Fictitious lives

A loving look at unreality.

In China people get together in the corners of parks and dance. The unofficial history of America is not a story of rugged individualism and heroic personal sacrifice in the pursuit of a dream. It is a story of democracy derailed, of a revolutionary spiri

This article is available in:

We forget too often that our lives are just fictions, that this human life of ours – abstracted from the land, abstract in itself – is not grounded in reality, but in drama, illusion. Our lives are no different from dreams, a scattered blur from one meal to the next, from one conversation to the next, one megaplex, one strip mall, one coffee cup, one beer, one fix – a ceaseless drifting from sensation to sensation, a constant sating of the base desires.

We are raised in this “reality” so its contours are invisible to us. We see each moment but fail to see the unifying thread – the alienation of humanity from nature, the ills of domestication, the dependence of humans upon technological death machines to survive and a growing inability of these generations of young humans now in possession of the planet to connect to it in any living way. We have lost our ability to experience the grander trends as revealed through the almighty Moment. We cling to our petty satisfactions as a paddler fallen from a canoe clings to the rocks. We do not dare to imagine a life without pizza, ice cream, microwaves, transportation, convenience, comfort, ease.

The 21st century has been too kind to us so far. It holds new horizons for us as an übersoul and as an überspecies, but it remains pregnant with disaster. There must be wars, Great Wars, which span all frontiers, in which all are embroiled in conflict: the inner war spilling out into our long-abandoned commons, opening up doorways between men and women to converse freely, tearing down walls between minds and bodies, flesh and the soul. Bottles will be uncorked and men in pajamas will run terrified and buoyant through the streets. If there is not madness, there will be blood, midnight rivers of blood rushing mad like the Mississippi through the markets of the world, stampeding through those who stand still, toppling those who once towered above the meek and lowly, lifting the strong and light, buoying them up on its terrible tide …

—Hudson Spivey