it seems to me
that the description of our world
as an asylum, a hospital, a prison,
is a fair one.
everything tells me
there is something terribly wrong
with the way we live now,
that this is not how we’re meant to live.
people behave in unnatural ways
ways detached from reality,
from others, from themselves.
it’s as if reality is too terrible, too hard,
more trouble than it’s worth.
so we live in these imaginary places,
in our heads,
in our stories.
it’s safer here.
i can imagine how it was
to live in a primeval world,
a world where our senses and instincts held sway,
a world of astonishing colour, and surprise,
a world without politics, without scarcity
a world that just was.
and of which we were, from birth, a part.
accepted, loved, honoured.
even by those who would devour us.
our intellectual and emotional selves
are a natural evolution:
more thought enables us to innovate,
to survive in places we are not naturally endowed to live.
more feeling enables us to care —
and when times are challenging
those who care will outlive those who do not.
now we are smart, and fierce, creatures,
evolved, grimly, to survive.
but that intellect can also imagine
things far more fearsome than other creatures,
and can make those terrors a reality,
while those sensitive emotions
can make those terrors unbearable.
enough to suggest that nature made a mistake with us,
a big enough mistake to usher in
the sixth great extinction of life on Earth.
so here we are, as we wait to discover
what we have wrought.
out of control, over-bred,
damaged by stresses we could not foresee,
self-imposed, and self-compounding.
all creatures value freedom above all else,
even above love.
in a world of horrific overcrowding,
constrained to live in a social compact
that inhibits us everywhere,
that deprives us of everything in life that’s natural,
we have ceded all our freedoms
obey, or die.
hence the asylum: deprived of freedom
we quickly go mad:
we kill, wage war, sacrifice our souls,
pray to gods of suffering,
eat our young.
so what are we to do?
inure ourselves, become machines,
live in our heads, suppress our feelings,
do what we must,
keep our heads, enough to help others,
to be of use, while we wait
for a salvation beyond hope?
or walk away from civilization,
be selfish, find oasis for ourselves and those we love
and live as free and natural lives
as can be found in soils untouched
by the asylum, as humble models
for the seventh world that will arise
with our demise?