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Short story "In the End"

KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSUAch-To Veteran
edited January 2017 in Arts & Writings

Inspired by the thoughts and conversation in this thread, I began writing this short story a few nights ago. This is just the first draft, but I hope you enjoy reading it anyway.

I’ve written this personal account in the humble and desperate hope that any being, human or otherwise, may be able to decipher my words and read them, allowing my thoughts and existence to bear some minuscule evidence beyond my demise. But I also speak for all of humankind—I am one of what was once many. I am one of the last.

This message could never encounter any intelligent life and simply hurtle through space as a primitive hunk of metal until it is naturally destroyed. But I prefer to remain optimistic; even facing extinction there remains a small solution. Perhaps it is vain or naive to seize it, but if that is so then it is a vice the entire human race shares, or maybe all of life, or all of time. Our ancient civilizations left their skeletons, as did the modern, and so too has the universe itself and all its stellar cohabitants. This being said, if I can bear testimony to anyone I hope they will be sympathetic.

Generations ago a portion of us humans were jettisoned away to potentially subsist elsewhere. Those of us back on our dying home planet Earth know nothing of their condition and never will. The future of our race and our record remains a mystery. And they will never know of our situation back on Earth.

There have been several attempts to achieve a cosmic archive, all of them spearheaded by different nations and groups. Such delineations now seem so wasteful. Any identifiers are meaningless. It doesn’t matter who I am, just that I was.

What kind of culture or knowledge should I attempt to immortalize? None. I don’t care. If I can’t save them all I will save none, and hope that the total sum of their influence across time will manifest itself enough within the virtue of documenting my existence.

There are people here who have given up all pretenses of survival. Birth rates are almost non-existent. If a child is conceived it is terminated, or the mother commits suicide. In some cases the baby is born, and the parents are wracked with such guilt at damning it to life that they murder it upon birth.

Bodies lay across the land as if they were tossed away by giant, invisible hands. People kill themselves all the time. Speculation on who will inevitably become the last human alive is a popular talking point. In fear of total solitude, huge groups form suicide pacts then rot in rings together on the ground. There is mention of ascetics who travel the world in order to bury and bless the dead, salvage their souls by whatever measure the concept of a soul still holds value.

Our godly technology finally dried up. There are still reports of satellites crashing back to Earth like wounded birds. The massive web of communication which stretched across our planet has disappeared. Rumors of underground servers or systems impede some to exploration. But what good would it be now to contact persons an ocean away? There is no chance of alliance or mutual benefit. We are only able to voice desperate pleas and hopeless lamentations.

In the face of such bleakness I have entertained the thought of suicide myself. Everyone does. With no achievable goals to strive toward, no destination to venture, what purpose does a human life hold anymore? We were gifted with intelligence over all other animals, but now it is worthless. The same intelligence which uplifted our civilizations lead to their end, and all our remaining resources were put into salvaging a small seed of our race. For the ones left behind we have nothing to do but wait for death. Everything humans could have produced has already existed, and without the certainty of preservation further innovation is pointless. This is the reality of creation. One creates to leave a mark on their world. But what can one do when that world is at its end?

Despite these ruminations, I find myself constantly avoiding death. I still hold the natural instinct to live. I eat, drink, and sleep. Whether it’s foolish or honorable to do so I don’t know.

I do know that after endless eternities, atoms and elements and energies randomly fused together to form life on Earth—and maybe the only life in the universe. Though I stare death in the face, I do so standing on my own two feet. Even if I was unlucky enough to be born at the end of it all, I am grateful I got the chance to experience my own existence before existence itself was extinguished. And that is purpose enough, in the end.



  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The liminal space Veteran

    Eventually the sun will expand to destroy the Earth, the universe will fade out and there will be nothing but a cold void. Before that each one of us will without question die.

    Even so I can still enjoy a good conversation with a friend, a nice meal, playtime with the kids or develop an internal happiness through spiritual practices. In actuality these sorts of joys in life are far more reliable and fulfilling than some sort of grand goal to be achieved in the future which may or may not come.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @eggsavior, that's a thought-provoking and talented piece of prose.

    I would venture to suggest that if you were to come back to it in a year or so, after having immersed yourself in the philosophy of Buddhism more, you will - much as I have done myself, in the past - come back to this, read it, and think to yourself - "Really..? What was I thinking...?!"

    Condense your thought-processes a little, and deal with the everyday, day-to-day, ordinary challenges we are all faced with.
    While expanded thinking on a grand scale is admirable (and I do get it, honestly I do), we still need to fix that creaky gate, buy more milk and pay that electricity bill....

    I suspect Einstein had similar concerns.
    He also had to fix the gate, buy the milk and pay amenities, you know...

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