Taiwan clings to the Chinese coast like a slingshot cocked and loaded, waiting to be flung out into the open Pacific by any earthquake with balls and bats and a love of the game. India’s sliding into second base, Camp Himalaya, with cleats high and dust flying. Turkey is a fragile coccyx attaching Asia to Africa and allowing Europe to get erect and stay there. Iran is a rusty scimitar slicing into the underbelly of Asia. Africa is breaking up and going separate ways. We ride on the crust of a custard, on the crest of a wave, a ball of fire cooled down to magma. It’s almost like the bloody thing is still alive in there. In another billion years, things might be more settled, continents satisfied with their figures and waistlines and their place in society. There will probably still be life. I wonder if there will still be humans. I wonder what they’ll be like. I wonder if anyone will still remember me, us, or any of this that seems such a normal, commonplace, everyday reality. I wonder how many times we’ll have to start over before we get it right. The earth will survive our most vicious transgressions, but we may not. The hard thing to realize is that we may still be in a very early phase of our lives as part of the universe. The recent discovery that galaxies are receding at an ever-increasing rate seems to indicate that we might still be in the early stages of the Big Bang. Our earth is barely cool enough to inhabit. We don’t yet know our limits. We think maybe we’re smarter than we really are. We still maintain our youthful suicidal tendencies. This is one of the disadvantages of neoteny, cultural or biological. Some retained traits may not be desirable. We’re killing ourselves.
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The third world is addictive, the very lack of superficial development something attractive in itself, the sights and sounds and noises and smells and total lack of order. I get an erection just thinking about it. I get a stinging sensation in my mouth. I get the same sensation the next day in my anal orifice. I prefer other feelings. If I’m lucky, then my stomach gets the same empty feeling you get from free-fall, vacuum, the natural feeling of weightlessness. I live for that feeling and it certainly beats any other feeling that stomachs are capable of. But the best part of the so-called Third World is not its food, its landscapes, nor its women. The best part is its unpredictability, the very fact that you don’t know what to expect from one day to the next. In that respect, it’s a lot like love, and like love, it gets boring if that’s the only basis to it. You have to keep trying new places to get that original feeling. But there’s no reason to feel guilty, because that’s what we are, the trip monkeys. We like to get around, and we like to get off. That’s what it is to be human, and that’s what makes us so successful. Other animals wander around; we’re driven.
Borders and passports are a recent phenomenon, you know. It’s only been barely more than a hundred years since borders have been closed and sealed. Governments, of course, have existed much longer, but free movement was generally allowed across borders, probably because labor has generally been a scarce resource for most of human history. Governments used to want immigrants! One effect of the modern system is that it denies tribalism a place, because many tribes lie across borders. Some of the best examples are the Quechua-speakers in four countries, some twenty million Kurds in four or more, the Tibetans in China and the Mons of Southeast Asia, all great nations in the history of the world, but left without a modern state to represent them. These are tensions inherent in the modern system. Since endless divisions are not necessarily practical, increased unification may be the only answer, so former Yugoslav states get their independence only to give some of it up willingly to a European Union, in this scenario. Certainly everyone could have a state if the designation were largely meaningless and merely an administrative division. This is what the US was in theory, before the Civil War negated it. The world is not ready for a true United Nations, but it might be ready for ten or twelve cooperative blocs as opposed to two or three.