17:58: 19-21 October 2984
modified 17 may 2006

from one age to another

stories for the dead

Did they imagine that we would feel sad in this time - those in whose imagination we existed? For today, here at the edge of the forest, I certainly feel sad, knowing as they knew, that life comes to its end, as did their lives, their culture, their world. Their cities are gone and ours are invisible. There are not many of us left and we live a different life, as they imagined we might. This is not the future as time ahead, a continuation of history. It is life become art, become the reality imagined and imagination made real. The the. But but. Do these words still signify? No they don't, not yet. Perhaps later.

But the treetops still sway in the wind and the earth's surface and the seas still exist, and it's still possible to write in their version of English, but the technology's become silent and mostly invisible. It's our sociality that's changed. We tell each other different stories in the stillness - of a thousand years later.


Today and every day we are content now with life as it is, with these words as they are, with the things that inspire them, for in each word as it appears or is heard is a soul disembodied of likes and dislikes and a world that is formed or inferred in the consequent spaces and moments. This is literature. And it remains when we are gone, for now each is a poet or artist of one kind or other. The individual life is not everything now, for the world we construct as we live calls us all to let go of what we were in the past and to live as social consciousness as well as as is and as magic.

'To send forth the soul' wrote Marcel Mauss about 1100 years ago - that was his definition of magic and he assumed that a second body remains where it was. But he wasn't thinking of the telephone, or of this, which is what came of it.

But I do not know if these words will speak from one age to another - if our existence will ever become known to those who sent us forth... and if not this could become the story of our mutual extinction.

So is this a cue for new versions of the literature they knew and we know also?

Answer from ancient China:

Writing is itself a joy,
Yet saints and sages have long since held it in awe.
For it is Being, created by tasking the Great Void,
And 'tis sound rung out of Profound Silence.
Lu Chi (261-303AD), Essay on Literature, translated by Shih-Hsiang Chen, in Anthology of Chinese Literature from early times to the fourteenth century, compiled and edited by Cyril Birch, Grove Press, New York, 1965, page 207.