And then one day no suns will rise on anyone again
It’s terrifying to think how much of your life & actions can be predicted accurately by probability. For you, an interaction with someone in customer service is you making decisions about what to say and do. But for them, you’re just repeating something from one of a handful of categories they hear every day.
Poll a thousand people picked randomly enough and you’ve got a great idea of what 300 million will do.
If instead of an election, we had a full census and lottery, and picked a thousand to come serve in Congress for two years, we’d have the equivalent of a full, direct democracy.
This is terrifying. You’re not a creature with agency & will: all of your complexity gets smoothed out when there’s even more complexity to average out around you. How miserable, that all those billions of years & hundred trillion cells in your body, all coming to this, to make you the same as millions of other people.
But this is why we write poetry. And read it. We think our individual, particular experience — that as far as we know has never taken place anywhere else in the universe nigh-infinite — is similar enough to someone else’s unique event called life that thoughts you’ve had are the same as someone else’s. That you know part of them without ever seeing or speaking to them.
It’s the idea that all of those hundred thousands of years of evolution to produce a form only so lately diverged might have connected us tightly enough that however far we wander from birth to death, we’re tethered by a double helix to something in common inheritance with everyone else. We go over the same ground, see other people’s footprints. Hopefully we leave some new ones behind us. But there’s nothing new under the sun. Not really.
You’re just some other human being, and when you thought your life was going to be different from other people’s — and certainly different than it actually turned out now — you were wrong. You’re just like many other people, and every new idea you’ve had was in someone else’s head already before you.
Yet no one has ever said this exact thing before. Just many people saying something quite similar.
We’re all on our own out here, but very close to someone all the time, almost touching. Not quite.
There’s nothing new under the sun, but this one won’t ever rise again.