Saturday, March 10, 2007

ender's game

I am exulting in the world right now. I feel so comfortable in my body, sexy even, and vivid, in a black shirt, and old jeans, on a cool night after a less cool day, the first of late winter where the air is no longer so mercilessly unfriendly. I enjoy moving through the air in the room, and I’m pointed and free, feeling slight pain in my left forearm and circling my neck. My lips are dry—I must not lick them!—my little dog is playing with a squeaky blue sheep. She's looking up at me with her tail concentrating. There’s a band practicing in a room behind me, and unconsciously I’m moving with their rhythm, like an extra in a Fellini movie as the orchestras play in front of the shot.

I just finished reading Card’s Ender’s Game, for the first time since high school, and I’m stunned. Exulting. I’ve never felt so alive. In high school I thought it was a pretty good book with a wickedly great ending, and I left it at that, but I always remembered reading it. So I picked it up again yesterday, and pretty quickly I realized that it’s a masterful work. I haven’t been this excited about anything I’ve read since I picked up Orwell’s 1984—and before that, there was only Dostoevsky and the brothers.

The novel is sci-fi—typical, really. Alien invasion. The hope of humanity’s survival rests on one man. Spaceships and relativity and instantaneous communication devices and shit. But the beauty of real sci-fi is that it is able to present us with humanity in a way that no other genre can: Sci-fi can confront us with Aliens, which forces us to confront what we think it is to be Human, in a direct inescapable dichotomy which allows us to question everything about ourselves.

So here I am, my mind racing in excitement now with the last page read, again as always frustrated trying to shove harder into understanding my own foundations: what's important to me? and why?

The conclusion I come to, tonight, having read this vivid little gem of a 'trashy scifi novel,' is that after confronting myself utterly, the violence and selfishness that I admit staunchly lies at the center of what I am however dormant, the most important thing is not even specifically that I live—I’ll die someday—and not that my line continue (I can’t help that past my own having children—this civilization will pass, humanity must pass someday, it is simply the span of time working against us, there is simply so much time out there, there is simply so much universe)--but what matters is, this bizarre miracle of self-cognizant life which has arisen somehow and must continue, must continue forever. That’s my greatest hope which I cannot hope to see realized because my death will come so soon and time will roll on around my no-longer-me atoms forever.

I’m going to stop now because my brain is starting to fray and I might go mad if I think about this anymore. It’s like smaller and larger infinities, and I don’t want to live in an insane asylum. *

*Georg Cantor developed set theory which dealt with the bewildering idea of larger and smaller infinities. he suffered from depression and possible bipolar disorder and died in a sanatorium.

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