Richard J. Severson
The Artifacts of Civilization (or, the blinding light of our own presence):
Practically every moment of human life is now scored with recorded music. It is the absence of music that we find so strange and discomforting, not its ever-present company. It’s not just music, either. Television offers a 24/7 menu of stirring dramas. Artificial light could conceivably banish darkness altogether.
We live like passengers on a personal cruise ship, sampling the smorgasbord of entertaining distractions as we perambulate over-stocked malls so vast that the curvature of the Earth makes it impossible to see from one end to the other, a crass consumer’s version of infinity.
What is the source of poetry that will nurture our souls in the endless landscape of the artifacts of civilization?
Too much of our own company isn’t good for us. We need other creatures and untrammeled wilderness to tell us who we are; we need the night sky to remind us why we are here.
Our self-flattering ontologies pose a grave danger to the far greater adventure of life itself.