For generations, artists in the Euro-American traditions, like ancient Greek heroes, accepted the idea of posterity–the hope for an enduring place in history and myth, that they, and their work, might defy mutability–hope for a kind secular immortality; artists and poets might die, but art and poetry was forever. On the brink of collective human suicide–and even if we should survive our human-made catastrophes, it will be but for a blink of the universal eye–who can believe in such a thing, now?
I’ve been thinking about this for some time. My work will never achieve an enduring status, and even if it did–what posterity…? when, in few generations, there will no humans left on the planet? And in the immensity of time before the sun consumes the inner planets as a red giant, who can maintain the illusion of a lasting memory, of a lasting anything? What then, can take the place of that old fantasy–dead as the gods who belonged to that vanished world? What, but change itself? Like Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Seed. Rather than imagining, how works of art might endure, think of them in terms of what they do, as themselves, agents of change–which they are. As works of art and poetry have always been… done?
Lubricants to slide us another step into a future we can only know when we get there. The only past worth saving, is what will remain as we break the chains that bind us to it, the past that will survive, because it changes with us in the future we create together.