My life, as seen from the exterior these last few months, will appear extraordinarily ordinary and boring. From the inside, it has been weird. For example, I have been reading The Next Million Years by Charles Galton Darwin, which is a profound book written by one of the most important people of the 20th century. The book is reviled by nearly every person who reads it these days. Probably because it discusses things which no one really wants to think about. Human existence over the long run, say a million years, is going to be exceedingly repetitive and boring with a constant threat of death from starvation among the periphery of socially outcast human beings. We modern people think this is absurd because we have lived through two centuries of food abundance. Darwin makes a case for this abundance of food being based on mining fossil fuels like coal and oil, and that these are one-time use resources that will last only a hundred or so years. After those sources of energy that can be converted into food are gone, we will be forced to live more directly off of solar energy. That’s fine and quite doable but for a much smaller population than we have at present. Therefore, Darwin writes, we will be compelled to live with a very different set of human values. These new ways of life he admits are very unpopular at the moment. Thus, the hatred and disgust at the ideas presented in this book.
The other book I have been deep into is Reconsidering Olmec Visual Culture: The Unborn, Women, and Creation by Carolyn E. Tate. This book explores Mesoamerican lifestyles of the pre-Columbian era cultures. This study is based on deciphering the large numbers of art objects that are available and trying to make reasonable assumptions about what these objects meant to those people and thus to understand their way of life. This book creates a world view of a past culture that is more incomprehensible than that future world projected by Darwin.
These are wonderfully thought-provoking books that took me to stranger places than I thought possible.
Fiction must appear real to be accepted, but real people can go where it seems unbelievable.