The Ancient Modern
Endgame / Joshua Alan Sturgill
If I tell you I am sorry for my crimes. If I offer you my wallet.
If I tell you I am gay or brown. If I explain eloquently, but
with an English hued by my native, other tongue. If I share
with you suffering that only a woman can understand. If I
insist on my gender, despite the evidence. If I help you choose
and make Choice our common ideal. If I doubt the powers
and the patriarchs just enough for plausibility. If I question
historical accounts, call on you to trust yourself passionately,
love all expressions that claim to express love. If I agree with
you as in a mirror, darkly—then you will lift me on your
shoulders and celebrate yourself in me, and cheer for every
want we’ve made a Right. How strange! Before you know what
I believe, and before you know what decisions I’ve made secretly,
and long before I appeared on your screen and in your mind,
I crafted this agreement within you, cooperating with your
complacency. And truly: I want what you want: an Automatic
World. A world with only myself and the machines which feed
and fuel and reflect me. I command you: build me such a world.
You can’t now refuse. Because you are already building it.
You’ve already, by a million little searches, through a million little
purchases, said it’s better to have an automatic world than not.
It’s too late to go back. You’ve committed. You’ve said it’s better
to have everything come automatically, whatever the cost, even
if that world is someone else’s, even if someone else rules it.
Yes, it’s better, you tacitly agree, someone else’s instant, flashing,
automatic world, a world of the lonely virtual, rather than a world
of virtue in which you must work with others slowly, yet are free.