Half sunk a shattered visage lies

Well, it’s Wednesday morning, and I’m sitting at the bus stop again, because it’s still raining in south Florida.

One thing that I like about summer in Florida—though it seems more of a central than a south Florida phenomenon—is that there is an almost-daily thunderstorm, but it happens in mid-afternoon, lasts for a brief period, and then goes away.  If you’re biking or walking or otherwise vulnerable to the elements, and you don’t feel like enduring the process, you can just wait it out.  Again, this does not seem quite to be the case as much here in south Florida, at least not on the east coast, but it’s relatively predictable.

Anyway, that’s not such a big deal, but it does mean that both walking and biking have been a pain these past few days.  I have also had very bad issues with literal back and leg pain, though the knee brace on my left knee seems to be helping that joint at least a little.  But much of last night, when I wish I were sleeping, my time was taken up with trying to loosen the spasms in my back and my hip and my calf and the arch of my foot and so on.  I met with only modest success.  So, as is often the case, I am now very tired, even more so than average, though certainly not many standard deviations away from the mean.

I try not to be mean, but on average, I think I am meaner than the mode in which I would prefer to be.  Ha.  Ha.

So, physically, I feel pretty ground down, and even the walk to the bus stop was less minor than it ought to have been, though I will admit that, compared to when I started back up walking not so very long ago, it feels like much a lighter endeavor.  Compared to walking five miles to the train station, it’s laughable, but then again, it’s unfortunately not much exercise.

I’ve noticed that riding the bike, while quite invigorating when the weather is decent, definitely puts new and different stresses and tensions on my skeleton and connective tissue and musculature, and it instigates flare-ups (flares-up?) of pain in slightly unusual places that catch me rather off-guard.  One doesn’t really, fully “get used to” chronic pain, but at least it has familiar patterns a lot of the time.  Then, when new things happen, they are especially disheartening, because they don’t tend to reduce the prior pain, just add to and overlay it.


I’m sorry to keep talking (or writing, if you want to be pedantic, though I think “talking” is a perfectly reasonable word to use*) about this kind of irritating and negative stuff, but it’s what’s dominating my mind, unfortunately.  Believe it or not, I don’t even share some of my darker thoughts, even in posts like yesterday’s in which I dwelt on—and considered methods of—suicide.

I would love to make this more a blog of ideas and explorations, but when I’m feeling so depressed and in pain and alone, my ideas tend to go along nihilistic, entropic, pessimistic, pro-mortalist lines.  I look even at notions like the Lovecraftian concept of an alien and uncaring, unkind, malevolent cosmos populated and dominated by truly alien entities, and find myself disdainful—because I think it’s still anthropomorphizing the universe to imagine it inhabited by godlike or demonic beings, however alien and uncaring or malevolent they might be, and however much they may disdain humanity.  I also find it rather ho-hum, because, yeah, so, the universe is vast and dangerous and uncaring.  What else is new?

The fact is, as far as we can tell, there aren’t even any Lovecraftian god-aliens out there, certainly not on any kind of relevant scale, and such beings as there are certainly aren’t showing any interest in humans.  There is no reason for them to be interested.  Humans are only really important to other humans…and indirectly to the various other life-forms on Earth on which their activities impinge.

In some ways, humans are the closest things in the human world to actual Lovecraftian monsters:  innumerable and powerful but uncaring and destructive to less powerful beings.  To cephalopods, for instance and ironically, it would be humans that would be the “great old ones”, though humans are not so old, and they are great only in their power and ability to wreak havoc—though they have the potential for truer greatness.

But overall, the universe is far vaster than people can even begin to contemplate seriously, at least not without concerted effort.  The average, typical location in the universe is intergalactic space, in which there is perhaps one hydrogen atom per cubic meter, where light from even the nearest galaxy would be far too faint for the unaided human eye to detect.  In other words, it is an empty blackness, with a steadily shrinking temperature of only 2.7 Kelvin.  It’s cold, and dark, and empty, and it’s getting more so of all of those things with every passing Planck time.

Left to its own devices, the universe, as far as we can tell, is going to become that way everywhere, only even colder and even emptier.  If life is ever to become truly consequential on a cosmic scale—which is not, in principle, impossible—it will require seriousness and commitment and work, by the majority of people.

The current political and social and artistic cycles of the world, to say nothing of the military and ideological aspects of human interaction, don’t exactly thrill me with their possibilities.  Humans are like preschoolers fighting over toys and snacks and who gets to be “it” while clustering in a ramshackle hut with a hurricane approaching from one direction and an active volcano in the other, and the floor of which straddles a major, active geological fault-line.

When the end comes, it will probably be terrifying and painful, but it will likely be quick, at least—on a cosmic scale, anyway—because the toddlers have no idea how to protect themselves and each other and to survive.  And then, in the end, darkness and decay and the Red Death will hold absolute dominion and sway over all, and the lone and level sands of the desert will blow unnoticing about the forgotten monument-legs the toddlers leave behind, until—in quite short order—even the ruins and then the sand itself will go the way of all else.

There are billions of “livable” years in the universe, and even perhaps trillions if one stays close to red dwarf stars.  Given the potential of knowledge growth of which, if they decide to do it, humans are capable, that could easily be more than enough time to find the science and technology to get around even the heat death of the universe.  It’s not, in principle, impossible.

I’m not holding my breath.  I’ve known toddlers who were intelligent, inquisitive, cooperative, creative, kind, and showed promise of great things.  The human race as a whole does not meet that description.  It’s a shame about the good ones; but there aren’t enough of them, I suspect, to prevail against the troglodyte toddlers**.  So, I don’t think I’m going to try to wait around and see what amazing things they’ll get up to, because I think I’ll just be tragically disappointed.

And if I’m wrong, well—I will have deserved to be wrong, and that’s not a horrible outcome.  I’ll be dead, anyway, so I don’t think it will make any difference to me either way, even if it would be nice to know.

That’s it for today, I think.  There, I did actually get some ideas into this blog post.  I hope you’re pleased.


*For pedants among us—I tend to be one—it’s worth reminding ourselves that all words are made up.  No set of letters or sounds have any inherent meaning, even within the human and related species.  Nevertheless, I am certainly against the casual bastardization and flagrant misuse of words, relative to their generally accepted meaning, and I truly dislike awkward, manipulative, new terms such as “allyship”, which sounds like a vessel in the navy of a nation that’s politically aligned with one’s own.

**Trogglers, if you will.

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