I note here that the Doomsday seed vault built by the Norwegians in the Arctic has received its first shipment of seeds for storage. I am not sure whether that news should provide comfort or not. In me, it really just leaves a chill, a slight horror. Have we really come to this point where we need to horde bio-matter to stave off the coming starvation? It’s very existence gives credence to an unstable and hard-pressed future. And to that I can only complain that it seems unfair to be borne into a generation obsessed with the end and yet powerless to do much about it. Our legends are no longer about faraway land, but after the crash and what becomes of those who survive (eaten by zombies no doubt).
But then, I think of what I know about the plague years, or even the first world war and the influenza epidemic that followed it – and to those generations it must have seemed the end of the world too. Perhaps we have always dreamed this – as we do when first falling in love – something this miraculous must surely come to an end sometime. Just as we have built the most beautiful city, or collected the most remarkable treasures in one place – then comes a crusade or a smart bomb to level it. Thus returning us over and over to our humility. Except we don’t get it. We never do learn that lesson and so return always to our task of building and rebuilding the tower.
In whose honour? Some obviously motivated by being “chosen” by God, others by mortality and the seeking of each experience possible before dying, and then there are those living in the myth of family and community. I suppose the question lies here: When you imagine yourself failing, under whose eyes do you feel that shame? Your mother? God? Your children? What fuels your self-hatred the most?
I have been asked this question before but always have difficulty in answer it. Perhaps because I don’t want to admit any power over me – mortal or otherwise – and so instead imagine a nameless mass who somehow rely on my success. Tee people, the oppressed, the union, the community. A force large enough to be worthy of having that sway – a way to explain why I drive myself over and over to the same teary frustrations.
I have a hard time these days believing in substantive change – hasn’t it all been tried before? Are we really delivered to a better place than those generations who have preceded us? I see my own yearning for natural order reflected in all the generations of debates and wars and written tomes – knowing always that the truth really does presage this civilization which means it will always elude this particularly civilized mind. Everything sought after really just the desire to return to the garden – that place to which all roads are now closed. Where indeed is the motivation in that?
Perhaps then this Doomsday vault gives me these chills for a reason – a sign that we have actually given up our attempts to return – that we have failed to reverse the plagues – and in some dystopic future we rely on the failures of this generation to reissue the seed for the garden. Instead of being frightened by this vision, we celebrate it – our lack of will to change this new stuff of legend.