I was just There, stumbling around the ‘million-footed Manhattan’ in a state of Holy Terror. For heathens like me, who prefer giants to gods, human potential to the holy ghost, the Future can induce a near-religious shudder, a blinding sunburst over the horizon of Man. The Future is my only divinity. And despite its corniness, Times Square is my idea of Sunday worship; an airport to Tomorrow, an atomic blast of portents and information. Everytime I encounter it, time has added another three languages, another thousand pixels, another chemical smell, and another layer to its relentless hyper-reality. Knees weak with vertigo, I told Meghan I had to sit down, and kneel before my oracle, among the bums, hotdog venders, and tragically chic.
Some foresee Western Civilization and the Pax Americana teetering on the verge of demise, awaiting the same fate and fallout as the empires of Rome, Egypt and Persian glory. They see human history as a basically futile endeavor— nothing more than false hopes, failure, and repetition. But, stomping the Broadway concrete, or sitting beneath a fifty-foot Tom Brokaw, it occurs to me — “What if the New Babylon doesn’t fall— What then?” What kind of chain of events have we set in motion here?
I refer you to the consensus of the scientific community:
“If progress remains on course, the human race, even without any significant leap in technology or scientific understanding, will have traveled to the nearest star in 500 years, and will inhabit the entire galaxy within 3 million years.”
Is this possible? Do we even understand what’s happening here? Are we really going to do this, whatever this is? Think about it: you are now sitting in the Cradle of Galactic Civilization, the great Garden of Eden, the future-mythical Planet Earth. For me, the only thing outside the circle of Man is its future, so I am not tempted to ask about our significance in the “eyes of the universe.” We will be cosmically significant because our descendents will be writing the histories of the cosmos. In other words, we are the eyes of the universe.
This has me so jacked and ecstatic that I’ve adopted some new imaginary friends to share my excitement with, necromantically expressing my rapture to the ghosts of Gorgias, Archimedes, Gregor the Great, Da Vinci, and Benjamin Franklin— great greats unfamiliarized with the donnees of modern life, individuals sure to understand the drift of these events:
“Leo, look how we’ve engineered human happiness here— Isn’t it marvelous?” or “Oh, yeah, art self-destructed before the middle of this century, perhaps as early as 1916″ or “This tiny silicon chip weighs only a tenth of a gram but is smarter than you and I put together” or “and if you put him in warm water heÃll grow twenty times the original size!!”
In another three hundred years, I hope someone will do the same for me; summoning me into an era when humankind has wholly rewritten the meaning of humankind itself. I’ll get to bop around dropjawed in the year 2300, when Sleep and Death have withered into barbaric notions, sex comes in 383 different colors and flavors, Chinese take-out is ordered telepathically, the Laws of Nature are considered mere suggestions, and bioengineering has finally weeded out that troublesome “assbag” gene that produces most of the jetsetters and fashion victims on the Manhattan Isle. By this point in history, it will have occurred to humankind that perhaps they are genuinely something new in the universe.