Friday, July 25, 2008

Millennial Angst

"If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!"

This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson was the seed of Isaac Asimov's 1941 short story, Nightfall. That amazing (well, Astounding, really) short story draws upon a rich tradition of millennial literature; humans do unfortunately seem to have an untidy and uncanny knack of falling into confusion every thousand years or so. It is a far cry from Emerson's divine and theocentric vision.

There is an uncertainty that comes with changing certain numbers. With the change of centuries, you change a digit in the 100s position; it is not inconceivable that a person might actually manage to live through two of those, say from 1795 to 1902. But it is completely beyond human experience to live through two changes in the 1000s position; even the biblical Methuselah lived only 969 years.

A similar phenomenon reaches out to me from the back of beyond in this blog. We have lived through a thousand posts; what can we do now? What should we do now? Should things change? Should this blog become more focussed or diversify further? It is all a mystery to me; it is like growing up all over again in a developmental sense – we have learnt much and yet we have fallen into some bad habits, we have become more fluent and yet perhaps too facile.

And so, for the rest of today, I shall think about what to do next.

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