To The First Humans (fourth letter)


The stories we’ve told ourselves in your absence have led to unendurable violence. We’re not going to survive our assumptions of superiority, our techno-cultural accelerations, the surmounting of primitive origins that don’t exist, denials of our current barbarity. People everywhere are beginning to hear voices while unable to speak. Some are overcome by silence as they scream. No one can concentrate anymore. Surely you never had to deal with this sort of thing.
I’m doing what I can under the circumstances, including these not sent letters. It’s easier to write you like this, but I’m still not able to find the right words. I can’t read in the way I imagine you could, finding and creating meaning through a holistic encounter with the rest of the living world, embodying what eventually becomes the text. Your prehistoric literacy continues to allude our narcissistic preoccupations. We’ve been decorating our meaninglessness, sifting through ruins and arranging fragments (while assuming you did the same).   We are the brutes, the desperate ones, the knuckle-draggers, pulling each other around by the hair and throat, baring our teeth and genitals on instantaneous global feeds, buying and selling each other’s diminishment, fighting over the watering holes we’ve poisoned and the abstractions we’ve constructed to replace lived experience. The you-we-once-were is the only us left with any moral credibility. You sustained the best of what we are for over three hundred thousand years or more — until the walls of the first Neolithic fortress were erected and words were turned into representations of words.
We are your deadbeat descendants, ignorant of our inheritance, threatening everything alive in what amounts to the blink of an eye since your passing. Without you we wouldn’t exist, but our savagery isn’t your fault. It’s only in these unconscionable times that I realize my happiness has always been in communion with your own. We are bound by an inherent sense of the eternal, of being not only in the world, but of it too. It’s a consciousness that precedes even our most non-human ancestors and probably never ends. It makes your betrayal unbearable.