Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Starless, Starless Night

Even the lowliest, most disreputable scumbag thinks he or she is the center of the universe. At least they hold on to that hope. Even the dying patient lives for some tomorrow in which magically, within their shrinking finitude, they will arise like a genie from the miasma of their toxicity. This is the curious thing about the human species. The heresy perpetrated by Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler by using science to show that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe was all the more galling because of the insult to “dark matter,” or whatever it is that’s the building block of the thing called ego. We have tyrants and authoritarian personalities that hold onto power with an almost admirable tenacity and ability to obfuscate. Such is the case of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and the recent machinations by which Hosni Mubarak refused to relinquish his increasingly tenuous hold on power. But these despots are only the tip of the iceberg. They are only exaggerated examples of the anthropocentric demon that lies within the soul of all creatures that are blessed or cursed with the human attribute we call consciousness. There is anecdotal material about great men and women of compassion, like Gandhi and Mother Theresa, to support the notion that they were no more freed from the bonds of the self than the destitute and homeless they championed. These unfortunates occupy an ever-shrinking universe in which their own bodily needs or addictions (watching methadone addicts staggering away from a local clinic and hollering to each other with little regard for the pedestrians around them is a good primer in a perverse brand of egocentricity) form the center. And what about the recent revelations about the expansion of the universe that predict that man will one day awaken in a starless sky, the light from distant stars no longer able to reach him?

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