I dreamt last night that the Earth’s orbit was temporarily shifting towards the sun, which would briefly raise temperatures high enough to kill nearly every living thing on the planet.
Great dream, Huh?
Actually, in my dream, Paul McCartney had built some kind of refrigerated house, so he thought he might survive, but experts doubted it.
I spent great portions of this dream trying to find way to avoid death for me and the family while simultaneously imagining the horrors of being cooked alive and watching my family suffer a similar fate.
You can see why I don’t love sleep.
And yes, I know that the orbit of the Earth would never bring it in temporary proximity to the sun, though there might be a scenario in our future where sun spot activity could wipe out most of our electronics and send us back to the Dark Ages for years.
In fact, it nearly happened in 2012, but please don’t Google it. It’s terrifying.
But here was the moment of the dream that interests me most:
It occurred to me - in the dream and now while I’m awake - that if every human being on Earth died, then all of Robert Frost’s poetry would die, too. So, too, would the music of Springsteen and the plays of Shakespeare and the philosophy of Plato and the fiction of Twain and Morrison and Atwood and Vonnegut and Rowling.
All of our art would be lost.
Human beings die all the time, but our greatest art lives on forever. Unless, of course, the human race ceases to exist. Then our art will also cease to exist.
Two roads will only diverge in a yellow wood as long as there are humans alive to read and recite those lines.
The loss of that great art suddenly seems even more tragic to me than the end of our species, and just like that, the timeless nature of our art seems a lot less timeless.