A Better Place

Felix Dennis
March 25, 2006
Mandalay, Mustique
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So— shall we leave our young a better place
Than that which we inherited?  As fair
A world as that entrusted to our care?
Should we suspect that that is not the case,
Should we suspect that we betrayed our race
And gorged ourselves with more than our fair share
Of bread and meat, of water, soil and air
And fouled our nest... who judges this disgrace?
Not nature, Gaia, call her what you will,
Her realm is far too vast for us to kill;
Not children, nor the children they shall nurse—
Their hands will be too busy soon to curse;
Not gods, nor creatures hunted from their homes:
If blame there is, then blame our chromosomes.

Which is not to say that we should not try harder.  Much harder.  Even so, it seems to me that humankind obeys impulses the religious define as ‘original sin’, or a version thereof, and which the rest of us believe to be have been hard-wired into our DNA by Darwinian evolution.  Blaming is rarely a profitable exercise. All that counts is today and tomorrow.  The past is dead.  Mad as the sentiment appears, I believe with all my heart that man must escape from the ‘cage of light’, (the prison that the speed of light dooms us to in even the smallest corner of the universe), and find ways to fly the nest of the blue planet.  We cannot change human nature— and, in our heart of hearts, we do not wish to.  In any case, we have always been a migratory species.  Logic dictates, however implausible it appears today, that we should pour resources into escaping planet earth, the solar system and this galaxy.  Laughable isn’t it?  Yet we have overcome seemingly insuperable odds before.  Perhaps we shall again.  Perhaps, in a hundred years or two, a man or women will read this broken sonnet in a dusty old volume and smile at what appeared to us to be so impossible a vision.