Thursday, November 01, 2012

I often think about how much there is that’s from the past. Deep in the past. Let’s say, fifty years. Sixty, seventy, eighty, more. There’s a lot: Most of the buildings on my block. The park across the way. The street itself—though I guess it’s been repaved. But someone a long time ago invented this street—thought it’d be a good idea. They made it straight—just as straight as it is today. They made it begin somewhere, end somewhere else. They connected it to other streets. They gave it a name—the name we still pronounce in 2012. That dead person—OK, a few people, a few dead people—created our reality, created what we experience as now.

We think we live in a hypermodern world, full of brand-new bells and whistles, the new ever supplanting the old. Yet we’re beholden to the past. Wasn’t it unsophisticated, relatively? Wasn’t it naive? In the past, blacks were slaves. Women couldn’t vote. But men were making blueprints for the world in which we live today.