Generation Terrorists

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Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons

Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire thread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.

The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown.

The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

... and I'll look down, and whisper "No."

A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts.

... cities were just cesspools into which all the world's dishonesty and greed and lust and godlessness drained and was left to fester unhindered...

The pimps, the pornographers, the protection artists. The landlords who set dogs on their elderly tenants when they wanted them out to make way for more lucrative custom. The old men who touch little children and the callous young rapists who were barely old enough to shave. I saw these people all around me and I'd feel sick in my gut at the world and what it was becoming.

Crazed with helplessness, I cursed God and wept, wondering if he wept also. But then, what use his tears, if his help was denied me? My own sobbing had frightened the gulls. They departed... and in the terrible silence I understood the true breadth of the word "isolation."

As I see it, part of the art of being a hero is knowing when you don't need to be one anymore, realizing that the game has changed and that the stakes are different and that there isn't necessarily a place for you in this strange new pantheon of extraordinary people. The world has moved on, and I'm content to watch it from my armchair with a beer by my side and the smell of fresh oil still on my fingers.

I am going to look at the stars. They are so far away and their light takes so long to reach us. All we ever see of stars are their old photographs. I am two hundred and twenty-seven million kilometers from the sun. It's light is already ten minutes old. It will not reach Pluto for another two hours... I am watching the stars. Halley's Comet tumbles through the solar system on its great seventy-six-year ellipse.

I am watching the stars, admiring their complex trajectories. Through space, through time! I am trying to give a name to the force that set them in motion.

I'm basking in the two-million-year-old light of Andromeda. I can see the supernova that Ernt Hartwig discovered in 1885, a century ago. It scintillates, a wink intended for the trilobytes, all long dead.

Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. - Friedrich W. Nietzsche

It's September, 1961. John Kennedy is shaking my hand, asking what it's like to be a superhero. I tell him he should know and he nods, laughing... Two years later in Dallas, his head snaps forward and then back two shots...

As I come to understand Vietnam and what it implies about the human condition, I also realize that few humans will permit themselves such an understanding. Blake's different. He understands perfectly... and he doesn't care.

A man goes to the doctor. Says he's depressed. He says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. The doctor says "The treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him, that should pick you up." The man bursts into tears. He says "But doctor... I am Pagliacci."

Who makes the world? Perhaps the world is not made. Perhaps nothing is made. Perhaps it simply is, has been, will always be there. A clock without a craftsman.

The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking... The solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker. - Albert Einstien.

For those of us who delight in such things, the twentieth century has, in it's unfolding, presented mankind with an array of behavioural paradoxes and moral conundrums hitherto unimagined and perhaps unimaginable. Science, traditional enemy of mysticism and religion, has taken on a growing understanding that the model of the universe suggested by quantum physics differs very little from the universe that Taoists and other mystics have existed in for centuries. Large numbers of young people, raised in rigidly structured and industrially oriented cultures, violently reject industrialism and seek instead some modified version of the agricultural lifestyle that their forebears debatedly enjoyed... Children starve while boots costing many thousand dollars leave their mark upon the surface of the moon. We have labored long to build a heaven, only to find it populated with horrors.

It is the oldest ironies that are still the most satisfying: man, when preparing for bloody war, will orate loudly and most eloquently in the name of peace. This dichotomy is not an invention of the twentieth century, yet it is this century that the most striking examples of the phenomena have appeared. Never before has man pursued global harmony more vocally while amassing stockpiles of weapons so devastating in their effect. The second world war - we were told - was The War To End Wars. The development of the atomic bomb is the Weapon to End Wars.

And yet the wars continue.

Our damnation: it obsessed the sodden dead, dominating their bubbling dialogues. They spoke of a heaven, where once we all lived and died, sentenced for our sins to this pandemonium we call the world. Truly, life is hell and death's rough hand our only deliverance.

In my opinion, it's [Life] is a highly overrated phenomenon. Mars gets on perfectly without so much as a microorganism. See: there's the south pole beneath us now... No life. No life at all, but giant steps, ninety feet high, scoured by dust and wind into a constantly changing topographical map, flowing and shifting around the pole in ripples ten thousand years wide. Tell me... would it be greatly improved by an oil pipeline?

Look at it: a volcano as large as Missouri, it's summit fifteen miles high, piercing even the atmospheric blanket. Breathtaking... We've been through this before, Laurie. You argue that human life was more significant than this excellent desolation and I was not convinced. You attempted to compare the mere uncertainty in your existence with the chaos of the world beneath us... but where are the pinnacles to rival this Olympus? Where are the depths to match those of Valles Marineris. It stretches more than three thousand miles, so that one end knows day while the other endures night. Temperature differences breed shrieking winds that herd oceans of fog along a canyon four miles deep. Does the human heart know chasms so abysmal?

Thermo-dynamic miracles... events with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing.

And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter... Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold... that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermo-dynamic miracle.

But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another's vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away.

Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly.

Dry your eyes... and let's go home.

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being. - Carl Gustav Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflection

Dear God, let me have vengeance, then die swiftly... delivered at last into the hands of a high judgement.

That's what's wrong with this world: no incentive to be nice: You try to help, you wind up in trouble.

NOVA: ... you've often been referred in the press as the world's smartest man. Is that true and does it bother you?

VEIDT: No, that isn't true, but it's very flattering and I don't mind a bit... No, no, I don't mind being the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one.

JON: I'm leaving this galaxy for one less complicated.

VEIDT: But you'd regained interest in human life.

JON: Yes, I have. I think perhaps I'll create some.

VEIDT: I did the right thing, didn't I? It all worked out in the end.

JON: "In the end?" Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.

Who watches the watchmen? - Juvenal, Satires, VI, 347

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