Author : Robert Vennell

I stumble down the road through the hazy tungsten half-light. Padded headphones suck out the ambient noise and replace it with the hum of distorted guitars.
An empty street, a dim coating of artificial light and the buzz of electric instruments.
I have to remind myself I’m really here. It feels like I’ve withdrawn into some back-room in my head, and am now watching my life play out through my eyes, as if it were happening to someone else.

From this vantage point i begin to speculate on what a bizarre and unnatural circumstance this is. That on a small planet orbiting a relatively small sun in an ordinary solar system on the outskirts of a galaxy like any other; a bipedal primate such as myself is walking down paved roads illuminated by synthetic lights listening to recordings of manufactured music.

In the light of these thoughts I can’t help but feel greatly pessimistic about humanity’s chances. Surely a species that no longer concerns itself with its own survival cannot exist indefinitely.

I turn the corner and press on, no particular destination in mind. A white cat stalks across the road, catches sight of me and then bolts off in the opposite direction. It occurs to me that there the other species that inhabit our planet are constantly engaged in a struggle for survival, and yet to we privileged homo sapiens born into developed nations surviving is easy. To meet the challenges of life the human brain underwent rapid expansion in brain capacity to the point where we have developed societies and structures that render the struggle for survival almost irrelevant. Now the hard part is trying to keep those advanced brains of ours constantly entertained and stimulated.

From the moment we wake up in the morning to when we go to sleep at night our minds are occupied not with things to aid our survival but things to keep us from boredom. Tasks and jobs we can do so that our lives can have purpose and meaning. Television, movies, music, literature; things we can consume to keep our brains active and ticking over.
I wonder if such an unnatural system can sustain itself.

A street light catches my eye. It is flickering and buzzing, and eventually it burns itself out and the street is cloaked in darkness.

Suddenly my brain feels stuffy, the constant pounding of music in my ears aggravating and i take my headphones off and revel in the cool breeze rushing against my ears. Reconnecting with the sounds of the world around me, i feel like I’ve slipped back into my body for a time.
My dreamy speculations about the fate of the world seem dramatic and unimportant now. I amble off towards a distant street light, reassuring myself i will go to bed earlier in future.


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