Foreword

The thing of it is the death of hope -- that is hard to take and that, is the knot to unravel. People have lost faith that anything significant can be changed. The news of the world unfolds before us daily -- wars are lost and won, the economy goes up and down, science marches on, celebrity titillates and disappoints. We are distracted by distractions from distraction, and beyond and above it all, there is profound disquiet. Why is the natural world dying? Some vital connection has been lost. It is as though we can no longer imagine another way to be. It is as though we had operated to remove an appendix, only to discover that in our inveterate haste, we had actually lopped off a vital organ or plucked out an eye. We stumble blindly, searching for our amputated hopes, barely able to conceive what we have done. We forget to dream and our dreams forget us.

Forgive us, you citizens of the future. We are the victims of advertising, the victims of comfort. Human all too human, we are petty, divisive, afraid. We do not want to know. We have lost our way and can do no better than to follow the instructions of those more murderous, more rapacious than ourselves. We have been programmed to believe, to accept, never to question and so we fail ourselves, and you. Forgive us.

What do you do when you realize the world has gone wrong? To whom do you turn? There is no absolution for such crime, no accolade that matters after such knowledge, no escape except by useless suicide. You are trapped in that bright moment. In a way it is a polymorphously perverse reversal of ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny. Instead of the development of an individual organism mirroring the development of the species, it is how the extinction of species mirrors the extinction of our own hopes and dreams.

Once upon a time I thought there was a way. For one wild high season anything seemed possible, but then, the dream was over -- the apple of discord fell -- a crack in the armour of dawn let burst the blinding light and the whole world turned to stone. All the old categories, the hierarchies of despair, fell back into place, grinding out their relentless tune. The sleepwalkers stride resolutely towards a glorious future, and everywhere 'the ceremony of innocence is drowned', and everywhere the land lies in ruins, more desolate as more species die.

Come. Let us sing the deaths of worlds.

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Last modified May 14, 2003