone

The last doctor I worked with today, Dr. Anand, husband and partner of Dr. Anand, started the conversation (not exactly started, but near the beginning of our conversation mentioned) by saying, “there are only two perfect pills, exercise and God.” So, I decided that this was a guy with a temperament interesting enough for me to condescend to speak amiably and openly with.

During the course of our conversation, a sentiment he repeatedly expressed went like this: “The only thing I feel sorry for is the planet.” He believed that people made this world and its structures the way it is, so we had no right to complain or blame anybody else. the blame was ours communally and across all of time. Despite my protests and counterpoints, he did not seem all that interested in the idea that we could ever change things. He said, “if mankind wants to destroy the planet, let it be so.”

I don’t want to let it be so, and I don’t, in my heart of hearts, believe it shall be so. But tonight, as I was washing dishes and reflecting on my day, I thought a most disturbing thought to myself. A thought that disrupted the generally optimistic outlook of my heart of hearts. I thought a thought that was possibly the most depressing and desolate thought I have ever dared to think.

What if there is an inexorable course, just as the universe expands and distends into entropy, of life developing on an isolated world, and that life eventually bringing about conditions on that world that make life impossible henceforth?

What if this is why contact with other planets, and colonizing the stars seems always just beyond our reach?

What if it is impossible to develop technologically to the point of interstellar travel before we develop detrimentally to our own demise?

What if our planet and every planet similarly evolved is doomed to destroy itself?

I once wrote a song called, “The Night.” It was about a dream I had wherein I died, but was at peace with it. I awoke feeling stronger than ever before or ever since that death was lonely, but in our final moments there would be a sense of merciful peace, the absolute certainty that our whole life was simply one step in a never-ending march toward something greater. To this day, this song, which contains the words, repeated, “we all die alone,” seems soothing to me. In those words, I recall that feeling of unbendable peace. A peace that was so certain and final (for what can create doubt when the organ that doubts ceases to function?) that it could never be shaken.

Until tonight. The thought that it is not merely that we as individuals die alone, but that all of mankind, and indeed, every intelligent society the universe has ever known or can ever know already has died or will inevitably die alone, utterly cut off from others like it, bent my unbendable peace. If there is any hope I bear for the future of our kind and or planet, it is in the realm of what is currently science fiction - already often proven fact, even in ways we could never have dreamt. But if this theory is true, this theory which fits the fact that we have never colonized space nor encountered travelers from other stars, then all is truly hopeless.

There are thoughts I wish I had never thought. Tonight, I thought one.

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