The Ancient Modern

Those Who Came Before  /  Joshua Alan Sturgill         

How often have I been told about the Cavemen, my ancestors?  How often have I been shown their portraits in textbooks as they learned to walk erect, and been made to compare their hairy, ignorant faces with mine?  They were confused by fire, they were violent, they were little more than the animals from which they descended or arose.  They left us nothing  but primitive tools and paintings in caves and cliff sides.

And how often have I been told about the Greeks, my ancestors, who invented geometry and sculpture but had no electricity or physics?  They thought philosophy was more real than matter.  The Greeks, the middle-men, the pivot-people.  They were more advanced than cavemen, but not yet enlightened.  Their ruined temples are scattered wherever they sailed.  Their stories still haunt our sense of ourselves.  We read them critically but hungrily, with ravenous eyes.

And how often have I been shown images of the Modern world, images of factories and laboratories where fantastic discoveries are made, skyscrapers and airplanes?  Microscopes reveal germs and telescopes reveal nebulae, and everything everywhere is made of the same stuff.  How often have I been shown there is only matter/energy existing in space/time?  With this knowledge, I know how to know everything.  I am always approaching answers.   

Soon, all combinations of matter will be tried, and all problems of matter will be solved — which are all problems.  I am not fooled by ideas or ideals like the Greeks; I am not superstitious or incapable like the Cavemen. I dismiss abstractions; I deride the invisible.  Thought (if it is anything) is only fumes rising from the friction of material processes.   The Cavemen and the Greeks thought they knew who they were.  They were wrong.  Only I know who I am: 

something new, sober, exposed, arrived, plastic, complete. Not a Caveman or a Greek.  I am the reason of humanity; the end of humanity.  How often have I been told

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2022 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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