We waste too much chasing posterity. Presidential libraries, memorial plaques on park benches, bricks stamped with names—everywhere we are trying to leave legacies. Some just want to be remembered fondly, but for others the phenomenon has nearly no limit to scope or ambition. Somewhere right now there are a thousand different poets working on their oeuvres, a hundred thousand painters, a million stage actors. Everywhere else there are people fucking in the dark.
Permanence doesn’t exist, and what good if it did? There is no architecture beautiful enough that it should not one day fall, there is no beauty pure enough that it should not age, and there is no age golden enough that it should not succumb to another. In trying to make it otherwise, we only burn up faster and hasten the ends that inevitably come. Recent adventures in art restoration have shown it, as has the vainglory of many a dictator. Consider too the myriad stories of Europeans, both fictional and real, who ran off to the Americas in search of the mythical fountain of youth, asphyxiating young and proud on the end of a poison dart. Even that most popular form of posterity, the family, is beginning to strangle the planet under the weight of overpopulation.
Life is not the miracle but rather the Technicolor ephemera we spray everywhere while dying. It’s the harrowing late comedy of Bill Hicks, the last words of a Flannery O’Connor character, the yak butter sculptures of Tibet. The best moments of a song only last a few bars. The peak of a tomato comes as it turns. The tattoo is buried with the body. A supernova flares out. If permanence existed, it would be hell. Rather, we ought to celebrate the onanist—his ejaculations are furious, finite, and free.