This is your host, all hallowed up.
Performing on stage for many years made it very clear to me how beautiful the lost moment can be. You had to be there. It only happened once. This handful of people has come together and made something that feels true using their bodies and two hours of shared time, burned up and gone. They walk away with a fading green blur in their retinas. They’ll tell others, but those won’t really understand.
When you watch a video of a live performance it’s always terrible. Because the camera is not your eyes. That performance isn’t happening on stage, it’s in the whole room. Where your eyes wander, the way sound surrounds you, the emotions of people on all sides are the performance. The people on stage are conductors. The symphony is in your nerves.
That can’t be recorded. It lives as long as you all stay there breathing your souls into it. When you walk out the door it dies.
Art is better when it can die.
I used to tell people that if I could live forever, even if it meant being a brain in a jar, I would do it.
But we are all already brains in jars. Hooked up to an elaborate life support system that has about a one hundred year warranty. Designed for obsolescence, like God’s iPhones.
In one hundred and fifty years everyone alive right now will be dead. Most of us will not be remembered past two hundred. Nothing that we did, said or made will be of any interest to the next people. Not really. They’ll be interested in themselves, and they’ll mine the fossilized remains of our creative passions looking for validation. Same As It. Ever. Was.
If we lived ten thousand years it wouldn’t change. And ten thousand years is still nothing. A blink. For almost the whole universe there have been no minds. Right now, for a couple hundred thousand years, there are a few. At some point there won’t be any left anymore and then the universe will go on for a lot more time, maybe indefinitely, and if you somehow were to live as long as the entire species existed you’d still be lost in the incredible pit of vibrating nothing that makes it all up.
You are a shifting consensus of atoms that will dissolve and all those bits will go on to other mindless things but you will not.
That’s why you’re beautiful. Because you won’t be around much longer. Because unlike all the fragments of nonsense that were fused out of the fabric of reality that compose you, you yourself are not immortal. Your bits are. But you will die.
You are the performance that the universe is witnessing. You can’t be recorded. You can only burn.
POSTSCRIPTUM – Sometimes there is also a Zombie Abe Lincoln at your party, and you can team up with him to fight The Racist Ghosts of the Old Confederacy. So that makes it better too…